Six months ago I pottytrained my two-and-a-half year old using the only Daddy method I know–burn all the diapers in the house and join the ranks of the big boys no matter how high the pile of wet underwear grew. It took three weeks of diligent, hard work (and plenty of carpet stains along the way) last July but we got there. I was so confident, in fact, that I took my freshly-pottytrained boy on a cross-country trip and a long weekend in Denver in early August without a single diaper in the “diaper” bag. It was a huge success. We had no accidents, not even at night sleeping in an unfamiliar house. We were done with diapers, right? Wrong.
Six months have passed and my fortunes have reversed dramatically. I am feeling more and more like a beaten Dad who has run out of ideas. Nothing about our daily routine has changed. The toilets are all still where they have always been. Yet recently my son’s early warning system that pee is coming has gone haywire. He used to run to the toilet and I’d whip down his pants as fast as I could as he sprayed into the bowl and say, “That was close.” Once in a while, I’d have to toss some wet underpants into the laundry room. More recently that number has ticked upward at an alarming pace. Tonight, new records were set. He wet himself at least seven times and maybe eight in a frustrating five-hour interval. The early warning system that previously had him running for the toilet no longer exists. And that pile of underwear at the bottom of the stairs is mocking me.
I have tried the patient we’ll-get-over-this-hump-together approach for a while. Then I tried letting him know in a stern voice that peeing in pants made Daddy mad but peeing in the toilet made Daddy really happy. Then I tried cutting back his liquids, mostly at night so that he didn’t go so much. Tonight I reversed course and started what I’ll call a forced-practice routine in which he drinks as much as he can handle so that 30-45 minutes later he has to pee a whole lot in a short period of time. He ended up making it to the toilet twice and wetting his underwear four more times even though I was watching him like a hawk and ready to whisk him to the bathroom at the first sign of leg shaking.
I don’t know what comes next. I have contemplated spending our afternoons in the bathroom drinking and waiting to pee. We’ll come out only when he’s shown that he can regularly step up to the big toilet like he used to do.
But after my early successes, I don’t know if even that will work. He seems at a total loss as to why a damp spot appears in his crotch every hour or so. And my focusing on it seems to have him wigged out.
I don’t concede defeat easily and thus have told my wife that we are not going back to diapers. But if my Daddy pride continues to be completely crushed under an every-growing soggy pile of underwear from a child who was doing so well just five months ago, this might drive me to excessive drinking and wetting my pants too.
Anyone have suggestions? Please send them now.