Few things try my patience the way potty training can. Especially with my youngest son. I had decided, after six kids worth of potty training experience, that the best time to start working with a child was around the time they turned three. So, I was quite content knowing I had until next May before I even had to think about potty training. Until Levi decided he was ready for potty training, shortly after he turned two.
At first I humored him, taking his diaper off every time he indicated he needed to go and plopping him on the toilet. This went on for a week. Then one day, I pulled off his diaper, sat him on the toilet with a sigh and was surprised by a tinkling sound as he actually went potty. He was rarely dry when he said he needed to go, but he began consistently going every time he told me he needed too, usually no more than a small trickle, but going nonetheless.
So when summer started, with the older kids out of school to help, we tried putting him in underwear. He of course wet every pair we put on him. After two days we ran out of clean underwear and put him back in a diaper. The only times he wanted to go potty were during Sacrament meeting, at Wal-Mart, at Grandma's house, and after we put him to bed each night.
But he was still going. I began to worry that if I didn't try to harness his desire to go potty in the toilet and actually waited until he turned three, he would be harder to train. Alas, I determined to start things again after everyone settled back into the school routine.
I bought him new Thomas the Tank Engine underwear and we began. The first day he peed regularly--in his underwear--anytime he laughed, cried, screamed or sneezed. I prayed almost constantly for patience as I cleaned up after him each time. In the morning, I dreaded the moment he would wake up and the battle would renew.
When he did wake up, though, he was dry. He gave me his usual trickle in the toilet and then stayed dry for nearly an hour. Progress. Or not. He continued to wet, continued to refuse to go when I knew he needed to, and I continued praying for more and more patience.
We tried candies. I gave him a jelly bean every time he was dry. I checked his pants each half hour, celebrated with him when he was dry, gave him the candy, and invariably changed him a few minutes later. He hardly stayed on the toilet long enough to accomplish anything, so we tried Smarties. One Smartie if he went a little, another if he would get back on and go some more. For a while, it worked, but when he tired of the Smarties, we went right back to him jumping of the toilet before he'd even started.
Patience. A week and two days after we started full fledged training, I felt inspired to place board books in all of the bathrooms in the house. The next time he went potty, I pulled out one of his favorites and was rewarded with a boy who sat long enough to finish going.
Yesterday, he actually went nearly the entire day without an accident. He still has a way to go, but we are definitely making progress.
And the Lord continues to teach me patience--now the boy demands multiple readings of multiple books before he will got off the toilet!
Hmmm. Maybe I should be careful what I pray for...