Potty training leaves mom pooped
Crystal Lewis Brown is an Army spouse of six years and is editor of the Leader.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Monday morning, I had my son’s bag packed to the brim: five pairs of shorts, five T-shirts and an extra pair of shoes.

No, we weren’t packing for his first weeklong trip to Grandma’s; this was an even bigger milestone: his first time wearing underwear to the day care. And I would be pleasantly surprised if that stack of clothes lasted past the first few days.

Months ago, we started the process of potty training. And the progress has been frustratingly slow. So you can imagine my pleasure when one morning, my son decided enough was enough.

“I don’t want to wear pull-ups,” he said. “I want to wear underwear.”

Actually, the entire scenario was accompanied by a tantrum during which he threw the disposable underwear to the floor and parked himself in front of his underwear drawer, refusing to budge. But, I suppose, I digress.

My initial thought was that he didn’t really know what he wanted. After all, he is just 2 1/2. But the definitive way in which he said it, as if asking for applesauce or identifying an animal as a bird, made me think he might be on to something.

I decided to test the waters by bringing it up to the staff in his day care room as a cute little anecdote.

“Let’s do it,” they exclaimed. “He’s ready.”
I wasn’t so sure.

It’s not that I didn’t trust him or that I doubted the day care providers. It’s just that I’d been down that road before. Months ago, I bypassed the diapers section of the store and found cute packs of underwear bearing Mickey Mouse and Yo Gabba Gabba characters on their bottoms. A week later, I was $6 poorer and was up to my knees in laundry. I was also getting very familiar with my foam carpet cleaner.

I was especially hesistant after his first half-hour " on his first day " in underwear resulted in a soaked cartoon character and wet carpet.

So needless to say, while I was ecstatic that this might finally be “it,” I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

Planning for the first day a toddler wears underwear out in public is akin to venturing out of the house toward the end of a bad stomach bug; you’re pretty sure everything will be OK, but if it’s not, things can go very, very bad. I was told to bring several pairs of clothes " shirts and shorts " along with an extra pair of shoes, just in case. I also threw in a new pack of underwear, including some plastic ones.

At the end of the first day, I rushed to the day care, not knowing what to expect. And there he was, wearing the same clothes he had on when we left the house. The second day was the same; perfect.

I’m constantly amazed how toddlers seem to know definitely sometimes when they are ready to move on to the next stages of development, and this time, it seems my little one finally decided that enough was enough.

Now that we seem to be on the right track with potty training, it is time to move on to the next battle; yesterday, he decided that he was done with the Mickey Mouse underwear. I guess my little boy really is growing up.

Page last updated Thu June 23rd, 2011 at 15:29