Potty training boot camp: Day 1, Saturday
9:05 a.m.: Oops, Dave let me sleep late. Max has been up for an hour already and I'm betting Dave didn't put him on the potty. OK, chill. Max hasn't been potty-trained for seven years, one hour won't make a difference.
9: 15 a.m.: I find Max, change him, say some potty prayers, get out my potty-training boot camp gear:
• 2 Cars potty seats already owned, like new (alas)
• 5 cheap shower curtains, which I spread over rugs and the couch
• 5 packages of Disney Pixar Cars 2 briefs that I was psyched to find in size 8 on Kohls.com
• 1 chocolate ice-cream timer that bears a remarkably strong resemblance to poo
• 3 packets Cars 2 stickers, plus a bunch of printouts of the ride-on Lightning McQueen electric car Max will get once he's a potty-trained; I tape them up around the house.
• Potty-training chart to track progress, courtesy of Max's school
• In case of Mommy emergency
Also, these just in: boxes and boxes of Girl Scout cookies sold by Sabrina. I bought way too many. I put them in the basement to resist temptation.
9:30 a.m.: I try to get Max to sit on the toilet. "NOOOOOOOOO!" he says, screeches and runs away. I haul him back to the bathroom, pull down his pants and sit him down. He's screeching nonstop as I attempt to hold him there for a few minutes.
When I let him get up, he dashes to the kitchen and attempts to throw away the potty-training chart.
10:00 a.m: Max willingly sits on the toilet. Progress! I give him a sticker. "Noooooo!" he says.
It's gonna be a long day.
10:25 a.m.: Max wets his underwear. "Max, pee pee goes in the potty," I say. He cries. I melt, but stand firm. "Max, if you go in the potty I will be so proud of you!" I say, and change him into another pair of cotton shorts.
11:00 a.m.: Max sits on the potty for about 15 seconds and gets up. I notice there is pee and toilet paper; Sabrina didn't flush. Max points to it. "INE!" he says ["MINE!"]
"Max, I know that is Sabrina's pee!" I say. Nice try there, bud. Dave takes Sabrina to gymnastics and hip-hop class, and I ask him to keep her out all afternoon; it'll be easier if it's just me and Max.
2:30 p.m.: I've been diligently placing Max on the potty every half hour; he's been dry since this morning. I just gave him a glass of chocolate milk because I realize he's not getting enough liquids.
3:30 p.m.: How it it possible this child hasn't peed in almost five hours? If he's holding it in, it's a sign he is capable of controlling his muscles down there. That's a real question when you have a kid with cerebral palsy. I keep reminding him that if he needs to pee or poop, he should tell me "Potty!" but no such luck. I could program a sentence into his speech app but I know he could say the word (or some semblance of it) if he wants to; he just doesn't want to.
After Max potty-sits for 30 seconds, we go back to playing with the LEGO DUPLO Cars Flo's Cafe set I got for him in honor of this momentous occasion. Max grabs my hand, pulls me over to the doodie ice-cream timer and points; I forgot to set it. Well, at least he likes the timer.
4:00 p.m.: Back in the bathroom, sitting on the floor and keeping Max company. The floor isn't nearly as clean as I thought, although you would only be aware of that if you came to our house and sat on the bathroom floor which most guests do not do. Eeep: Wallpaper is peeling. Need Extreme Bathroom Makeover.
4:15 p.m.: Wet shorts. This time, Max doesn't cry. "OK, next time in the potty, right Max?" I say. He just stares. I'm getting disheartened. One of Max's speech therapists knows an expert who helps potty-train kids with special needs. I might go there but for now, I am determined to keep trying ourselves. Besides, she doesn't make house calls (now wouldn't that be an awesome business)?!
5:00 p.m.: The experts say that playing when you're on the pot isn't a good thing—kids need to learn that they can go quickly and get back to other activities—but I want to see what happens if Max sits for a couple of minutes. So I grab the music stand Sabrina uses when she plays violin and plop Max's iPad on it. What happens: Zip. Zero. Nada. Except, of course, that Max is ecstatic.
5:32 p.m.: I've left Max on the potty to answer the phone. "Max, did you go in the potty?" I ask when I return. "Eeeyah!" he says. "Really? Really?!" I answer, giddy. Except he refuses to let me look in the toilet.
"Gooooooo!" he says. He's making a face and I think he's not done. I walk out, then spy on him; I see him stand up, turn to check the toilet and sit down again. I walk in a minute later. Max stands, I peer in and there are two teeny doodie pellets. OH. Constipated.
"MAAAAAX!" I say. "YOU POOPED! THAT'S GREAT! THAT IS SO GREAT!"
6:10 p.m.: I am upstairs, taking a break; Dave is home with Sabrina. Suddenly Sabrina wails, "MAX PEED ALL OVER MY MUSIC STAND!"
Sure enough, Dave didn't place Max on the potty seat quite right and there's pee all over the floor, which Dave is cleaning up with window cleaner as Sabrina cries pitifully. A lovely scene. Still: Max peed on the potty!
6:45 p.m.: YIPPPEEEE! Our babysitter is here! Dave and I are having dinner out with friends, my own potty-training reward. I can't wait to talk about something other than pee and poop. Although of course, I give my friend an account of the entire day. You know you're a mom when you have no issue talking toileting over appetizers.
11:05: We get home and the babysitter tells us Max pooped on the potty. Score!
The day was a good start to what's going to be a long process.
I am not going to tell you how many Samoas I consumed because someday, when I run for president, someone will use it against me.
Tomorrow: Potty training weekend boot camp, Day 2!