If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, then you already know I am the author and developer of the
internationally acclaimed “Whatever Dude” potty training program. It’s only a matter of time before Oprah and Dr. Phil put in a call to feature me on their shows as the “parenting gone awry” example.
The WD program consists mainly of pretending that you do not care one whit if your child is potty trained or not — even in the face of criticism by the world wide web and well-meaning friends and especially in the face of a little boy with big blue eyes who delights in making that vein in your forehead bulge.
The not caring one whit? This is the hardest part of the program, especially when someone has gone to great pains to point out all the other children at the playground who are not wearing diapers because then I have to point out that those same children are eating their boogers which proves that age of potty training does not correlate to intelligence. So there.
The major component of the WD program is being secure in the knowledge that you know your child best and are doing what is best for your child no matter what the world wide web, your best friend, your mother, Dr. Phil or a doctor by any other name says. In the WD program, you take in information from all of these sources, give it ten seconds of polite consideration and then say “Thank you very much, but whatever dude, this is my kid and I’m doing what’s best for my child.”
I decided early on that I was not going to make a big deal out of potty training, that I would wait for his cue. But as the years wore on and there was no cue, and all the other kids his age seemed to have mastered this skill, I began to get a little nervous. I began to consider the possibility that there might not be a cue coming and… and then I didn’t allow myself to think too far beyond that because I had no idea what I would do.
Many of you have been with me on this WD not-potty-training journey from the beginning and have emailed me to ask how it happened so quickly. Really and truly, it happened in one day. One day in August we got a letter from the preschool saying that 3-year-olds had to be potty trained in order to attend school in the fall. That was the cue I needed.
Soon thereafter, we put big boy underwear on him. And that was that. Sure we had to wrestle him down to the ground and put them on him the first time and there were a few tears and a few wet accidents, but that was pretty much it. After that first day, no more diapers, no more tears. There was no doll, no special potty chair, no stickers, no M&Ms, no charts and this time no bribes (I had exhausted all my bribes in the previous 18 months) — nothing other than a little gentle force and a lot of praise.
Why did it work? Perhaps the stars aligned just right that particular day or perhaps it was the confluence of the letter, my eagerness and his own readiness. Or perhaps God, fully aware of my ineptitude, took pity on me and made it easy. I don’t know. Probably that last one.
If you are in the throes of potty training, my only advice to you is to do what is best for your child. And then expect to be criticized for it.
For me and for Sean, it was best to wait a little longer, change a few more diapers and avoid a few more battles.