March 24, 2003 - Monday
Last night at bedtime I asked Harry whether he was going to wear his underwear to school this morning or a Pull-up. The answer, as I expected, was 'underwear' and he was rightly proud, in his coy manner, to say so. I also expected that he probably had not fully processed the implication of that decision: it would mean either peeing in the school potty, which he has yet to do (and indeed seems intimidated by), or having an accident. I consciously waited to pursue this angle, letting him sleep with confidence instead of anxiety. So, it was right after I dressed him over underwear this morning that I hinted at the inevitable circumstances that would soon face him at school.
"Harry, perhaps when we get to school I can take you into the bathroom and help you try to pee in the potty at school," I said, coming at the issue from the side.
"But, I don't have any pee," he answered with the usual flair of earnestness.
"Maybe you won't, but some time while you're at school you're going to have pee and I thought maybe if we tried when we got there you could practice."
"But, I don't have any pee," he reiterated, perhaps beginning to understand the path he was getting on.
"Yes, but you'll need to pee in the potty at school some time this morning or else you'll have an accident."
"I want a Pull-up." Sure enough, it was now clear to him.
Harry argued a bit more for the Pull-up, but I told him that since he was already dressed that we would go downstairs and have breakfast, then decide about the underwear. With such great progress over the weekend, it would be a shame to turn back. So, I tabled it, hoping he would not initiate the conversation again. I knew I would not. I did mentioned, in an admittedly sneaky and bureaucratic bill rider kind of way, that after I finished washing the dishes, we would go upstairs, brush our teeth, then go to school and try to pee in the potty at school. His 'OK' most likely meant that he was glad to be able to play with the pillows for a couple more minutes, but it sealed his fate.
Harry did not have any pee when we got to school. It was really too early. I explained as much theory as I could with his teacher, but ultimately I had to leave it with her. Actually, I didn't: I called her at about noon asking how things were going. He'd yet to pee. He's pretty good at holding it I know. I'd forgotten to advise her that he would say "I don't have any pee" at every attempt and that she would probably have to increase the pressure. She confirmed that tactic and we discussed what to do, but again it was in here hands. Fortunately, I trust her in these matters more than I trust myself, save the potential for conflicted messages to Harry. She asked if I thought a Pull-up during nap would be a good idea. I didn't think so. I figured at this point the worse case is likely to be just one accident.
When I got to school I saw Harry was sitting on her knee across the room wearing different pants and looking a bit forlorn. Alas, I thought. But, before I could mentally explore possible scenarios and what might come next in this high stakes potty training campaign, Harry was bouncing off her knee and running toward me and she was smiling. From half way across the room Harry was already boasting aloud, "I peed in the potty." He came the rest of the way right into my arms and I held him there and he gladly received my gushing praise for several moments. Apparently the fresh pants were solely a result of bad aim while at the potty and not an accident.
Harry pooped in the potty at home this evening, too, but not without his usual objection. This time, however, I walked out of the bathroom every time he started to complain. I don't know whether that made any kind of impression, but less than two hours later right before his bath, Harry himself apparently told his mother that he needed to poop in the potty, sat down, and did some more. Big advances.