As may be obvious, I had never potty-trained anyone prior to this week, so I really didn't quite know what to expect going in. Our plan was to us a version of the "bare bottom" method, whereby one morning you take off the over-night diaper, bid it farewell, and then spend 48 hours or so having the trainee run around with no pants on in close proximity to the potty. On Wednesday, Lemon and I went on a special outing to Target to buy him his first undies, with Ninja Turtles and Finding Nemo (am I dating myself?) characters on them. Saturday morning, we bid diapers adieu.
Overall, things went pretty much as well as I could have hoped. Lemon has not had any significant #1 accidents, and over the past 72 hours has become what I would consider fairly reliable at identifying the need to go. After the first few hours with no pants, he insisted that he'd gotten the idea and wanted his new undies. Although the infinitely wise people on the internet say to hold off on undies for a while, he wanted them really badly and had been doing a good job, so we let him wear them. They didn't seem to confuse him at all, he has the distinction between diapers and undies pretty well worked out in his little mind. #2 has been a bit more of a challenge in that he's really reluctant to do it on the potty (common, sayeth the internet). He's stuck with executing that particular function in his diaper at nap time or while he's wearing his night-time diaper. And you know what--that's totally fine with me. As long as it is not on the floor or in the pants I don't care.
The thing that has surprised me about this is how hard it has been for Lemon. On the one hand, I would say he was clearly ready. He got the hang of it right away, is proud of his ability to do things in the potty and flush them, and loves his undies. On the other hand, this process has clearly taken every single little grey cell that he has, and he is EXHAUSTED. He is using up all of his self-control on mastering the business with the potty, which leaves very little self-control for things like not hitting one's sibling or headbutting one's parents. He had to take two naps today, and passed out without a peep at bed time. Hopefully in the coming days, this will become a bit more routine, and he'll get back to his usual self.
I would have thought that so many of the other things that Lemon has experienced in his life would be harder on him than this, but looking at our recent list in retrospect, the only thing that comes close is the gastric emptying study. I think the other things (being hospitalized, wearing a cast, doing G-tube feeds) are things that we've largely handled for him. Yes, he's had to go along with it, but those things didn't require as much mental effort on his part. Potty training, on the other hand, is all on him--we can set him up in an environment where he's likely to succeed, but ultimately he's the one who has to do it.
Finally, following on Father's Day, a word or two on Papa Bear. He doesn't get a lot of airtime on the blog but he is an anchor of this family, the most dedicated co-parent I could hope to have. He has the perfect combination of serious-minded commitment to his kids well-being blended with a playful and imaginative nature that balances out the somewhat relentless realism and pragmatism that the they get from other parental figures in their lives (ahem). The kids adore him and it's obvious why. He's the one who invented the Time Tunnel to the Future and the Tickle Tent, the one who's read Lemon the same Richard Scarry books a thousand times over, the only adult male that Lime really trusts, the singer of song parodies and maker of terrible puns that Lemon doesn't quite get yet. And also payer of bills, filer of taxes, lead wrangler of pharmacy and insurance company, patient watcher of infinite therapy-time YouTube videos, co-napper in chief and hospital supply run guy extraordinaire. Fathers wear a lot of hats, including those made out of foam alphabet floor tiles, and you wear them all like you were born to it. Happy Father's Day, Papa Bear!