I looked up the term cold turkey once I started writing this post. After all, it's a phrase I have been using for years and I have no real idea about its origin. What's so bad about cold turkey that it got associated with withdrawing from something? There seems to be a fair amount of speculation about why the phrase gets used, but I like the explanation that the look of a whole, cold turkey is all sweaty and goose-bumpy:
Oh. Well. When you think of it like that, I guess it makes sense. Because I certainly felt all sweaty and goose-bumpy just like that turkey when I started thinking about potty training The Nugget. Just like a heroin addict, I kept coming up with new dates and new reasons to prolong the process of using my drug of choice (in this case, diapers).
"We'll just use up this last box and then we're going for it!" But once that box was gone, we still had night-time diapers left.
"I'm just going to buy a small pack of diapers and then even out the boxes. Because I don't want to waste the night-time diapers."
"We have plans every weekend coming up, so I had better buy some more diapers because we don't have a a weekend to dedicate to this project."
Until, finally, I realized that I would be on a lifting restriction in less than a month. And my nearly two and a half year old still sleeps in a crib which I have to lift her into every night. And she is changed several times a day on a changing table onto which I have to lift her. Suddenly, reality set in. My baby was no longer a baby anymore. And it was time to tackle the potty training.
I announced my plans to friends and family. Many exclaimed, "Oh, you're going cold turkey? You're brave!" This because we did not plan to use any sort of pull-up in the daytime OR in the night. "My four year old still wears pull-ups at night!" Of course, hearing other moms be so nervous about this plan did put some skepticism into my mind, but we soldiered onward.
I knew from reading that it was important to set aside several days to stay home and focus on the task at hand. We began our process bright and early on a Saturday morning. When she rose from her crib, I jubiliantly informed her that from now on she wears big girl underpants! She will no longer wear diapers! She was also very excited because we have owned the underwearpants (her word) for some time (due to my repeated postponement of training) and she had been eyeing all of the pretty designs.
Warning: from this point forward we will talk more about fecal matter than you ever wanted to. Ever.
Day one: We pooped! On the potty! And only had one or two daytime accidents and only one nighttime accident. She's awesome! We'll be fine! Why have I been putting this off so long?
Day two: We peed. Everywhere. Frequently. Why do I have to do this? Why do YOU have to do THAT? On the couch? Must resist urge to return to diapers.
Day three: It's a miracle! She is perfectly potty trained and will never have an accident again!!! Our chld is a genius, we are the best parents ever. The end.
Well, sort of. Except...well, the poop. Since day one, we have had zero night-time accidents (I was fully prepared that I would have at least several days of getting up multiple times per night to change the sheets). We have had only MINIMAL potty accidents, and that was usually because of a missed signal on our part. She has not been averse to stopping play in order to hit the potty. But she has developed some kind of pooping on the potty phobia.
Now, any time she needs to poop, she starts grabbing her bum and doing the poop dance. I ask, "do you need to go poopy?" I am met with the adamant, "NOOOOOOOOOO!" This can literally go on for days. If I can get her to relax enough to just SIT on the potty, she can usually go. But, as the days go on, she is less relaxed and more stressed about pooping in the potty.
We tried to meet her stress with lots of excitement about pooping! in! the! potty! We have made long lists of all of the people and animals who also poop. Aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, pets - they all go poop! We have sung songs about pooping. We have shown her our poop in the potty (look, you do what you gotta do). All of our exhuberance has only led to MORE anxiety about the poop.
So we have decided to drop the discussion about poop for now. She is staying in big girl underwearpants. If we ask her if she needs to go potty and she says no, we will accept her answer. If she poops in her pants, we will stick with our original plan, which is to say cheerfully, "accidents happen, but next time you need to try and go to the potty." If she actually does manage to poop in the potty, then we will give her a sucker. I am reassured by the fact that I have heard from many of my friends and read online that many other kids struggle with this issue and that it basically just takes time to get better.
But we're more than halfway there, in my opinion. No wet sheets? No wet underwearpants? I'm calling it success!
And that's what you call cold turkey!