Sunday, April 25, 2010

Newspaper column

Who knew that potty training would be harder than childbirth?

At this point, I'd gladly go through 22 hours of labor if it meant a difinitive end to this horrible drawn-out battle of wills with my toddler and the toilet. I never thought I would be this obsessed with someone else's bodily functions. Ever.

When Allison was 19-months-old, I thought I had it made. She was successfully asking to use the bathroom on a semi-regular basis. Then it came to an abrupt halt. For the last nine months, I've tried everything from bribery to nonchalance. From Pull-Ups to pulling my hair out. And everything in between.

And everyone tells me girls are easier.

Granted, it hasn't been all bad. There have been a few moments worth celebrating -- however brief.

I came to the conclusion that she'll consistantly go on the toilet if she's not wearing a diaper, so most of her days at home are spent in the buff from the waist down. I felt like a complete genious until I covered her with a blanket while she was watching a TV show. That little bit of fabric somehow encouraged her to pee all over the couch.

Unfortunately, expressing my disappointment was far outweighed by the fun new toy revealed when I removed the cushion for cleaning.


Yes, the couch transforms into a toddler trampoline. And if that isn't incentive to keep peeing on the cusions, I don't know what is.

A few days later, her bare butt raised an eyebrow when a neighbor stopped by to ask if we'd like some leftover manure for our yard. I politely declined with the explanation that we had enough fecal matter to worry about at our house. We certainly didn't need any more.

There have also been a few moments that I had to just step back and laugh.

Allison asked to use the bathroom during our most recent weekly playgroup outing, and I couldn't have gotten her to the toilet faster. Knowing that time is of the essence, I practically jumped off the floor before she completed the request.

When the trip proved successful, I summoned my inner cheerleader, as usual, but this time it apparently wasn't enough.

"I want to go tell the guys!" she said, and proceeded to waddle to the door with her pants around her ankles, open it with surprising ease and announce to a room of shocked faces at her lack of clothes that she had, indeed, gone potty.

And because her audience was full of understanding moms going through the same difficult phase with their children, she got exactly what she was looking for -- an eruption of applause and cheers.

At that moment, it was great. But how do I follow that? Next time she'll expect a marching band.

She doesn't seem to care about collecting M&Ms, stickers or toys. She doesn't care if her pants (and socks) are soaked -- it doesn't phase her one bit.

When she wants to, she does. When she doesn't feel like it, she doesn't.

I think this is one battle she's going to have to tackle without me. My husband and I have done all that we can.

I can think of a thousand metaphors that would be appropriate in this case, but I've come up with my own.

You can lead a toddler to the toilet, but you can't force them to pee.


Kristy said...

We were right there with our oldest--after 18 months (just before she turned 3) she was finally potty trained. Happily, our second took less than a month.

Jaclyn said...

I know you said you've tried everything, but with Katelyn, we had her wear panties. Then, if she wet them, she had to feel it all cold & wet against her skin -which she was NOT a fan of. We'd leave her in them for a couple minutes so she know how gross it felt, then we'd make HER clean herself & her mess up. No, we didn't scold or punish her, just, "ok, let's go to the bathroom so you can take off your wet panties, & wipe yourself off." Then, we'd follow that w/a towel to the site of the accident to sop up the mess. (Of course, after she wiped herself down, we'd go back over her w/a wipe to get her all cleaned, and after she "sopped", we'd re-sop to make sure as much of it got absorbed as possible.)

Good luck; Katelyn's potty-trained 98% during the day. Now, we need to start working on nap & bedtime.

Jessica said...

That is Addison to a T. She's been able to go for a LONG time. However, she didn't want to go so she simply wouldn't. To the point she'd hold it for up to 8 hours before peeing all over herself. She could have multiple accidents a day & she just didn't care. Shortly before turning three she finally decided it was a good idea to go (most of the time - sometimes she'll go in her panties because she's upset about something). However, she still can't go #2 on the potty, I think she's too tense. If girls are easier, I don't know what I'm in for with this boy!

Anonymous said...

Keep trying! It'll happen.

But, invest in a case of adult diapers, just in case it never does.

An Anonymous Plainsman said...

OK, Sure you have done/are doing this, but point out to her that the big girls and boys plan ahead and head to where they have to, when they have to, even if it means tearing themselves away from doing something they are enjoying at the time. They can get back to the fun sooner, too, when they are successful at taking care of business. TMI here, but think that this logic worked on me.

Ray said...

Love that last line. =o) I'm not a parent but I think that it's kind of the same as wanting your child to walk. The same kind of anticipation. And I think when Allison's fully ready, she'll go to the potty all the time. As for now: keep her in Pull-Ups and keep reinforcing how GREAT the potty is! Lol. Good luck!

Erica said...

Haha, this was great. Well, maybe not for you, but the scene with her announcing her success to the room with her pants around her ankles had me cracking up! Great writing. Good luck with everything, you seem to have quite a strong-willed little girl!

Kristin said...

How appropriate of a metaphor xP
Good luck with your potty training endeavors xP