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Cute Potty Training Story

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  • onemellogirl onemellogirl's Avatar 10-11-10 | 01:57 AM
  • Potty Success!
    Getting ready to toilet train your child? What you can learn from one mom's misadventures and hard-won victory

    By Julie Tilsner

    1. Year 1
    If ever there was a reason for parents, potty training is it. Who elsewould put in the time and energy needed to convince a toddler that he should put his bodily waste in the proper place? No one I know. Yet this embodies the spirit of parenthood, and we dutifully nudge our progeny toward this most basic of civilized behaviors. We do it with a smile on our faces too (at least sometimes), as we look forward to the day when we can scratch the $15 jumbo diaper pack off the shopping list. Except that sometimes we're still buying that jumbo pack two years later, after trying every toilet-training method in the books, as well as a few thrown at us by well-meaning grandmas, aunts, and assorted
    daycare providers. What's a thwarted parent to do when everything has been tried? I feel your pain. My daughter was almost 4 before she started using the toilet for its intended purpose. I can tell you now that the decision to go potty is entirely the child's to make. Had I known this simple truth, I could have saved myself much gnashing of teeth. Read on, and save yourself from my mistakes.

    Year 1 April
    Annie is 15 months old and exhibiting signs of toddlerhood. She has a mind of her own and a proclivity toward using it. She gave up her pacifier without prompting at 9 months. She's weaning herself off the bottle, and she already wields a spoon like a pro. This, I think, bodes well for potty training. As if on cue, my mom sends a little plastic toilet with a lid that opens and shuts, and a removable cup. Annie and I cover it with bright flower stickers and set it next to the toilet. We've always had an open-door policy, and now my husband and I take to proclaiming loudly whenever one of us has to use the bathroom so Annie can come and see how it's done. We take off her diaper and let her sit on her potty as we sit on ours, assuming that when she needs to go, she'll do what comes naturally. She doesn't. But we get so used to announcing our bodily intentions; we embarrass ourselves in front of guests anyway.

    No movement, bowel or otherwise, on the potty front. Annie can watch an entire Teletubbies video and drink a whole sippy cup of milk while perched on her little seat, with nary a hint of needing to use it. She'll hold it until I put the diaper back on her. Hmm. It's early yet. I'm not worried. Nature will take its course.

    2. Year 2
    Annie is 2 years old and still in diapers. This is okay with me, although Grandma is starting to ask questions. In her day, apparently, it was a scandalous reflection of your parenting skills if your kids weren't toilet trained by 2. What can I tell her? Today the word is that most children aren't even ready to begin potty training until 2 or 2. I explain to her that we're subscribing to the method espoused by the eminent pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., who says that parents should let the child dictate when he's ready to potty train. Mom scoffs. I was potty trained by 18 months, she says.

    Annie fills her potty with blocks and little plastic animals. She tucks her dolly in it for the night. She spends hours playing with it, which at first I took as a good sign (she's getting comfortable with it!), but now I suspect she's loath to soil such a favored plaything. I run out and buy a Sesame Street potty seat that converts our big toilet seat to Annie-size. I also buy a little footstool. I show her how to use them. "Isn't it fun?" I ask her. "You can sit on Mommy and Daddy's potty or go on your own special Annie-size potty!" She agrees that it's a pretty nifty idea, but she still ignores both of them. Around this time The New York Times runs a story about a feud between two toilet-training experts Dr. Brazelton and child psychologist John Rosemond, who advocates a return to stricter potty-training schedules. Rosemond developed a method he calls Naked and $75, in which you stay home with your kid, let her run around the house in the buff, and bring her to the potty whenever she pees or poops on herself, on the assumption that she'll soon be going to the potty herself. The $75 is to clean the carpets. I decide to give it a try. I work from home, but I keep Annie out of daycare for the week and let her run around in her birthday suit. I put her on the potty after every meal and ask her repeatedly throughout the day, "Do you have to go pee-pee? Do you have to go pee-pee?" The answer is always negative until the end of the day, when she starts to writhe and beg pathetically for a diaper. No amount of coaxing on our part will make her put that pee-pee in the potty. Invariably, we cave and get her the diaper. By the end of the week, we're trained. She's not. You can buy a lot of diapers for $75.

    She's 2 and has no interest in going potty. We've just moved from our one-bedroom apartment to a larger, slightly newer version and Annie isn't happy at all, even though she now gets her own room and the toilet is in the same room as the bathtub. Since all the experts say that training can be set back during times of transition, such as a move, we ease up a bit. She'll be starting at a new daycare place next week, and the caregiver, Sandra, has almost 30 years of experience with toddlers. "Don't worry," she tells me. "All the kids here are potty trained. They'll help her along." I hope so.

    Annie is unmoved by peer pressure. The kids at daycare take her by the hand and try to get her to go potty with them before they head to the park midmorning, but Annie declines. At least she's started wearing her big-girl underwear every day of the week (she holds it in till naptime, then soaks her diaper). I take this as a sign of progress, until I find out it's because a boy at daycare has declared that he doesn't like girls who wear diapers. "And Willy's my boyfriend," she tells me. I'm a desperate woman, so even though it goes against my every principle, I grit my teeth and tell Annie that Willy probably likes girls who go pee-pee in the potty even better! But Annie isn't impressed. She continues to insist on my putting her into a diaper before she pees, and although I'm still annoyed by
    this, at this particular moment I am secretly pleased. So what if she's wearing diapers in college? My girl thinks for herself.

    I have a Bad Mommy Moment and tell Annie we're out of diapers. I've read somewhere that this has worked. "You'll have to put your pee in the potty now," I tell her. Annie glowers at me. "I need a diaper Mommy."
    Me: "We're out of diapers. Let's try to put your pee-pee in the potty like a big girl."
    Her: "I need a diaper!"
    Me: "We don't have any more diapers. Let's go on the potty."
    Her: "I want a diaper!"
    Annie launches into a tantrum on the bathroom floor while I practice controlled breathing. She inherited this stubbornness from me, I reason. I'll just have to out-stubborn her. "There are no more diapers," I tell her firmly. "You have no choice. Pee on the floor or pee in the potty." Of course I have one hidden emergency diaper, but I don't tell her this. I'm going to win. Annie wins. There's only so much gut-wrenching sobbing a mom can take.

    3. Year 3
    Annie is 3 and still wears diapers. Now it's getting personal. My neighbors drive up as I pull the latest 72-diaper pack out of the car, and my first impulse is to hide the incriminating evidence. Their3-year-old is already wearing Lion King underwear. Adding to the pressure: I'm pregnant. The thought of buying diapers on both ends of the size spectrum gives me the vapors. I vow to toilet train this girl before I drop our new addition in July.

    I go to the bookstore and buy a second round of potty books. Annie's had the best-selling Once Upon a Potty: Girl for a year now, and she's memorized "The Potty Song" from the Once Upon a Potty for Her video. In the name of further agitprop, I bring home Taro Gomi's Everyone Poops, which is an immediate hit. I also ply her with several other titles on the same theme, including a book with stickers for a potty chart. We paste our chart to the wall in front of her potty, and I tell her she can earn a sticker every time she puts her pee-pee in the potty. She gets off to a bad start by not going pee-pee in the potty this time.

    One evening Annie comes to us in that crouched stance called the I Gotta Pee pose. My husband and I jump up and put her on the potty. She sits and sits as I lurk nearby in the hallway, waiting to hear that magical sound of urine hitting the water. No such luck. I enter the bathroom and play my bribery card. "If you put your pee-pee in the potty," I tell her, "I will go out and rent Beauty and the Beast and let you eat mint-chocolate chip ice cream for dinner tonight." "But I don't want to watch Beauty and the Beast, Mommy," she says. The potty chart on the wall looks on blankly, mocking me.

    At the rate we're going now, my newborn son, Jackson, will be potty trained before his big sister. At least I feel justified in forgetting about it for a while, since even if Annie were trained, the introduction of a new baby into the household would probably throw her off her game. So I don't say a thing as I change her diaper. She, on the other hand, is talking a lot about diapers, mostly about Jackson's diaper. "He's a little tiny baby," she comments. "And he has to wear a diaper, right?" "Right," I tell her. "But I'm not a little tiny baby, right? "No," I say. "You're not. You're a big sister now." She chews on this new information.

    Houston, we have contact! Annie calls me from the other room to tell me she's peeing. I grab her and race to the toilet. "See?" I say as she finishes. "That's where you put your pee-pee." She gives me a big grin, and I can almost see the lightbulb over her head. Later on that afternoon, Annie announces she has to pee again, and again I race her to the potty. That night, when Daddy gets home, she puts her potty seat on the toilet, climbs onto the stool, pulls down her pants, and pees in the potty. All by herself. After that, Annie pees in the potty like she's been doing it for years. There are no accidents at all. I'm amazed, impressed, and more than a little proud. Annie is proud of herself too, and she tells everyone she meets that she's a big sister and she puts her pee-pee in the potty. Had I known this is what it would take, I would have had a second child years ago. Yes, I know. It's only a partial victory. We're still working on the poop thing, as well as on the night thing. Allow me to bask awhile after this first round of battles. At this rate, by the time she's dry at night, it'll be time to start training Jackson.
  • MrsS1stbaby MrsS1stbaby's Avatar 10-11-10 | 10:46 AM
  • LOL, very cute.....and so much like my life! hahaha
Thank you MrsS1stbaby!
onemellogirl (10-23-10)
Thank you New_Mommy!
onemellogirl (10-23-10)
  • rudolphia rudolphia's Avatar 10-11-10 | 03:21 PM
  • We are struggling with pt with Marek (4 years 1 month old). I'm hoping he'll be consistent before he goes to college
    We haven't even started Lukas yet!
Thank you rudolphia!
onemellogirl (10-23-10)
  • ~Kelli~ ~Kelli~'s Avatar 10-23-10 | 10:00 PM
  • love it!

    i'm still waiting on her to push it more-- she tells me when she has to go sometimes but it's not consistent at all....
Thank you ~Kelli~!
onemellogirl (10-23-10)

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