Thursday, March 25, 2010
This morning we reached the coup de grace in our potty training, Alexis’ final stand against the inevitability of becoming a regular potty-er. After weeks, oh who am I kidding, MONTHS of back and forth in the Battle of the Potty she had her final farewell to the world of diapers and she went out with a bang. Or to make a “mom joke”: she really made a splash! I’m sorry you had to read that. Anyway more on our early morning episode later, first let’s talk about the blond ball of stubbornness that is my almost-3-year-old, and the wild ride that has been our potty training experience.
At 18 months my beautiful, angel child was potty trained. I’m not kidding, I sat her on the potty and said “This is where we are going to do our pee pee’s from now on.” (I wonder why when I tell her how to do things I always include myself. I can assure you I have been potty trained for quite some time now) Anyway, that bright, obedient child looked up at me smiled and then peed on the potty. On her 1st try!!! The following 3 days resulted in lots of bragging on my part, “Alexis is potty trained already, I don’t know why everyone says it is so difficult” Ha! My kid! My 18 month old! Potty Trained! Chew on that Super Moms! Those were a great 3 days, I was walking on a cloud of accomplishment and an pride. On day 4 I awoke to a big slice of humble pie, who knew a 1 and half year old could put you in your place so efficiently…
We woke up and when I tried to put her on the potty, my sweet, obedient angel child turned into an alien. I swear, overnight the pod-babies snuck in and took over my little one’s body, in place of her sweet temperament they put an ornery (I know ornery is a label usually reserved for the stooped gray hairs complaining about how expensive produce has gotten in the last 60 years, but it is the best word to describe my grouchy little pod-baby) foreign personality in there. Who’s child is this? Sure she looks like mine, and sounds like mine : well except for that wining, that does not sound like my child. But MY child was potty trained yesterday, and this child refuses to sit on the potty, let alone make a deposit. And so it began. The Battle of the Potty.
When we first started potty training, we bought a little pink potty. A little pink potty that looked like a miniature throne. A little pink potty that looked like a miniature throne, that played music every time a successful potty was made! How could we go wrong with this little guy?! Well, I’ll tell you how, there is a little button hidden on the flip side of the potty that when pressed plays the same music that can be heard when pee-pee is deposited. Well, let me tell you, when this discovery was made progress made it’s swift exit. Progress, what a fickle little traitor! Who wants to sit on what essentially is a plastic chotchky adorned bucket to do their business, when diapers are dry and warm and get changed for you?! Music??? Puhlease, all I have to do to hear that music is turn the potty upside down and press that little button.
I told myself, “she’s still young, 18 months is way too young to be potty trained anyway. “ “Maybe it was just coincidence, good timing, that she was going on the potty when I sat her on it. Yes, that’s it, I just had Pee ESP, and my ESP left me as quickly as it came.” Pee ESP, another fickle traitor. Fast Forward 3 months to a Rhode Island visit. Aaaah Christmas in the North East, freezing, wet gray and full of the hopeful optimism of potty training. Our friends Joe and Jess and their adorable almost-2-year-old Madison were potty trained. Madison is only 4 months older than Lexi and look at her, saying to Jess, “Mommy I need to pee” running into the bathroom, the kid WASHED HER HANDS after she was done. It was like gazing into a glimpse of the promised land. Oh what could have been, had that evil little button never been discovered.
Our return to California was accompanied by a renewed sense of determination on my part. This child will learn to pee pee on the potty, not only that, but she will wash her hands afterward. Yes, this is the future, I have seen the future and I like it. I hit the ground running. I dusted off the throne and followed Alexis around the house with it. Praying for my P-ESP to return I would sit her on it once an hour. Nothing. This lasted for 2 weeks (my sense of my determination was a lot stronger than my actual determination) at the end of the two weeks, without so much a a drop of the yellow stuff, but with plenty of button music, I packed it up repeating what I had told myself 3 months earlier “She’s not even 2 yet, I’ll try again when she gets a little older”
Her 2nd birthday came and went and about a month later I decided now that she was two, it was FINALLY time. Somewhere in my mind it made perfect sense to think that two was the magical Age of the Potty. She has such a greater understanding of things, yes, now that she has hit that number, surely an internal switch has been flipped and she will want to celebrate her entry into toddlerhood by doing her peeps and poops in a toilet. Not so much. She would sit in her designated spot, look at me, look down and announce “It’s broken” or “It’s not working” or, my favorite, “pee pee needs new batteries”. She would then hop up, pull up her training pants and pee. Right there, STANDING NEXT TO THE THRONE! It happened day after day hour after hour, another 2 weeks of dry potty and wet diapers. It was enough to make me want to tear my hair out. Instead of making myself bald I opted for my old fallback peptalk “She’s only Two. It’s still early, they wouldn’t make diapers big enough for 2 year old if there wasn’t a market for them. More kids than not are still in diapers at her age.”
A few months passed, and my friend told me about an amazing potty method. All it took was 3 days! Imagine that, 3 days and she will be potty trained! I ordered the tutorial and gave it a go. Maybe it is very effective for normal kids, you know normal kids who feel discomfort, my daughter has no such sensitivities. A huge part of the 3 day method was the baby had to get uncomfortable when she peed in her underwear. Not Alexis. She ran around like she was dry. No big deal. Occasionally she would tell me she was “all wet” but it never slowed her down. I mean, really, 5 minutes waiting for a swing was a lifetime for a 2 year old, she was definitely not going to be losing her spot for something as ridiculous as bodily functions! HA, the thought! After a week (3 days of which were spent holed up in our apartment) and few “accidents” on the furniture and communal park equipment, I loaded the still unsoiled potty back into it’s home into the closet and pulled out the diapers.
The next month brought a visit from mother, and her notebook, filled with notes scribbled while watching Dr. Phil one day. Maude, bless her, thought that Dr. Phil had a good idea. Give Alexis a doll to teach potty to. When she teaches the doll potty, she will learn too. The problem of course, not being that Alexis doesn’t understand how to use the potty. I had given up on the hopeful thoughts of P-ESP and come to the stark realization that my daughter knows perfectly well how to use the potty, she is capable of telling me when she needs to go, she just likes her diaper. Pee-pee on the potty would only slow her down and she was going to fight it with everything she had, and lets be perfectly honest, I’m decades older than her; she has much more time to fight than I do. Needless to say Dr. Phil and his dolls in all their wisdom have never come across my daughter and her frustrating commitment to diapers and his method had 0 effect on her potty training. I had long since stopped thinking the little pink potty was cute and actually resented the thing. I didn’t even bother putting it back in the closet. Stupid thing sat in my bathroom mocking me for another 3 months.
In the fall I started school again, and Alexis started preschool (which cost more than my college classes, in part because children in diapers are more expensive, of course they are). Caught up in my classes and running back and forth to preschool, college, music classes and weekend beach trips I didn’t even think about her not being potty trained. Of course it was always in the back of my head, mainly taking the form of a question of when would I have time to potty train when I hardly had time to take a shower at the end of the day? The end of my semester rolled around and after receiving good grades I found my optimism had been restored and if it took all vacation, so be it, this child will deposit waste in her potty by the time I go back to school. Well, it did take all of vacation. All of vacation and 6 weeks into the new semester. There was a diaper discarding ceremony, an exciting trip to Target to buy underpants adorned with various Disney characters, and what I think the biggest factor that played into my success, an obsession with all things princess. Princesses did pee-pee on the potty, not only that but they had potties that looked like THRONES! Thrones that played princess music when they went pee on them.
She was potty trained, finally one month shy of her 3rd birthday. YIPPPPEEEEEE. Which brings us to our incident this morning; It has been about 2 weeks since we’ve had a pee-pee accident and 4 days since a poo-poo boo-boo. As I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel Alexis must be seeing the light at the beginning disappearing because she made one last-ditch effort in the Battle of the Potty, she Peed.On.The.Dog. I am basking in the glory of a successful 1st half of the semester being over, emptying the dishwasher, completely unassuming when I hear Lexi and the dog playing with each other (the dog that was housetrained in 2 days, thank you very much). “How nice they get along so well” I thought to myself. Then I hear it, “Mommy, I peed on Sunny!.” That adorable little voice coming out of the adorable little toddler. Adorable. No way did the adorable child do that, she’s far too adorable. Sure enough there was an adorable little puddle forming underneath the puppy, dripping off her back and my ahem-adorable daughter standing there with a big smile on her face. I couldn’t believe it. So close I could taste it and then this!! After a serious talk and a dog bath we are back to going in the potty. I hope.