Sun 16 Oct 2011
Potty training was one of those toddler parenting things I dreaded most. After all the stories of year-long-struggles and poop on the walls and fears of frogs in the toilets and ruined furniture and embarrassing accidents in public, I just didn’t want to get into it. But it hasn’t been that bad. We did a little bit when Abi was 18 months old because she suddenly insisted on it, but once she realized that going in the potty didn’t happen automatically, she was over it.
We picked it back up again about six weeks ago, and she is doing really well. She’d probably be doing better if I were more consistent. One thing about potty training is it trains the parent, too– I have to be always on the ball, stripping her of her diapers immediately after outings and sleeps, constantly keeping track of the time and her liquid intake for potty trips, and so on. I do not always do this. Why not? Because it is hard.
We did the well-hydrated naked child method. It took her about half a day to get the basics of peeing in the potty and one more day to really nail it down, though pooping in the potty has been tougher. As I’ve written before, she is a private naptime pooper. And once she realized that this whole peeing in the potty thing was not just a game, but would be the story of her life forever, Abi rebelled a bit. She’d shout I’M FINE! and struggle mightily every time I tried to take her to the potty. A few timeouts straightened that scene out. (Reason to be grateful #7,219– a few timeouts are all it takes to correct my child’s behavior. Worked for throwing food on the floor, picking up toys, and potty tantrums. WHAT LUCK!) She still often shouts that she is fine, but will sulk her way in there and try, muttering the whole time, instead of fighting it.
A few weeks ago she got to the point where she was having no accidents at all when she was naked. Put her in underwear, though, and she’d forget that they weren’t waterproof and just let her rip. We had a discussion about how underwear are NOT pull-ups, which she seemed to get right away, and this week I started insisting that she wear underwear most of the day, including out around town. She loves using public toilets for some reason and will nearly always say that she has to go, just for the chance to check out the latest stall. Yesterday she finished up and announced, “And now we look under!” No, we don’t. I think she got a glimpse of the person in the neighboring stall before I could grab her. Her cuteness really pays off in these situations– people smile indulgently instead of getting offended.
She’s been doing remarkably well with the underwear stuff, though today she had two accidents (her first in about four days). Next I have to figure out what to do about the whole naptime thing. Do I leave her in there naked, with a potty? She wouldn’t decide to play with whatever ends up in the potty, would she? Hm. Or put her in there in underwear, and tell her to hold it until naptime is over? It’s only an hour, and she never sleeps anyway. Hm.