Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Potty Training

Potty Training, or toilet teaching, as it is now known—since our children shouldn’t be “trained”—started out so well in our house. I dutifully bought a potty and placed in the bathroom so my little girl could explore it. Then one day after lunch I put her on it to see what would happen. She went! I always knew she was a genius.

Kate used the potty happily a few times a day for about a week and a half. Then it happened. She decided not to. Not only would she not use it she cried anytime she got near it. Not to worry I thought, she’s still young. I have lots of time. Over the next months I tried to patiently reintroduce her to the potty. Then like any good parent I offered a bribe. Candy. One M&M per performance. That worked—for two whole days.

Finally I threw my hands up and quit. I was six months pregnant, looking at two moves in the next two months and I quit. She would occasionally choose to go and we praised her. The months went by, the new baby came, but still Kate refused to be “toilet taught”.

We’ve been on this journey for nearly a year now. I’ve tried all the old and trendy ideas. I’ve used training pants with plastic covers—that resulted in a lot of laundry, but she didn’t even care to tell me to change her when she was wet. We’ve tried pretty panties to bribe her. I even let her walk around without a diaper, so she would notice that she needed to go. That was probably the worst one—I was nine months pregnant scrubbing out a poop stain on our brand new carpet. We've gotten to a point that she will go when taken, but not ask to go--it's progress.

The true humor in it all is I am a college educated woman. I don’t have a degree in just anything either. I am a teacher by trade. I taught kids, some with fewer verbal skills than my two year old, how to complete job tasks. I’m not sure why it’s harder with our own kids. I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to a lot of people, even one whom I worked with who was afraid she would send her daughter to high school in diapers.

Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t call me by my last name? Or is it because she knows I’ll love her even if she doesn’t use the potty? At least she made my mom this promise: “When I get married, I’ll change my own diapers.” Amen!

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