NOTE: For over a year we have been trying to potty train our 3 1/2 year old. It has not gone so well. Well meaning people tell me “Have you tried the 3 day method?” I smile and think to myself you have no fucking idea! We thought she was ready. She exhibited all the signs; just Google potty training signs and you will see what I am talking about. So we attempted and it was a colossal fail. So we stopped. She exhibited more signs and again fail. Finally, she decided, on her own, one day that she was going to wear panties. So we decided to give it another go, but this time we weren’t giving in. Alas, it has been really slow going, like turtle stuck to a slug slow, but things have improved. She doesn’t really wear diapers except if we go somewhere, at naptime and at bedtime. She now pees on the potty when taken every hour or so, but will not initiate on her own. However, that is not the end that has given us so much trouble. The following is a typical day in the life.
DAY 397- No More Diapers
7AM- The child wakes up. I go into her room and take off her pants and diaper and bring her to the bathroom to sit on the potty. I explain that today is a special day. She gets excited, to her special day is a trip to Chucky Cheese or something. I tell her that today we don’t wear diapers anymore, just at night and not for much longer anyway. And that today we pee and poop only in the potty. Her response is unenthusiastically “Oh” but no action in the potty.
8AM First pee on the potty of the day. I count that as a raging success and prepare breakfast. Then we all get dressed and get ready to go for a hike in the woods.
9:45: We are all ready to go, just waiting on someone to pee on the potty so we can head out.
10AM: Success! After peeing on the potty we head out to the woods for about and hour and a half with no accidents.
I get a little worried that the child might pee in the car seat during the 7 min trip home, but she surprises me and we make it home and she pees on the potty. I am shocked! I then prepare lunch and there are two subsequent other successes on the potty. I am beginning to think “we got this”.
1PM: Nap time. Oh how I have dreaded nap time since making the executive decision of no more diapers because every single day she poops at naptime in her diaper. First, I take her to the bathroom and talk to her about pooping. That it is about to be naptime and she needs to poop on the potty. I reminder her about the two M&M’s she will receive if she poops on the potty and the dinosaur she will also get if she poops on the potty (Yes, I have resorted to bribing my child-hey don’t judge! It’s day 397 for Christ sake!) No dice. She is holding it, but she does pee on the potty. Partial success. I take her into her room, re-explain that we don’t wear diapers anymore during the daytime and that Mommy will come in and check on her in a little while and take her to the bathroom. We do the naptime story and obligatory song and I leave shutting the door. I set the timer for 30 min.
1:25 PM The husband hears over the baby monitor “I need to go pee-pee!” He rushes in like the cavalry to save the day, but it is too late. Pee is all over her and has saturated the bed. I rush in behind him and take her to the bathroom. Strip her down and sit her on the potty. I remind her again that pee and poop go in the potty. I tell her that naptime is not over, but we are taking a break so she can poop on the potty. Meanwhile, husband changes the sheets and mattress cover. After 3 min of sitting on said potty we go back to her room. She throws a fit when she realizes that she is going back to bed. I move on resetting the timer for 30 min.
1:58PM The timer is about to go off in about 2 minutes when I check the baby monitor and notice that she is sitting in a big puddle and having a grand old time singing and playing. I go into the room and take her to the potty while dad strips the bed. This time her pillow is also wet. I strip her down and remind her about pee and poop only go in the potty and again about those two M&M’s and much anticipated dinosaur. She responds with more pee, but no poo. I bring her back to her room tell her I’ll be back soon to take her to the potty. This time a full melt down occurs because she is pissed (pun intended) that she has to stay in her room again. I subsequently shut the door and wish I was still a smoker. I also worry that if she pees again then we have a real problem because I am out of sheets and mattress pad covers.
2:30- Hallelujah nap time is over (words I have never uttered to myself before). I go into her room and to my surprise she and the bed are dry. I take her to the potty and re-explain about pee and poop and the potty. Nothing. I know she has one in the chamber, but is refusing to push it out. So now I decide we are going to step it up and go every 30 min to the bathroom. Husband and I do some chores around the house for a while. While doing my 3rd load of laundry for the day, I come to the realization that I need at least one more mattress pad cover and sheet If I’m going to make it through this whole potty training thing with a mattress intact. I tell my husband my epiphany and we decide to head to Toy’s R Us after her next successful potty.
4PM We drive to Toy’s R Us during rush hour traffic. I silently curse myself for not putting more mattress pad covers on my baby registry when I had the chance. We pick up said mattress cover and decide to sweeten the pot (pun also intended) by allowing the child to pick her own dinosaur for when she poops on the potty. Yes, more bribery, I’m feeling great about my parenting skills right about now. After much agonizing over what to pick, the child decides on one and we head home. On the way home, we pump up the potty, saying “if you poop on the potty your going to get that dinosaur. Won’t that dinosaur be fun to play with? You gotta poop in the potty to get to play with that dinosaur.” She then tells us when we get home she is gonna “poop on that potty”.
4:45PM We make it home and all three of us huddle in the bathroom to see the show. We await the poop with the same anticipation concert goers await the main act. But it is all for not. The only thing that happens is she pees and then has a big cry fest about it. We have no idea why she is crying at first, then I realize that we might have put too much pressure on her to dump her load. I almost cave from regret and give her the dinosaur, but then a little voice in my head says I might regret that decision for the rest of my life.
6PM: I leave for the night to meet a friend for drinks and husband takes over potty duty. When I get home at 10PM, I notice the dinosaur is still sitting on the kitchen counter taunting me. I get the run down from the husband…no poop. I silently curse the green dinosaur on the countertop as I walk by.