Friday, April 29, 2011

To the Potty! Or...Not

Yesterday I was freaking out on Twitter about the fact that at this point when we have a second kid there will be at least three years in between Charlotte and her sibling. Everyone was quick to reassure me that it will be fine, that they know plenty of people with kids three and four years apart who get along just fine, and most importantly, many people reminded me how much easier it will be to have a baby with a slightly older child who can help.

My sister and I are two years apart, and most everyone I know has kids anywhere from fourteen months to two years apart, so in a way it's all I know and the reason I felt like I wanted to do it that way. But, in the end I realized that while a closer spacing might work well for some families, for our family it's probably best to let Charlotte get a little older. Right now she has no interest in babies, unless you count her interest in being really mean to her baby doll. She's also extremely high maintenance, volatile, jealous, and above all, STILL IN DIAPERS.

That's right. At this point in time, my number one consolation for the fact that I will have another year or so before having my oh-so-wanted second child is the fact that I won't have to change two sets of diapers. And that's not even a definite because this kid has NO interest in potty training. Like, at all.

I'm a believer in following her lead, not pressuring her, and trusting her to not remain in diapers forever. But, I figured giving her a few nudges, introducing her to the idea, and then stepping back when she resisted would be my strategy. So, I asked her if she would like to own some underwear, and she seemed excited. She picked out some Minnie underwear, we came home, and I put them on her. She loved them. They were soft! And "niiiiice!" I kept reminding her she would need to sit on the potty (which we'd owned for a while,) that these were not to be peed in. She brushed me off with a curt "Yeah." And then she peed in the first pair. And the second. When she even further defiled the third pair, we called it quits. This was clearly a stupid plan.

I resigned myself to the fact that she wasn't ready. Perhaps she wasn't even able to tell me she needed to go before it was happening. So, I backed off. I mean, she's only just turned two. What's my rush? She'll let me know when she's ready.

And yet, I AM in a rush. I really couldn't even tell you why. Diapers have never been a big deal to me. Changing them is simply what you do as a parent. It can be a little annoying at times, but it was never high on my list of grievances, until recently. But, after two years of mostly uneventful changing sessions, things have gotten contentious between Charlotte and her Official Diaper Changers. She doesn't want her diaper changed right now, thank you very much. She is too busy playing. "Well, okay. We'll change you in a few minutes." Nope. Still not interested. Oh, good. Now she's screaming. I just took a kick to the get the idea.

She's gotten better about the whole thing, but it's mentally exhausting to have to use so much psychology to get her to lie down willingly so that I can have the great honor of wiping her butt. We have to warn her, prepare her, give her little tasks along the way to make her feel like she's helping. It's quite taxing.

So, yesterday, when she announced she'd like to go potty while we were running errands, I took the bait. And, I took it with gusto. I whisked her to Target where I explained the concept of Pull-Ups to her. I know many experts say to skip these and go straight to underwear, but she's clearly not there yet, and I wanted to ride the momentum I thought we were gaining. So, as I'm explaining how she gets to pull them up and down herself "Just like underwear!" she spots the Toy Story pack and says "How 'bout Woody and Buzz?" Sure! Sure thing! Let's get them! Now let's go pick out a potty!

Charlotte's pediatrician recommended the seats that rest on top of a toilet seat. She said they are softer than most potties and that many kids like to feel that they are using a grown up potty. So, we went down another aisle where Charlotte agonized for a few minutes over her choices before finally settling on a Sesame Street cushion.

The whole ride home I was trying to pump up the excitement. Lots of "You're gonna use the potty! Hooray! And you'll get jellybeans! (Yes, jellybeans. I don't want to hear it.) And you're gonna wear Woody and Buzz Pull-Ups! Yeah! Best day ever!"

We get home, and I immediately begin setting everything up, still chattering with excitement over the momentous occasion that was about to take place. When, all of a sudden, I stop talking long enough to hear some very obvious grunting. I leaped into action. "Charlotte, are you pooping?" No answer. "Why don't you poop on the potty so you can get jellybeans?" "Okay!" Except we were too late. And for the rest of the day whenever she would agree to sit on the potty, she'd say "Pee, pee. Jellybeans, now!" I explained that she had to pee "for real" to get jellybeans. "Pee for real! Jellybeans!" "Um, no." She pressed on: "Pooping, pooping. Jellybeans!" This wasn't working.

When it was time to take her soaked Pull-Up off and replace it with a new one she requested "No Pull-Up. Just diaper."

Yeah, we're done. Son of a bitch.


  1. Dude, I am seriously dying over here!!!

    Okay, now that I'm done laughing... Bribery is a good place to start. I mean, I guess. IDK. When we potty-trained Midget we used Brite Crawlers as rewards. Munchkin is kindasorta interested in the potty, but she just doesn't really have the control yet. The best part is that when she stalls at bedtime she will randomly yell, "I have to go PEE-PEE!"

    As for diapers versus pull ups, don't even give her the option. Phase out the diapers until all you're left with are pull-ups and then be like, "If you don't agree to wear these your daddy and I won't love you as much."

    That shit works wonders.

  2. You should write a book on this stuff, man!

    Yeah, the stalling thing kills me. Tonight she asked to sit on the potty to avoid the bath. And she sat there for twenty minutes before giving up. I was so hoping she'd go so I could give her the damn jellybeans and get her excited about it. Nothing. And then we skipped the bath in favor of a reasonable bedtime. She won that round.

  3. We haven't started training seriously yet, but I get the feeling it is the sort of thing that is super-funny when you read someone else's account, but when you have to do it yourself...not so much. :)

    I have to give her credit for fake-peeing, though. She's a smart cookie. The most I can get E to do is go to the bathroom, take off his diaper, and...pee on the floor.

  4. I read somewhere once that whether you torture yourself or don't makes no difference. So I vote for not torturing yourself. Which is more torture? Changing diapers OR arguing, bribing, cajoling, and wiping up pee 24/7?

    Also. Hilarious post, as only potty training posts can be.

    I am in a similar boat except that my kid just turned 3. But he is stubborn like several generations of my family and I know that any push will result in blowback so I am biding my time and trying to really, truly believe that he will do it when he's ready.

    He has been watching potty videos and reading potty books and observing his brother use the bathroom for a year. We have three potties and one squishy seat. He is physically more than ready. But emotionally, no, and I fear fucking with that. I don't want to force him to do anything he isn't ready to do because, having pushed too hard with his brother, I know that it might be faster in the short run (ie: no diapers) but it is still a process the kid has to come to on his own (ie: I still have to bribe/threaten/cajole the older kid to go pee or else I have to wash his pants every night. Which is just as annoying as diapers.)

  5. I guess this wouldn't be the time to remind you that you weren't potty trained until you were three. And it was causing a serious rift in our relationship. On the bright side, once you got on board, we did the "Potty Training in Less Than a Day" book, and that's how long it took. (And a bag of M&Ms.)

  6. That is hilarious. I agree it's good to give them their time, but a little pushing doesn't hurt either! :) Try the potty chart and rewards.. It could work! I love hexlex's idea. haha.. I don't have much to add, I was so very fortunate with my first born, I've vowed to stop with one, because really?! There is no way you can get that lucky TWICE! (not me anyways) Good luck lady! Keep us posted!

  7. @Perpetua- I actually found this whole day completely hilarious, aggravating as it was. And, man if I had a nickel for every time she has peed on the floor...

  8. @Clara- Yeah, I hear you. And I'm actually not stressing about it. I'm weary of the diapers, yes. Especially now that we're going on three months of her pooping every single time I take her out. I'm not exaggerating. We could just be running to Target for ten minutes, and she will poop while we're out. I can't even tell you how many diapers I've changed while crouching on a filthy restroom floor because there isn't a changing table. It's like every day.

    I digress. I don't think I was really expecting it to work. I just didn't want to ignore a possible cue of readiness and then later wonder if I missed a chance at this. But, clearly she's not ready. And I'm okay with that. She knows the option is there, and she'll let me know when she's ready. I'm not pushing it anymore, at all, especially because I actually DON'T think she's physically ready, after some observation.

  9. Mom- Three? Damn. Sorry about that.

  10. @Doria- I definitely get the appeal of quitting while you're ahead! We're just gluttons for punishment, I guess. :)

    We tried the chart a couple months ago, but I don't think she understood the concept. Maybe when we start this back up again, I'll bust it out, and she'll get into it.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  11. I'm with you. We've now been trying for 8 or 9 months, and as each month goes by, I think/thought, "Oh, no! Now she'll be 3 when we have a kid." At this point she'll be at least 3.5. Every squeak or rumble my body has I think, "Am I pregnant?!"

  12. @Marlena- Oh, I'm so sorry that you're going through that. I had no idea. I honestly think that trying to get pregnant is one of the most stressful things ever. At least it always was for me.

    But, you know, maybe we're making too much of the age difference. I have a friend whose girls are four years apart, and she swears it's the greatest thing ever. And just think of all the time our first borns are getting us all to themselves!

    I don't know. It sucks to have to worry about it. Especially when it seems so easy for other people sometimes. But, I'm sure in the end we will both have the family of our dreams. :)