|I swear, I only mentioned it once... maybe twice. |
Three times, tops.
photo credit - http://some.ly/peOw6S
Yeah, I know. Big deal, Terese. B is your second child. B is a girl. Second born girls are easy to potty train because they just watch their older sisters and copy them. That's what they say, right? Well, that's what they said to me when I expressed how NOT easy it was to potty train my second born daughter. Truth be told, I didn't potty train my first born daughter, S. I was working full time when she was that age and the daycare did all the hard work. They told me they felt S was ready to start potty training. They told me to get her some training pants. They introduced her to the potty. They set her schedule. S would come home and tell me when she needed to use the potty. It took a while for her to graduate from training pants to big girl underpants, especially at night, but eventually, she mastered it.
So about a year ago, when other mothers were talking about their adventures in potty training their kids at age 2, I decided it was time to give it a go with B. I pulled out S's old training potty. It was a Winnie the Pooh potty. Yes, I giggled at the name, too. I purchased some training pants (Pull Up's.) I set up a chart to track her progress with stickers. Guess what? B wasn't interested. She didn't want to potty train. I remember hearing that you should not get upset if your child does not want to use the potty at first. Leave the little potty chair where she can see it. Eventually, she'll want to use it.
For the next year, the sticker chart stayed bare. The Pooh potty sat in the corner of our hall bathroom, collecting dust. I continued to purchase diapers. I repeated my mantra, It will happen one day. I re-introduced the concept of potty training every month. B rejected it every time. At one point, when I asked her why she didn't want to use the potty, she told me she loved her diapers. At $20 a box, this terrified me. B would get very mad if I brought up the subject. Fearful of screwing up my kid, I didn't nag her about potty training. On the outside, I was easy going about the whole situation. Eh, it'll happen before she leaves for college. If not, she can buy her own diapers then. In my mind, however, I obsessed about it. All I thought about was potty training. I would dream about potty training. I would secretly not like other moms who had potty trained kids B's age or younger. I would search the Internet late at night, looking for advice and training tips. I asked others how they trained their child. I tried every trick in the book. It didn't matter what I did, B did not bend.
The one thing that really drove me crazy was when people would ask about her potty training progress. But, they wouldn't ask me. They would ask her.
So B, why are you still wearing diapers?
B, why don't you use the potty like your big sister?
B! You're not potty trained yet?
Why hasn't your MOMMY potty trained you yet?
Here's a public service announcement, folks. Don't do that. It's not a fun party conversation. It puts the mother and the child on the spot. Especially if you don't know the child or the mother. I don't know how many times some stranger would come up to us while at the grocery store to comment on how awesome my daughter is only to poke and prod about her potty training success, or lack there of. Think of it this way: How would you feel if a stranger came up to you and questioned why you haven't lost those 10 lbs you've been trying to lose lately? I hope you would say, "What's it to you, jackass?!" instead of turning red in the face and say what I said when faced with the potty training question, "We're working on it. Thank you. Have a nice day." Damn politeness. Why do I have to be polite when others are so incredibly rude? Perhaps, I am doing them an injustice by not calling them out on their social indiscretions. Perhaps, I'll address that another time.
Two weeks ago, Thursday morning, B woke up and declared that she wanted to "Ride the Potty Train." Okay. Sure, kid. It's not nice to toy with your mother's heart. I played along. She asked me to put the sticker chart back up on the living room wall. She wanted to wear her Minnie Mouse big girl underpants. She stated very clearly that I was not to talk or ask her about "Riding the Potty Train." I was only there to help her on and off the toilet, assist in the messy wiping jobs, and to make sure her underpants were on correctly. B was going to do this all by herself.
B potty trained like it was her job. The first time she peed, she yelled, "I get a pee sticker, Mommy!" The first time she pooped, she yelled, " I get a poop sticker, Mommy!" I cried. I shed big tears of joy. I was so grateful every time she called me to help her get on the toilet that I swear I skipped to the bathroom. B only had three accidents since she boarded the potty train. We added a new sheet of paper to the potty chart because she covered the first page with stickers. Remember when I talked about my 30-somethingth birthday wish? Well, I got my birthday wish this year. B potty trained. Hell yeah, people. Hell yeah.
|My favorite piece of art in the house.|
Now here comes the lesson part:
B did not potty train until she was ready to potty train. She didn't follow a schedule. She didn't buy into the bribes or the peer pressure. She woke up one morning and decided she was ready. It had nothing to do with me, the Hub, her big sister, that nosy lady at the grocery store, or our family and friends... it was her. The last two weeks, I have cheered and danced like I won the lottery. I proudly displayed B's poop stickers on the wall in the living room, showing them off as if they were Olympic gold medals. I smiled and sighed in relief when we passed the diaper aisle without grabbing a box. But, I can't take the credit. I still don't know how to potty train a child. I have a sneaking suspicion that a child potty trains themselves when they are physically, mentally, and emotionally ready. And that applies to most things in our lives. You can't lose weight until YOU want to lose it. You can't give up an addiction until YOU want to give it up. You can't write the next great American novel until YOU want to write it. You have to want it, want it in the very worst way, so you can find that drive to actually do the hard work to reach your goal. No matter how much other people want it for you, it is your wanting that gets you to your goal. No matter how minor or major the goal is, you have to work for it and you have to want to work for it. The want is what gets you a page of poop stickers on the living room wall.
What is it that you want?