All Aboard The Potty Train
Choo Choo! Am I right?!
Up until this week, my bloggy for the most part has been concerned with writing, reading, and self-publishing. On Monday, I opened it up a little more to show a piece of my Stay-At-Home Dad world. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my kids in posts past, but this week has been the first peek inside what goes on in this SAHD head. I’m still trying to get a feel for what this bloggy looks like in terms of stories and such, but as I’ve mentioned somewhere along the way, it’s gotta be at least partially about that aspect of my life. Because, for no better reason, it’s the biggest and most important one.
Learning From My Mistakes (I’ve Made A Few)
The girl is a few months from being 4 years old although I tend to call her 3.5. So how is it possible that we’ve been potty training her for 20 years? It’s not? Well that’s what it feels like. We started with a bright and shiny princess potty. As much as she loves her Disney princesses, the potty was a colossal fail. We spent countless weekends and weeknights with our naked child sitting on this thing and looking sad and unmotivated. In retrospect, it was not the best thing we could have done. (A) We started the process much too early. (B) I read, somewhere along the way, that if you use one of those plastic port-o-potties to train your kid, they’ll become accustomed to it and want to use it all the time. Or worse, they’ll become accustomed to pooping in the living room and consequently will never go to the bathroom to do their business. Yikes. (C) Those things are nasty to have to clean. Lucky for us (I guess), she only really was successful with them a handful of times.
Our biggest failure was that we started too early. That’s a no-brainer. I realize that now. We went nuts over trying to help her with this natural human function. I cleaned out more panties than I’d like to admit or remember. Frustrating, frustrating, frustrating. And then the poor girl starts to pick up on how frustrated we were because we did a terrible job of hiding it. And that just makes everything slow down even more. We were stuck in this pattern for a long, long time.
We finally started seeing some progress back in January. She started peeing and (Hallelujah!) even pooping on the potty! Her successes came in spurts though and she still had accidents on a regular basis. I suppose that is par for the course. Then one day, the accidents just stopped. My girl was fully potty trained! Of course, we wouldn’t admit it to ourselves until after a week or two went by. Even then we were reluctant. But after a month, we were convinced, and the “Bye Bye Diapers” song never sounded so good.
Celebrations galore! She was so happy and proud of herself, as were we, of course. And then…
Oh no! There’s an “and then?”
And then, she just stopped. She was bored with the toilet or lazy or I don’t know what. But she was done being a big girl. And before we knew it, she was back in diapers.
Now I know it is a popular opinion that once you make the full switch to panties, you should be extremely cautious and reluctant to regress back into diapers but what other choice did we have? There’s only so many giant turds, smears, and disaster craps you can clean before you lose your ever-loving mind. Alas, we gave up and let her do what she wanted. You can’t force this kind of thing. With toddlers, you can’t force anything. And really, you probably shouldn’t be forcing anything on your children. It’s not a very kind way to parent.
When she did get back on the potty once more, she did so for a few days and then the poor child FELL OFF! Yeah, it was awful. That scared her away, perhaps permanently, we thought. My wife was trying to console her, saying, “It’s OK, honey. You know we all fall off the potty sometimes. I’ve done it, Daddy’s done it…” And I know what she was trying to do. I’m not dense. But I couldn’t help but interject and say, “Speak for yourself! I can’t remember when I’ve ever fallen off the…” My wife darted me a look that said she didn’t appreciate my help so I shut up right quick. Silly Daddy. You know better.
Back In The Saddle Again?
This is all leading up to what I hope is the bright and shining accomplishment. This past weekend, the girl began using the potty again. After all that history, she’s back in the saddle again. Or at least, she has been for four or five days now. When can we call it a raging success? How many months? In the immortal words of The Who, “I won’t be fooled again. Oh no!” And yet, I so want to believe it.
Potty training is tough, man. As hard as it is on the parents, it’s gotta be ten times harder on the kid that’s actually working on the skill. To any parent reading this, if you are in the throes of the battle royale right now, the only advice I can give you is some that I should give myself: try to be as patient as you can. That’s probably solid advice for all other aspects of the job as well.
So no, I’m nowhere near ready to draw out the “Mission Accomplished” banner. But at the same time, I don’t have any desire to go out and buy any more pull ups. She’s running low on them as is. I suppose I’ll break down and get more though. Because this process is never ending.
Update: Just this morning she blasted something fierce into her diaper. Here we go again.
Patience. Breathe. It gets better. Right?