Potty Training Under Threat of Mortal Punishment

My three year old is finally potty trained.

I’m so excited I just don’t even know what to do with myself!

Potty training has been a hell of an ordeal- quite possibly my biggest motherhood challenge to-date.

Frustratingly, my daughter got the hang of it and knew what a potty was, as well as its proper use pretty early- the problem lay in getting her to utilize it consistently.

The whole thing was a game for her. She’d wake up one day proclaiming, “Mommy, I am not your baby anymore” which meant she was going to go pee pee on the potty. She’d do a great job- for days at a time- and just when I was beginning to breathe that sigh of relief, and dare to hope I would never have to buy any more diapers, she’d change her mind.

Suddenly she’d announce, “I’m your baby now”… and promptly pee all over herself.

Yuck.

I’d throw my hands in the air, grit my teeth, clean up the mess and yank my child into yet another pair of pull-ups.

This had been going on for the better part of six months, and has been absolutely maddening. I’ve tried everything from positive reinforcement to desperately pleading with her, to all-out bribery. Once, I bought her a package of Dora the Explorer undies and told her that she cannot go pee pee on Dora- or else Dora will be very sad and cry. My daughter didn’t believe me, and set out to prove me wrong. After immediately peeing all over Dora, she looked at me and said, “See Mom? Dora’s not crying”.

Ugh.

I was becoming a bit unhinged over this, and at her most recent checkup begged her pediatrician for some guidance. There’s gotta be a pill or something they can prescribe to make a kid suddenly want to use the damn toilet, right?

Apparently not.

Further, I’m doubtful the woman has any children of her own.

After doing a horrible job of hiding her amusement at my child’s thriving manipulation skills, the doc’s advice was to merely be patient. She told me the worst thing I could do is rush my daughter or discipline her for having an accident.

“Children have their own priorities and she will decide in her own time whether or not she’s ready”.

Whatever.

Times are tough, and diapers are expensive. If she can manage to be a “big girl” for days at a time then she’s smart enough to do it consistently- and permanently.

I’m on a budget, dammit!

So last week I sat my daughter down and very calmly told her in no uncertain terms that effective immediately, she is now potty trained.

Period.

There may even have been a threat involved… but regardless, I am happy to report that she got the message loud and clear.

Now, several days later, my daughter has been in nothing but big-girl panties, and has had zero accidents.

She’s even managed to make it through the nights without any mishaps, and we have successfully maneuvered more than one trip outside of the home.

I must say I am quite satisfied with myself.

I do realize now that I’ve recorded my ordeal, etching it permanently in cyberspace, I’ve probably just jinxed myself.

Oh well. At least she’s headed to her dad’s house for the upcoming week…

Sigh.

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6 thoughts on “Potty Training Under Threat of Mortal Punishment

  1. My daughter is on a similar road. She knows how to use the potty, and does it well. But then you actually put her in the underwear, and *poof*. All those lessons in being aware of having to pee? GONE.

    Donovan was 3 when he finally learned to use the potty. I think I’ll be on track if Vivi is ready by her birthday after Christmas.

    *knocks on wood* Good luck!

  2. You did just what I wouldve done. No more diapers!! Even if she does have an accident, and she will! She will figure out pretty quickly that the safety net is gone. Remove them from the house completely. Just make sure you have the change of clothes handy for a while. Love Ya, D.L.

  3. We feel your pain and frustration!

    Here’s something the diaper companies don’t want you to know: babies will potty train at the age at which PARENTS expect them to.

    Before disposable diapers, 95% of all babies in the US were potty trained by 18 months. Today, the average age for potty training is 37 months and we don’t reach the 95% mark until 46 months.

    So why has this happened? We’ve been told that it is best to “wait until our babies are ready” to potty train. This sounds like great advice, but realize that some of the well-known pediatricians who advocate this approach work for diaper-company sponsored institutes.

    So parents take this advice and then they wait – at least until age 2. But that’s exactly when babies naturally start to exert their own will and become less cooperative. (They don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing!) Then, when preschool deadlines loom and the habit of eliminating in a diaper is firmly entrenched, we expect that potty training will proceed smoothly because surely our 3-year old is finally “ready”. When the battle of wills ensues, weary parents are often left wondering where things went wrong.

    Today, it is still the norm for babies around the world to be potty trained by 12-18 months, sometimes sooner. Are American babies physically different? It stands to reason that our babies ARE fully capable of potty training before 2.

    The biggest challenge for potty training a preverbal baby is lack of communication – they don’t have a way to TELL parents when they feel the urge to pee or poop. And that’s where signing come in.

    Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn, child development experts and creators of the Baby Signs Program, have a new program that helps parents apply the power of signing to potty training. The program has undergone extensive field testing and the results are amazing. Parents are excited about the YEARS worth of diaper money they are saving, but they are even more excited about the enormous sense of pride and accomplishment their babies experience as they take this huge step toward becoming a “big kid.”

    Using sign language to facilitate early potty training is a great alternative to consider, especially when it holds the promise of being easier for parent, and good for babies’ self esteem – not to mention the environmental benefits of putting fewer diapers in the landfill.

    If you know of anyone with a younger child who can benefit from this information, they can watch a quick video at http://www.PottyTrainWithBabySigns.com.

    Best wishes,
    Linda Easton
    Director of Product Development
    Baby Signs, Inc.

  4. The “I’m your baby now” line cracked me up. She was just messin’ with you!!

    I love the fact that you essentially threw the gauntlet down and by sheer force of will, you won! Good for you! This gives me hope for my 15 month old, who already laughs in my face anytime I tell him no.

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