Friday, March 21, 2008

Potty chronicles

I was, like, totally jealous when I read Sarah's blog last week about potty training Olivia. I've been working at this with Beth for what seems like forever (my very first blog post was about one of her first steps toward potty training), and she's almost three, and let's just say it's been a long road. We've offered bribes: a sticker for every time she sits on the potty, and a chocolate chip (or an M&M, if they're in the house) for anything that happens whilst she's sitting. I've told her that she can't go to preschool if she's still wearing diapers, and we've had discussions about the fact that her birthday is coming up and three is really too old to wear diapers. For the past several weeks I've been putting her in thick cotton training pants every morning (and sometimes after naps), but we've had several accidents and I was too chicken to let her wear them while glued to the TV for her daily Sesame Street. We even picked out a package of Elmo underwear and I told her if she went a whole day going on the potty every time she could start wearing Elmo instead of the training pants.

Yeah, yeah. Nothing doing.

And then on Monday, something clicked over. I had her in underwear in the morning (she sat on a towel on the couch during her morning Muppetfest) and then made a move to change her into a diaper so we could run some errands.

"No, I wanna weaw undahweaw."

I considered this, figured that we might make it to one store and back, had her go potty, and then ran both girls down to the car. An adventure! We'll see if Beth can make it for the next hour and a half without an accident! And she'll tell me if she needs to go!

Two blocks from home, I came to my senses. We were going to be on the turnpike, where Beth regularly falls asleep. And neither one of us could be responsible for what happened then. I pulled over and changed her into a diaper, and she spent the rest of the (sleepless) drive lamenting the fact that I'd taken away her undahweaw.

I struck a bargain with her. "Bethie, if you can keep your diaper dry all the way to the store, I'll change you back into underwear. Okay?"

"Okay." Which she did, and I did, and we had the usual tell-Mommy-if-you-need-to-go-potty talk, and then three minutes later she said, "Uh-oh" and peed all over the floor.

(If you're reading this and you don't have kids and you've been wondering what it's really like to raise 'em, THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE. Sure, there are times when the chubby little arms go around your neck and you hear "I wuv you, Mommy" and feel a soft cheek against yours, but let's face it: it's hand-to-hand combat every single day.)

I'm bugged about this (Mommies are supposed to be patient!), but I totally lost it. I told her how disappointed I was in her, how sad it was that she'd had an accident in a store, I put her in a diaper (fortunately she was wearing a skirt, so I didn't have to change her pants), and after cleaning up her mess and making our quick purchases we went home. Okay, we stopped at McDonald's on the way, but we went home. While we were driving I told her that she's already wearing the biggest diapers they make (size 5, and I know it's not technically true, but if Costco doesn't carry them we won't be buying them) and it was high time she started going on the potty instead of using a diaper.

I don't know which part of this sunk in, but something did. On Tuesday she lasted the whole day (except for naptime, of course, and she'll give up the nap before I'll hold her to it) in training pants, so Wednesday (huzzah!) we broke out the Elmo underwear. Now the refrain around the house is this:

"Bethie, do you need to go potty?"

"No I don't! I didn't say it!" — meaning that she'll tell me when she needs to go, and I can butt out.

Haven't had an accident since. She's told me every time she needs to go. We've gone visiting teaching, we've gone to gymnastics class, we've had friends over for playdates. I put a diaper on her last night when Kiersten was going to watch her between the time I left for a Relief Society party and the time Scott got home after class, and she asked Kiersten to take the diaper off so she could go potty. (I love this.) We've all been telling her how proud we are of her. Today's Day 4 of the Age of Dry, and I'm thrilled. (So is Beth, by the way.)

Now that I've praised my kid...there's one tiny little detail that I'd rather forget, but I know at some point I'll go back and laugh about it. (Warning: if you're easily grossed out, and especially if what you've just read has been too much for you, just close your browser now and go turn on the TV. You'll be happier.)

Ever since Monday, Beth has taken off all her clothes during her rest/nap time if and only if she has a wet or poopy diaper. I think she's finally realized that she's more comfortable in dry pants, and she's been trying to get to the diaper to get it off her skin. Fortunately, she's stopped at the diaper...until today, when she dug a few little balls of poop out of the diaper and left them in her bed. All together now: "Ewwwwwww!" We had a little chat about that. We also stripped her bed, washed the sheets, and had another chat about leaving our clothes on.


Sarah Kay said...

YAY for the potty! We're still having good days and bad, but there are more good days. At least she didn't pee on Mendy's furniture this time 'round VTing.


Jen Stanford said...

Libby, I am sure you are one of the sanest and most level-headed mothers out there. You are my heroine!

Rebecca said...

Way to go Beth! It's hard work for mom's and kids alike! Way to go Mom!

Brooke said...

Sooooooo jealous. Eleanor -- who used to be really good about letting us know when a poopy was on the way -- is in full revolt against the idea now.

When we bring up the topic, she says "I'll wear underwear and use the potty when I'm three." That's in two weeks.

If I press the issue, she'll scream, grab the underwear, and throw it across the room.