Sunday, September 18, 2005


If I had to pick my most dreaded aspect of motherhood, it would be potty-training. I have feared it for years. It probably stems back to my childhood, when it seems as though there was always someone in my house being trained (I'm the oldest of 10). It was practically a phobia.

In early August, I decide to try seriously with S., age 2 and 9 months. I had made a few feeble attempts before, but had no success whatsoever. By the way, don't waste your money on those potty chairs that play music when the kid performs. It only takes a 2 year old about 10 seconds to discover that there are other much easier ways to hear the song. It didn't take me long to remove the batteries, and tell S. that it didn't work anymore. Also, those disposables with the wetness liner didn't work for her either. She was willing to put up with it. You gotta get the real underpants.

So, having discussed this with my daughter in the previous days, I was as ready as I could be for what I knew would be a challenge. I made a large, decorated potty chart. I had stickers and lemonade. I had mini candy bars. I had a doll that pees. I had a video with songs such as, "She's a Super-Duper Pooper." Basically I just took away the diapers away, and stayed home all week. We watched movies together and read books. That first week was so awful for me, mostly emotionally. I can't stand being cooped up in the house all the time, but I didn't want to confuse her by putting Pull-ups on her to go out. I hated trying to keep her on the potty. She could hold it almost all day long, but I didn't figure that out for a few days, so I was constantly paranoid that she was going to go on my furniture or rugs. Basically, I was a nervous wreck. After one week, there were only two stickers on the chart. The sink was constantly full of wet training pants.

Finally, I relaxed a bit. S. learned that she had to sit on a towel if she wanted to sit on the sofa! By the second week she had a few more successes, but not more than one a day, because she would hold it in until the afternoon. I never could get her to drink very much. By the third week, it clicked. She is now quite well-trained in the peepee department. She will even come in from playing outside to go, and is so proud of herself. She has stopped holding it. Half the time she forgets to ask for her treat, which in any case we are weaning her off of. We downgraded her from the candy bars to chocolate kisses to gummy bears.

Beware if you have a younger child. Three times S. has done her business, and not told me (isn't that great she's so independent?). Well, K. crawled over and was playing in the pee before I realized what was going on! Horrors! Now S. knows that she has to tell me!

Anyway, I am so happy at the progress she has made. (Number 2 is another story. Currently she waits til she has her bedtime diaper on to poop.) I know that many experts say not to push a kid; let them do it when they are ready. But I was tired of paying for all those diapers, and knowing her personality, she may have held out until the age of four. So I don't regret it, although that first week was brutal.

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