Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Potty training is for the dogs

In my adult life, I've potty trained two dogs. And, yeah, I know parenting a human isn't quite the same thing as dogs but I have seen some VERY similar parallels (SPIT THAT OUT. DON'T LICK THAT. GET DOWN.) so I had hoped my successful canine track record might translate to a toddler.

It didn't.

I know, shocking, right?

Kate has had a potty in her bathroom for the last six months or so. She goes on it every night before bed, and sometimes during the day if she thinks of it, or if mommy is trying to go to the bathroom (HELLO CHILD, GOODBYE PRIVACY). So I'm all, "Kate is TOTALLY ready for potty training" and the universe is all, "HAHAHAHA, LAUGHING MY ASS OFF!"

We decided to get started on this little project yesterday. In preparation, we purchased some pull-ups, some big-girl panties and I made... wait for it... this little jewel of craftiness (don't be jealous, I'll TOTALLY make you one of these for your birthday, what color glitter do you like?):
If you can't read it, it says "Kate's Potty" which was supposed to be "Kate's Potty Chart" but I ran out of room and didn't have the time, patience or give-a-damn to create a second sticker/glitter chart. Especially because Kate CAN'T READ.
The whole idea was that every time Kate went on the potty, she would get stickers for everything she did right (i.e. wiping, flushing, washing hands). I read this strategy online, and even got the template for the chart, so NO, I didn't make this shit up. Which means, it should totally work, right?


It started out fine. She went potty first thing in the morning and we put on a "big girl diaper" (pull-up). But a toddler in training is like a ticking time bomb, so I found myself asking her every ten minutes if she had to go potty, and I swear, at some point she started rolling her eyes. After her first little accident where she TOLD me she didn't have to go, but went in her pull-up anyways, I decided to up the ante... I offered her CANDY if she would go on the potty. So about every five minutes she was running to the potty seat and STRAINING to get a little water to come out, followed by sticking her adorable (but greedy) little hand into my face for her promised candy. Like, NOW. Okaaaay, so that backfired a little, but at least she didn't pee on my sofa again.

Today I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the potty again. But, VERY quickly I realized another full day at home chained to a potty was not going to go well. For me. Because I was tired of playing pretend with Kate's dolls, especially since they had such a limited vocabulary (we covered breakfast, lunch, dinner, clothes, hair, favorite playgrounds, the Easter Bunny and bubbles. And that is where Kate and her doll ran out of topics so we would start all over. About 500 times. And frankly, I can only talk about eggs, slides and hot dogs so many times in one hour).

I decided to take Kate out to the playground to burn some energy and get away from those devil dolls. Once there, she immediately pooped and then peed in two different "big girl diapers" while never giving any indication that she needed to go to the potty. Back at the house she has been good again, going on the potty when asked to, but since I filched on the whole candy promise (due to her overzealous candy-related urination), she STILL isn't indicating when her bladder might be full.

So tell me, oh wise women (and men) how does this all work? Do I need to become a mind (er, bladder) reader? Keep on beating my head against the wall for a few more days to see if she comes around? Or take my favorite action, pretend this all never happened, call this a failed experiment and chalk it up to... MAYBE she LIKES going in her diaper and I should just leave her the hell alone? You know, at least until high school?
I can't help but feel she is mocking me and my "potty chart" in this picture. But then again, she is all hopped up on candy so she could just be a little over-excited.


K. Elizabeth said...

Every kid is different, but I'll tell you what we did and see if any of it helps. By the way, my Sara is 2 1/2 and will be 3 in October and is so far, an only child. (I've heard it's a little harder for first children)

Okay, so Sara had tried to go potty on the little potty a few times, but nothing ever came out. The day we started officially potty training, first thing in the morning I put panties on her. Then, I took her favorite doll and taught her how to go on the potty. Sara was so excited her doll learned how to go on the potty, she wanted to try. So she sat on the toilet a few times with no luck. I needed to take a shower, so with the water running, Sara started holding herself like she needed to go. I immediately put her on the potty and she went. Success!

Then she got a little nervous and didn't like it so she started holding it for HOURS. I left her in panties and asked her to just 'try' to sit on the potty. We did a few times, but she was still holding it. She held it until I put on her 'princess panties' (pull-ups) for naptime. She woke up from her nap with a wet pull up. Right after naps, the panties went back on. At one point, she didn't want to put them on, so she just ran around naked. Who cares, right? She held it again all afternoon until bedtime. (yes, 6 hours). The next day, same thing, we started with the doll and she wanted to teach the doll this time. She did great. Then I said, "Do you want to go pee pee on the potty like your doll?" And of course, she did. By day 3, we went to Target. As soon as we got there, I took her to the bathroom. She didn't need to go, but at least she knew it was there. Just before we were about to leave she said she needed to go and she did. I figured at that point, we were good. From the very beginning she only had 1 accident and it was my first day back at the gym. I think she was nervous to tell someone else she needed to go.

As for the sticker chart... Sara got 1 sticker for pee and 2 stickers for poop. After 5 stickers, she got to pick a toy out of her toy back (just a bunch of random dollar toys from the dollar spot at Target). And each time she successfully peed or pooped on the toilet, she got to choose a small candy (like a skittle or M&M) from her candy jar. She loved counting her stickers to see how many she had.

It's now been a month and we have no problems. I only use pull-ups at night and nap times, but she almost always wakes up dry now that she can control her bladder.

The biggest thing I learned is that when I was excited about it, she was too. And if she is stubborn and holds it like Sara did, I just went with it. Eventually she would HAVE to go and then we could deal.

But good luck! Feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions: And sorry for the novel of a response. ;) Hope it helps!

K. Elizabeth said...

Oh, I almost forgot... sorry... I got one of those little seats that sits on the regular toilet. Sara's is Dora from Target. She liked that better than the little potty b/c it was like how I do it and I used the little potty as a step stool instead. Okay - I'm done now.

Nikki - Lilybug_Designs said...

Well you know I resorted to bribery. Princess shoes did the trick for us. :) But seriously, Lily never did well with pull ups or underwear while potty training. We let her run around with just a dress on and that way she knew if she needed to go. For some reason she wouldn't pee on my floor if she didn't have bottoms on. After a few days she figured it out and she was potty trained.

Lucy The Valiant said...

Oh, I FEAR potty training. A lot. People keep asking when my two year old is going to start potty training and I keep punching them in the face. Not really. Maybe.

The Running Family said...

I'm not help. My first was potty trained in like one week, I swear. My second...well we're still working on that. She pees but that number two is a tricky little #$@%ARD and my # two I don't mean my child.