As of tomorrow, Gill and I will have been potty training Evie for one week. During this time, we have discovered some things we didn’t know before. Namely, hardwoods are the way to go and that a toddler can indeed pee her way through 40 pairs of underwear in a day. We’ve also learned that the connection we make between the urge to relieve ourselves and going to the toilet to do it is something we take entirely too much for granted. We have to remind ourselves that Evie doesn’t make that connection. To her, pee-peeing on the potty is merely an option, just like pee-peeing in her diaper or on the living room floor is an option.
During the past week, every time I go to the bathroom I think about Evie. Ain’t that sweet? I wonder if she’s used the potty yet that day. I wonder if I’ve bought enough panties for her. I wonder if it’s wrong to secretly hold the opinion that if they make diapers that will fit a four-year-old (and they do) that it’s totally okay to wait that long to potty train them.
I’ve read a couple of articles on potty training so far, and, like most instructional material on parenting, they all pretty much say the same thing: 1)wait until your child displays readiness signs; 2) get rid of the diapers and use pull-ups and/or real underwear; 3) be patient and encouraging. Hmmm. Like I said, Gill and I have learned a few things this week. Some of those things they might not tell you in Parenting. And lucky you, I’m here to tell you what they are:
1. You must absolutely buy huge bags of Hershey Kisses and lollipops and put them on the topmost shelf of your kitchen cabinet. Then you must sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively (but always shamelessly), dangle said bag in your potty trainee’s face in order to bribe them to pee-pee on the potty. I take a very carrot-and-stick approach to parenting and firmly believe in the “if you do this, I will give you that” philosophy. Judge me if you must, but it works for me. And it definitely works for Evie. She likes it very much.
2. If you’re going to be home for an extended period of time, strip your trainee naked from the waist down. This achieves three main goals: a) quicker butt-to-potty seat access for the trainee; b) less wet underwear and shorts to wash; and c) endless entertainment for both the trainee and the trainers by all-out-running-around-the-house-like-a-crazy-baby-with-my-naked-butt-hanging-out extravaganzas.
3. Pull-ups are just diapers, folks. No. No. They are. Buy real, big-kid underwear. Take the leap. Go ahead. You can do it!
3a. With all the different colors and characters available to today’s big-kid underwear purchaser, the process is actually fun! Yay, Belle and Dora and Toy Story and Spiderman! Oh look — Kai Lan! And Transformers! Cool!
Okay, maybe too much fun. And maybe you should have a night out with your girlfriends.
4. You will get frustrated and exasperated with your trainee. The other morning I sat Evie on the potty no less than nine times before we left the house. She actually used the potty none of those times. She waited until I opened the door to leave the house. Then she peed in her pants. Frustration, thy name is Mommy.
Take a breath. Count to three. Try your best to keep a sense of humor and be patient. Your trainee is trying her best to learn and do what you want her to do. She wants so much to please you.
4a. If you do lose your patience and get all eye-rolley and a “tone”, give yourself a break. You just tried nine times to get your kid to pee. You’re doing your best to teach her. You want so much for her be proud of herself. Do something nice for yourself. Have a bowl of ice cream with some of that chocolate Magic Shell. And some of those peanuts sprinkled over it. And, oh, hey look! There’s wine left!
These tips should get you through. Good luck to you.
And good luck to me. Things are getting weird around my house. Last night I suddenly came upon some poop tucked away in a corner. I looked up and saw both my daughter and my cat pointedly not looking anywhere near my direction. I’m still not sure who to blame.