So life with a toddler and a baby is, as expected, insane. But the previous level of insanity reached a new level of crazy this weekend when we decided to potty train G.
Backtrack a second. We actually decided to potty train her like, three months ago, but we went about it in the way that I go about everything: half-assed. And you cannot half-ass potty training. You must whole-ass potty training. Ass-and-a-half, even. Prior to Friday, G had peed on the potty ONCE successfully and it was after my mom sat with her on the potty for an hour and a half with stickers. I had gone to Toys R Us around her second birthday and bought a potty for on the toilet, and a portable seat for when we went out. I switched her to pull-ups, and occasionally I’d ask if she needed to go to the potty, but that was it. I was doing basically nothing, but at the same time I was frustrated because it wasn’t working. So I went and bought an elmo stand-alone potty. I had sticker books, special search-and-find books and a renewed determination to… do exactly the same amount of nothing.
Four months pass. I get no sleep. Daycare will only support what I already have in place, but wont potty train her for me (the nerve of them, refusing to parent my child and making me do it), and the after-daycare hours are so crazy that seriously I blinked and those four months were gone. MY plans to have her potty trained before the snow was wiped out by both my own inaction and Edmonton’s early snowfall (which has trapped me in the house like some sort of domestic version of The Revenant).
But wait! Here comes a three day weekend! Didn’t my mother-in-law tell me that it only takes three days to potty train a toddler if you dont let them wear pants?! PERFECT! So when Friday rolls around, we get G from her room and… take her pants away. At first, she was really upset because she loves her pants (they have cats on them. Cats. I’m such a dog person and my kid freaking love cats. I think it’s evidence that she’s already going to be a rebellious teenager) and then, when we slowly tried to take her pull-ups away, things got a bit hairy. See, her pull-ups have “Mickey” (it’s totally Minnie) on them, and it was like we were torturing her by not allowing her to wear them. After a few attempts at distraction, we put a towel on the floor and took out her favourite puzzle, and she thought making “bum marks” on the towel with her penaten-coated rear was hilarious, so we were out of the woods.
Then we hunkered down to wait it out. Everyone has told us that potty-training is the hardest and worst part of parenting, so we were prepared for the worst. We had coffee. We had snacks. We weren’t leaving until she was potty-trained. We set a “tinkle timer” on my phone for 20 minutes. We gave her as much water-diluted apple juice as she could drink (and holy shit can she drink a lot) When the tinkle timer went off, we went to the potty. At first she thought this was a hilarious game, and would hang out on the potty and read her new Richard Scarry word book.
The novelty wore off quickly.
Soon the tinkle timer was a source of mini tantrums, so we turned it off. And it happened! She stood up, looked at me and said “the pee is coming” and we ran to the toilet and it happened! And there was no going back: she didnt have a single accident that first day. We patted ourselves on the back for being such exceptional parents.
I spent the entire day in the bathroom on Saturday. I Swear. She had tasted success (it tasted like watered down apple juice, I assume) and wanted more. Now she got her big girl underwear (it has Paw Patrol characters on it so we sing the theme song constantly – or at least the one line from the theme song that I know) and she wasn’t going to risk getting Skye or Marshall “wet.” We did have our first accident, but it was because she was so excited about her puzzle that she didn’t want to go to the bathroom, so she peed a little while working on it. But she told me right away and we went to the potty and it was all golden.
Sunday was the real test.
On Sunday, we left the house. We went to dance class in the morning – no accidents. We had our first legitimate accident at a restaurant that night when she told me she had to go and I let her leave the bathroom before she had gone to the bathroom (my fault, but seriously Tony’s Pizza was calling me back to the table!)
So where are we at now?
Well, this sounds like we had an incredibly successful weekend and, honestly, I would say that’s true. We bonded a lot, she learned to tell me when she has to go to the bathroom, and it seems like she’s really got this when we are at home.
She does not want to use the potty at daycare. It means that she has to stop playing to go, and they are spread too thin to set a 20 minute tinkle timer, or sit with her on the potty for 40 minutes waiting for her to pee, and I get it. But it’s undermining the process for sure.
And she does NOT have it together for naps/bedtime. That will be a big issue going forward, and I have no idea how to approach it. She can’t get out of her room on her own, and we don’t have the kind of monitor in her room where we can hear her all the time – we use a Nest cam, so we can open it on our phones to see her, but it’s not like we would hear her saying she needs to use the potty unless we HAPPENED to be watching when she did. So if anyone has any ideas here, I’d love to hear them (and then probably ignore them for like 4 months before I give in and half-ass them…as I do).
And here is the biggest one: we have noticed that during this process, her attachment has gone through the roof. It’s heartbreaking. Beditme and daycare time have gone through a HUGE regression since Friday. I know we just have to ride it out, but it’s awful in the meantime, and it’s going to get worse because I’m a masochist and I’m going to start sleep-training L right away here… ugh why.
AND (whiney rant coming)
GOD I ALREADY MISS DIAPERS.
I know. I know. Who MISSES diapers?? ME! I DO! Do you know what I hate more than cleaning my toddler’s poopy butt? Sitting on the ground in a public toilet for fourty minutes waiting for her to poop and then STILL HAVING TO WIPE HER POOPY BUTT! She’s GONE MAD WITH POWER! She knows that I have to run with her to the potty if she says she has to go, AND SHE’S ABUSING THE TINY MODICUM OF POWER SHE HAS BEEN GIVEN! This kid should NEVER be allowed to hold a position of authority – it WILL corrupt her!
Next up: sleep training. I know there are a lot of opinions about it out there, but I’m going to talk about my experiences and opinions in my next post. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your experiences with potty-training and what has worked for you!