Monday, April 4, 2016

ISO professional potty trainer

And just like that a month has passed since my last post. When last I wrote I mentioned the possibility of a post dedicated to Summy Potty Training Skills. I put out that teaser and then left my 3 readers hanging. Like a Grey's Anatomy season finale cliff hanger. Right?!? Well get out your popcorn cause here it is. I know this is going to go down as one of the most helpful and inspiring "how-to" parenting blog posts in history....or not.

Let me start by saying. God bless the potty training parents of the world. It is an ugly business. All the bad emotions and inner demons come out during this time. And not just from the toddlers. We are all doing this and we all feel each other's pain. Some more than others.

I should also say, in an effort to not completely harp on my first world problems, Thank you Lord that we have toilets that require training to use. I have seen pictures of what people in less developed societies have to use as their "facilities" and it just makes me want to cry for them. Our toilets are a blessing and a gift from God and therefore should be approached with respect. (Side note: There is something to think about ladies the next time you are on your knees scrubbing that blessed gift and wanting to curse your precious son because, while he has perfect aim with a nerf gun, somehow his aim is less than perfect when and where it counts.) Where was I?

Ah yes. Approach that throne with respect. This is the exact point I have been trying to make to my 3 year old for months now. Does she respect the toilet? Absolutely not. In fact, I think she truly believes there is a horrific poop eating monster living in it. That is the only logical explanation for the wailing and gnashing of teeth that come with every suggestion that she might want to try and potty before bed/dinner/snack/school/nap. Every time. Every day.

The Battleground

Now if you know me personally you have heard my feelings on potty training. I am not shy about it. This is my 3rd child to go through this with and I still hate it. I have no skills. No knowledge. No tricks of the trade. This is an ugly dirty battle and sadly each of my children have fought this battle very differently. Every time I want to just wave the white flag and surrender. I find myself thinking, "They are doing amazing things with Pull Ups these days. Some of those nighttime pants go up to like 60lbs. Darling child, if you want to go to Middle School wearing soggy Depends.... be my guest." While I'm perfectly fine buying stock in Pull Ups, my husband (the constant voice of reason) is not keen on the idea of letting them just naturally transition from child diapers to adult diapers.... so potty training it is.

There are a couple schools of thought on this issue. I have many friends that prefer the "boot camp" method. This is where you just put underwear on an unsuspecting toddler and all hunker down for a week until the kid manages to keep himself dry. I do know that works for some. And possibly could for me, but I am much too lazy for that plan of attack. That takes hard core mental focus to stay on task everyday and then there's all the cleaning up after the accidents. I would lose it and the authorities would take my children away from me.

I prefer the more lazy, haphazard approach of pull ups/training pants. As in, you CAN use them as underwear and I would love for you to go to the potty and practice pulling them up and down on your own. But lets be real, you are gonna pee in it like a diaper out of spite and thankfully my couch will be saved when you do so. However, even with this method there comes a time when you have to "poop or get off the pot" (pun intended, obviously). This is where we are. We have been coasting along with pull ups for long enough and now its time to rip off the band-aid and go straight to underwear. And guys, we are so close. Really we are. But this is when I start flailing. I have no plan. She knows it and I know it. I've tried everything.

1. Encouragement - "Yay! hip hip hooray! Louisa pee'ed in the potty! High five!!" Then there are songs and clapping. She liked this at first, but then she started looking at me with pity. You know, like she was embarrassed for me.

2. Bribery - We have potty charts that you get stickers every time you go. And not lame old school star stickers. No way.... Sofia the First stickers. And when you get 10 Sofia stickers you get a treat. And if you poop... well then we drop everything and go get ice cream. She lost interest in the stickers after 2 days. And then we moved on to suckers for every successful trip to the potty. That seems to be a hit at least for "number 1". BUT, In 4 months we have been to the ice cream shop once. One time. Last week. Im so tired.
I fully support bribery. This is no time to be taking the moral high road of parenting.
It's every man for himself.

3. Entertainment - This is when things start to get a little weird. But honestly Im desperate. To keep her on the toilet for longer than 3 seconds I have to get creative. Sometimes I sing or dance. There have been times when I stand on my head or cross my eyes and promise to stay that way until she pees (or until I get a horrible headache which ever comes first.) Usually we recite the ABCs or count to 20 or I get real smart and say "what's that? did you hear that? listen and see if we hear it again." It really is embarrassing.

4. Shame - Ok so, this is the point when we have both lost the will to live. I have nothing left to give and have moved so far past desperate that I crack. I start saying things like "Do you really want to be the ONLY kid in your class that doesn't go to the potty?" or "Oh well, I guess you are still a baby and we will just have to go back to real diapers." I know, I know. Im a horrible mom. But you guys don't know! You weren't there! She just looks at you with cold dead eyes and says "i don't care". She is like a gangster. Nothing rattles her.

5. Anger - enough said. Emotions run high. It gets loud. And then we must go to our separate corners. Tomorrow is a new day. Put a diaper on, say "i love you",  and get thee to bed. Mama needs a coke and chocolate.

It's all good. We will make it. We have done it before. We have already been that family with the almost 4 year old in diapers doing the walk of shame to the church nursery to be changed. It's super humbling, but it will pass. And one day when she is 16 and I am telling all her friends about these memories we will have a great laugh (well she may not... but you know payback can be rough).

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