Thursday, April 5, 2012

Potty Training Blues

I've always heard toilet training is one of the hardest skills to teach your children. Even people with very gifted children can have problems. I have what I believe to be the near insurmountable challenge of training my daughter.

I try to not get sucked into the “normal age" idea that people have of when your children should be reaching such and such milestones but I’m starting to feel the pressure of this one. Not because I think that she’s not developing properly but because I am tired of changing shitty diapers. It’s bad enough that I have had to change two small children roughly 5-6 times a day for the past couple years but also for the past decade my job has required me to keep people’s bums clean. If there was some sort of tally system or tracking record in the proverbial place in the sky putting a tick on the board every time I changed a bum that somehow brings me closer to Nirvana I believe my reincarnation days are over.

Even though my daughter is smart, beautiful and a truly unique individual she has unfortunately inherited her father’s stubbornness and procrastination skills. We have used every trick in the books to try to motivate, encourage and coerce her into this next stage of her life but she is digging her heels in like a mule and refusing to budge. There are days when she seems really close and uses the potty every time so we think we’re just about there and then the next day she will be playing and just up and disappear. She’s a hider. Loves to hide in a corner to do her business. We at first thought this was really funny and it’s sometimes a good indicator when you can catch her but at this point I’m not really laughing about it anymore.

Another annoying aspect of potty training is how the kid has learned to use it to her advantage. It is the perfect tool for kids to use to try and get out of doing whatever it is they do not want to do.  When we are having a meal my daughter is not too fussy on. “I have to use the potty.” “Do you…really?” Then there is the times when she's just been put to bed, she's already used the potty, had a bath, a drink, has her favourite toy and it’s “I need to pee on the potty mom.” “You’ve already gone!” “I have to pee on the potty, PLEASE mom!” Sigh.

I’ve also found that using the potty is now a source of entertainment for her. We’ve made the mistake of stocking the bathroom with really cool toys and books to amuse her while she sits and waits to do her business. More often than not the bathroom has become so exciting that I catch her in there reading her books on the floor and her brother is busy sticking his hands in the toilet and scrubbing the walls with the toilet brush. Not to mention the various places in town she has decided it’s fun to go to the bathroom in while we’re out trying to shop or partake in other activities. She for some reason loves the bathroom at the grocery store. It’s a super pain in the arse to take her into that bathroom because it is on the very last aisle when our shopping is just about complete. I have to leave the cart in the hall, fish my purse out from under all the groceries I’ve piled on top of it, yank the baby out of the carriage part and usually by this point my patience level is completely depleted and I just want to get the hell out of there. To make matters worse she NEVER actually goes to the bathroom there, it’s just fun for the little bugger.

Did you know there is an app for that? I actually have three Potty Training applications on my iPhone. There is a potty that calls the kid to remind them of when to go, there are games on the app and even videos for the kids to watch. I have used sticker charts, bribing techniques with presents and treats, learned every potty song and dance they have made, bought her a special potty of her own (which she refuses to sit on), I’ve even tried reverse psychology by trying to tell her she isn’t allowed to use the potty anymore.

To my greatest annoyance my 18 month son came up to me yesterday and said “Poop mommy.” I out of sheer curiosity took him to the toilet and sat him down on the potty. He released a bunch of gas and said “All done“. He didn’t quite use the toilet but I can tell he understands. If he is potty trained before she is I’m totally saving it as another fun story I get to spill when she starts to bring marriage prospects home, now how’s that for pay back?  For now I'm just going to keep at it.  Maybe one day I won't have to change bums anymore, but it's not today.

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