We’re trying to potty train Phoebe. Since she’s two years and ten months we’re probably a little behind but she’s had no interest whatsoever in not using diapers. I know people whose kids were totally potty trained and wearing big kid underwear by 18 months. I’m fairly certain if we don’t force her to learn to use the toilet, Phoebe will be peeing her pants until she’s in high school. We’ll be dropping her off at her locker with a diaper bag. “Here you go, honey, your chemistry homework and a pack of Luvs!”
Phoebe is our first so I have no idea how you potty train someone. I’ve house trained a dog, so I’m basing my actions on the assumption that toddlers are like beagles. (They are very similar in the frequency with which they demand snacks.) With a dog you take it out every 45 minutes and give it a treat and praise when it goes outside. I’m doing the same thing with Phoebe.
Most of the time she will actually go in the potty. Then she’ll flush and says “Bye peepees! Enjoy your new home!”” (Which is hilarious.) I now have to act SUPER EXCITED about her peeing, which is super strange. I’ve never had to express amazement with anyone else’s leavings before. Imagine how strange that would be with anyone else. “Hi boss I have those reports you asked for. Did you go peepee on the potty like a big girl? Yaaay! High five! You’re a big girl who goes on the potty! I’m so proud! Can we schedule a conference call discuss the Sumner account?”
If Phoebe doesn’t actually have to go we end up hanging out in the bathroom for what seems like forever. I stand there while she sits on her little pink princess potty seat on the toilet and looks at me. She tries to rip toilet paper up into little bitty pieces of confetti that she festively throws about if I look away for a second, so I’m chained to the bathroom. Eventually it will become clear this trip to the potty is fruitless. She’ll say “Mommy the peepees are stuck!” (which is also hilarious) and I let her down and she scampers off. I know I want to catch her before she goes in her training pants so in 15 minutes we’re back on the potty again.
To actually get her on the toilet is an endeavour. I always try to sound really excited about the prospect. “Phoebe is going to sit on the potty! When Phoebe goes peepee on the potty she gets a chocolate!” I sing the Potty Song from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. “If you have to go potty STOP! And go right away! Flush and wash and be on your way!” (Which is excellent advise in everyday life like all Daniel Tiger songs.) Phoebe is almost always not interested in potty time. “No sit on potty!” she shouts at me. She has a problem with “t” sounds so it turns out more like “No sih yon poyee!” I take her hand and lead her to the bathroom. Sometimes she tries to fight me, but when I get her into the bathroom she goes immediately. It’s like, kid, why are you fighting this? Just pee in the toilet and everyone is happy. You get chocolate, mommy acts maniacally overjoyed and everyone has a great time.
The biggest issue I’m having with potty training is having to keep myself from sharing my potty training adventures with every person I interact with. Parents of kids Phoebe’s age are more than happy to discuss their own experiences with me. Parents of older kids take the attitude of “Glad I don’t have to do that again!” so I try not to share too much. I don’t even bother sharing with my friends without kids, even the super funny cute things. Talking about my kids at all with people who don’t have children feels so weird, I can never tell if something that I think it’s just a funny little story and they think is disgusting and horrifying. I try to keep my potty stories off facebook so I blog instead.
This is just the beginning of the journey to big girl panties for the toddler. I’m sure as soon as we get her out of diapers we’ll be training Zoe and will have fun stories about her.