Monday, July 13, 2009

Breaking Out of Potty Prison

Last week was a big week in parenting. Drum roll, please......We attempted potty training.
I tried to come at it in a positive, enthusiastic manner. First, we got all the equipment:We built the event up in Connor's mind the week before. So when she woke up on Monday morning to find all the goods it was a tiny bit like Christmas morning. Sort of. In a crazy "we are in for a big mess" kind of a way!I blocked out the week to stay in to work on potty training. Internally I was dreading it, but on the outside I tried to psyche myself up to make it a happy, positive change for Connor. I just really don't know how we are going to survive Europe without the crutch of diapers with so few public restrooms and stopping points during our travels.We started by modeling the cause and effect of drinking and then going on the potty using "Wendy" the doll. I originally went with the "Pottywise" advice from authors of the famed "Babywise" book.I was hopeful....they said Connor should be totally trained within the week. Hmmm.

Over the course of the next two days we sat and we sat and we sat on the potty. Connor learned to sit relatively still (amazingly) and we waited and waited. Like watching paint dry. We read books, we watched movies, we even ate snacks on the potty. And then inevitably as soon as we gave up an attempt and Connor stood up the pee pee would come out. UGH!
I started the day with three pristine pink padded big-girl panties for Connor. It was clear by midmorning that I needed MANY more than three pairs. So during his lunch hour Kirk raced around to THREE different shops to try to find more panties since I was homebound with Connor. I want to be sure Connor knows of her father's loving he never thought he would be buying girl's underwear in between his audits. Luckily he came home stocked up and we had about 20 pair to work with on Tuesday!
By Wednesday we were sick of sitting on the pot and getting pretty stir crazy with very few results. So I switched to another potty training methodology. This time by the "Potty Training Queen" who claims that by totally throwing away all diapers and going cold turkey children can be trained within 3 days. This tactic differs from Pottywise in that you just let your little one start to have her accident - yet you can't take your eyes off of them for the entire day - and then you catch them and run with them to the potty in the middle of it all. In this way they are supposed to learn the signal and muscle signs leading up to going to the potty. We did this for the next couple of days instead of just sitting and waiting. I pulled up all of the carpets and we gave it a go! Literally!!! :)
Thankfully, sweet Dallas decided to brave it and came over to keep us company. She brought over some wonderful new board games and we played Carcassonne and Bananagrams in between Connor's potty runs. Now that is a true friend! She learned much more than I am sure she ever wanted to know about potty training. And I couldn't be more thankful for her company and encouragement.
By Thursday evening I thought I was going to lose my mind. I heard my mom in my head, saying "Reid, you have had so much fun recently - now is time to buckle down and do the work" and "You are teaching your daughter one of life's most important skills." I knew she was right, but we just didn't seem to be making any progress. Unlike what all the books said the 3 day rule was failing us. So I made the executive decision that we just HAD TO to get out of the "Potty Prison" in the house and take a break on Friday.
We scheduled a day at the beach with Laura and relaxed - in a pull up diaper - to the chagrin of the potty training authors, I am sure. We had a glorious day in the sun and sand and when we returned home I even braved it and put the big girl pants back on. We tried a potty run. To my shock and delight and with the motivation and bribery of chocolate Connor sat right down, contracted her muscles and went to the potty!!!! Chocolate is a powerful lure!

Thank you Mr. M&M and Mr. KitKat! Since Friday we have had probably 10-12 successful potty attempts and fewer accidents. We still have a LONG way to go - that is for sure. But we are at least on the path.

As Dallas and I discussed, every parent around the world has to teach this skill. It is a uniform parenting lesson. I think that is remarkable given all the work it takes. Here's hoping week #2 goes smoother! And big lesson learned for me: don't listen to those pipe dreams of total training in 3 days. Each child is different. And sometimes just relaxing and letting things come as they can is a powerful boost in the learning curve.

1 comment:

Dallas said...

I am learning a lot about parenting from you. :) I had a good time hanging out at potty prison and hope we'll be able to get together again soon for more boardgames.