I keep reminding myself to parent for the future not the moment. It is easy to take the easy path for right now, but it’s a gamble for the future. Somehow last weekend, I ventured onto a difficult path with short term pay off.
Up until a week ago, we were very easy-going about potty training. We were passively teaching Little Miss by emptying her diaper in the toilet and letting her flush. You know, a gentle lesson of where that mess should really go. Plus, it killed that awful stink in her trash bin. We even bought her a Dora toilet seat, which she used about four times. She was certainly interested in spending alone time in the bathroom. Imitating a friend at daycare, Little Miss would announce that she had to go to the toilet and say, “une minute, Mama”. Then she’d run up there stairs, refuse any help and shut the door. After she’d come out, I’d go in and inspect. She left nothing disturbed. Who knows what she was doing in there? It was a fun game. This had been going on for months, we hit a plateau self-training wise.
Last week I read someone’s blog about potty training in three days. “Sounds great,” I thought. Let’s give her that extra push. I bought underwear and treats, and chose a rainy weekend for potty lockdown.
It was a bumpy start. Our daughter was bare-bottomed all weekend. We set up camp on the living room. And I began by putting her on the potty every 10 minutes, then we both got annoyed. So, I’d ask her every 10 minutes, then she really got annoyed. So, I set an alarm to go off every ten minutes so she wouldn’t get annoyed at me. Then she got startled and cried for 10 minutes. So we took a n Elmo break.
Then she peed! (On the floor.) But I swept in and sat her on the potty midstream. I did my best congratulatory dance, trying not to startle her again. And I gave her a bonbon. Who knew a single peanut butter M&M meant so much to a two and a half year old?
For the next hour she sat on the potty and forced herself to pee. Even if it was just a little bit, I’d give her a bonbon. It was instantaneous. From then on she only peed in the potty. All weekend she only had two accidents, and both times are was wearing unders and pants (a new obstacle).
It was the same type of start with number twos. The first time I had to intervene, and then she got a lollipop. The excitement that swept over her was actually visible. Like a wave or a tremor. “Leelapops” were clearly the best thing on Earth. “This is easy,” I thought.
Jinx! She had yet to poop in the potty again. At any mention, no matter how gentle or bribe-y the reminder, she’d freak out! She’s outraged and maybe terrified of the idea. And she keeps screaming, crying and pitching fits for leelapops. You can’t even imagine how mad she gets when I remind her they are reserved for potty poops.
I regret bribing my daughter with candy. It was a short-term solution, and it has created a new fight. It’s so easy to give into her high-pitched, loud demands just to save my ears. But I certainly don’t want to fill her with candy, let alone teach her that this behaviour works to get her what she wants. Even worse, I’m teaching her that if she holds out long enough, I’ll bribe her to do what I want.
The original plan was to bypass pull-ups, and ditch diapers forever. Being prepared to clean messes and accidents. Then she went back to the babysitter in dreaded unders and pants and no M&Ms. When I picked her up, the babysitter said, “You’ll have to throw out those pants, the mess was too big to save them. Oh, and if she poops in her pants again tomorrow, she’ll have to go back to diapers.”
Needless to say, I bought pull-ups that night.
So we’re half way there. She continues to pee in the potty, even without the M&Ms. I guess she’s just not ready for number two. We’ll continue with pull-ups, hopefully not for much longer. I actually read this suggestion in a forum, “Have her sit on the potty with her pull-up on. Then start cutting a hole in the pull-up so she still has the comfort of the pull-up but the poop falls out.” Ridiculous
We’ll take the gentle path for now.