Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Potty training and how I loathe it"

That post title comes straight from my list of of upcoming posts outlined back in January (yes I said "back in" because it is almost April folks!!!). I loathed it then and I have a feeling I will continue to feel it is the most obnoxious part of parenting from here forward. BUT, Lila is potty trained...mostly.

Here's the thing. All you brand new and fairly new parents listen up and please hear me when I say this...nothing you EVER do will EVER be the same as the way someone else did it. In fact, chances are it won't really even be close. You may seek advice. I would encourage it. But, at the end of the day what makes your child so uniquely perfect also makes them equally as different from every other kid. If you learn nothing else from me as a blogger please learn this. Money is not the root of all evil...comparing yourself to anyone else is.

As I take a flying leap from my soap box and get into the nitty gritty of our potty training experience, let me spell it out for you. Don't compare yourself to me. Not that I hold the key to all things parenting and you read this blog so that you can copy everything I do. I'm just saying... I tried to follow in the footsteps of the advice givers of other blogs, Facebook cries I made for help, and old fashioned neighborly examples. The pressure became too much. I needed to have a plan and I needed that plan to work. It just didn't happen that way.

While I tell you not to compare, I do want to share my thoughts, rants, and feelings about the topic so when it's happening to you or someone you know maybe you will think back and feel better about yourself and how your child is doing.

Here goes.

Lila is brilliant. I have said it before. I'm aware I'm her biased mother, but I feel I can say this frequently because I am not brilliant. I'm not tooting my own horn. I'm just stating a fact. With this brilliance comes an unfortunate level of expectation on my part that I am trying desperately to tone down. After all that I read and did in seeking out advice I was sure we would have this done in a day or two and walk away high fiving at how awesome we were. It seems that brilliance does not always coordinate with development. DUH.  But, at the time I was clueless and seeing signs.

Let me be clear about the whole "signs" aspect. There are lists upon lists of readiness signs you should see in your child. Things like waking up dry, telling you when they have pooped, and a general curiosity about the potty. When all of this started in the fall Lila had a handful of the signs going on. I would say about half of them actually. Stay with me as I completely contradict myself here. On the one hand I now feel that things have to go much more smoothly if your child shows almost all of the signs and then you start. On the other hand, Lila never once told me when she pooped and still doesn't wake up dry. She would have walked around covered in poop all day if I let her. You be the judge.

Then there's the whole aspect of who's the trainer and who's the trainee. Looking back I am almost sure that when we thought we were doing so well initially we were actually just training us and not her. We tried treats, stickers, and pee pee dances to keep the momentum going but at some point she just wasn't having it. We resolved to give up for a while and try again at a later date. We tried again and the same exact thing happened. She would get all excited and then hate it within two weeks.

I don't want to get into using treats versus not using them. I also don't want to get into the one weekend approach versus baby steps. I do not enjoy debating things that are simply personal choices. So how did it end up working out for us? We waited. We just waited and waited. On the second round of throwing in the towel we would wake up every day and ask her if she was going to wear a pull up or underwear that day. There was a lot of back and forth for a long time but the training aspect was deleted from the equation. If she wanted to do it, she would.

One day she just started choosing underwear more than pull ups. She randomly chose to go poop in the potty without telling anyone. I wanted to try again and seal the deal but I was so apprehensive. Somehow I had convinced myself that I had royally screwed her up. We used a sticker chart and within a week she didn't want the pull ups anymore. Once she started going to school in underwear it seemed that this was now the norm instead of accidents and changing pull ups. It seems this time she was actually ready and not just half ready.

She still wears a pull up or diaper to bed, but other than that she rarely has accidents. The day we got stuck in traffic and I pulled over to feed Evie and Lila frantically told me she had to go was the day I knew we were in the clear. She patiently went in the gas station and was such a big girl while mommy freaked out about how to keep her from touching anything. Do you know how hard that is?

Anyway, it's been a long road. My approach with Evie will probably be no approach at all. The second child (so I've heard) is always easier anyway. We shall see.  Evie is already trying to basically get in the toilet when anyone uses it so maybe we will start training her when she starts walking. HA!!!!!

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