Sunday, February 20, 2011

Potty Training Weekend

Last weekend, Rick declared an all out war on Ada's use of diapers. She's three-years-old and he thought she was ready to use the potty. I wasn't so sure about that but was willing to at least watch him wage war and offer ground support. To my complete surprise, she was ready, but I'm not sure I was.

Potty training can be a lot of work. We started on a weekend knowing that we would both be home and that we had completely cleared our schedules. We rolled up all the rugs, covered the couch and chairs with waterproof tablecloths and reusable hospital bedding pads, and found a potty dance video on the Internet. I spent much of Friday doing all of the laundry so we would have plenty of clothes and towels to clean up any messes made along the way. We had a bag of Pull-Ups in Ada's closet, several pair of underwear in her drawer, and enough elastic waist-banded pants to get us through a few days at least, or so I thought. I didn't really inventory our supplies since I wasn't confident that she was ready or that this was going to work. After all, the experts said she was supposed to tell us when she was going pee pee or poo poo in her diaper and she wasn't. She never told us when she was pooping or poopy, and a soiled diaper never bothered her. Diaper changes were still a big struggle in our house, as was the occasionally bout of constipation which is common among children.

Even though she wasn't showing the typical signs of being "ready", she was interested in watching us use the toilet and she would sit on her little potty and pretend to pee or poop. Occasionally she would have little successes but very rarely and never while pooping. At least she could say pee pee and poop so there was that.

Rick and I didn't really know how to train Ada to use the potty, but we'd heard a method that involved letting her run naked for a few days until she got the hang of it and started using the potty. So that's what we did. She ran naked for two days and understood the urge to pee very quickly. We had her use the big potty from the start since she didn't seem to like her little potty much. And it worked. She was ready, we just didn't know it. Each success brought cheers from Rick and I, and then the potty dance video. We really only had to spend the first morning encouraging her to use the potty and she was pretty well trained as far as peeing on the potty goes.

That first afternoon, I thought it would be good to introduce pants and underwear as a trial. Unfortunately, almost all of the underwear we had was too small. The few pairs we did try got wet pretty quickly. But only a little wet and then Ada realized what she had done and ran to the potty. Rick insisted on two days of naked to make this work so I acquiesced. She was making a lot of progress and at least understood the concept. We were elated... until it came time to poop anyway.

Pooping was a whole different story. Ada has been constipated in the past and doesn't really like to poop for fear that it will hurt. And when she does poop, she doesn't want to be changed since the wipes tend to hurt even though they are "sensitive". She fights diaper changes and doesn't deal well with pooping in general. Not the best scenario for anyone involved. Potty training didn't help matters. She dealt with pooping by just bearing down wherever she was and pooping. If we caught her, we'd swoop her up, run to the potty, hold her hand and encourage her to "put the poopies in the potty". When we didn't, she pooped in the hallway, the living room, and the bathtub. Thank goodness for the tablecloths covering the rug. Unfortunately we didn't notice one incident where she had pooped until it was too late for her furry pink rocking unicorn, which later got a series of serious scrubbings.

In two of my attempts to swoop her up and onto the potty, she fell in. I didn't make a big deal of it and quickly showered her off while mentally chanting "bad mommy" and holding back belly laughs as best I could.

I spent so much time figuring out if she was showing an interest in using the potty that I didn't check to make sure we had enough underwear for her. When Monday finally arrived, Rick got to go shopping for little girls' underwear on his lunch break since we didn't have enough in her current size. What a great dad. He came back with Dora the Explorer and Princess undies for her. She's a lucky girl.

After two days of nakedness, I didn't have a plan for how we were going to get her to wear clothes again. Whenever I tried pants and underwear, she would wet them. I added a PullUp over the underwear and that helped contain the accidents when we went out of the house. But we kept trying.

A week later we were still in training. Maybe there was some truth when people say their kids were potty trained in a day. That wasn't been the case for us. Eventually the training will officially be over. When? I don't know. We'll just have to be prepared to clean up the accidents along the way. We'll get there.

Moral of the story: Potty training is a lot more complicated than it might originally appear. Accept that there will be accidents, be patient and stay positive.

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