When Aitch turned three, I celebrated her turning into a “big girl” by taking her shopping for “big girl” underwear. She hadn’t been showing any interest in potty training at home or daycare, but I saw my other friends on facebook celebrating the last diaper in the house and I decided I didn’t want to be the mom with an eight year old just starting potty training. It was on this birthday outing that she picked out a package of Disney’s princesses, Sesame Street (boy’s) and Thomas (boy’s). She was so excited that I was sure the next day she’d wear the new underwear to daycare. The next morning she declared she was wearing diapers because she didn’t want to get her new panties wet. We couldn’t even convince her to wear the pink, princess pull-ups. The girl was mega-frustating.
I think it was that very weekend that she finally put on underwear. How did I get her to do it? She wanted to watch Princess and the Frog and she happen to have a pair with Princess Tiana on them so the deal was she could only watch the movie if she wore the underwear.
And just like that, she was in panties.
Except it was QUITE that easy. The following week we went to Colorado so I worried she would regress from all her time in pull-ups or diapers, which long drives seemed to necessitate. I was pretty darn happy that she actually did so well, even keeping her diaper dry on drive home, which took the whole day.
She still wears diapers at night and has only had one totally dry night since she started wearing underwear exclusively during the day, so we’re still waiting for that switch to fully engage. For that I’m truly in no hurry because that’ll mean middle of the night wakings and moving her from a crib to a bed and ohmygodmybabyisnolongerababy!
This is where the story of potty training hits the crapper. While the girl is day-potty trained, we are ONLY talking potty. Aitch went from being a very routine pooper (right after lunch and before her nap) to a once every two-, three-, and even a four-day pooper. When she first started holding it in, I would put her in a diaper because she said, “my poop scares me!”. I didn’t want to make her feel pressured or punished for not using the potty. I dealt with Doodicus’s potty training problems until he was nearly seven. Giving Aitch a few months into her third year to figure out the whole pooping business seemed fair enough.
Unfortunately, as time goes by, she’s becoming more and more anal retentive. As the days pass and the urge gets stronger she becomes more and more fearful and more and more hysterical. Hysterical, you ask? She will scream and cry, writhe in pain on the floor, and hold her hand over her bottom for sometimes 30 minutes at a stretch or at least until that urge passes. The first time this happened I was nearly in a fit myself watching her in so much pain and with nothing I could do except hold her (if she’d let me) or wipe her snot and tears from her face, sweaty and heated.
We now give her pedia-lax tablets twice daily. A liquid laxative goes into her apple juice. Fruits and vegetables are handed out generously and yet…? The girl must have a bionic sphincter is all I can say. We even took her to the urgent care a couple weeks ago because she was in acute pain and it was time to get the party started. Conveniently, she pooped right before the doctor came into the exam room. He only charged $120 to our insurance for his service which was to confirm that we were doing everything we should. Thanks, doc! *two thumbs up and a wink*
As I write this, Aitch is asleep in her crib. It’s Saturday evening and her last BM was Wednesday evening. Two boxes of baby enema solution are now housed in the medicine cabinets. We have read The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunnit a thousand times just to impress upon her that everyone and everything poops. We go around our home making excited announcements of our own successful poops hoping SHE will want to poop, to! We are ridiculously and obsessively thrilled about POOP here!
Other than encouraging her both mentally and physically to “just poop already!”, there’s nothing else we are really doing. Sparring Partner keeps wanting to punish her for NOT pooping, which makes totally no sense at all. I remind him of how well he did with potty training Doodicus (big fucking FAIL there) so the only thing he needs to do is clean it up without complaint or drama when she’s done.
Now if you have any suggestions aside from shoving something up her backside, I am ALL ears because that’s literally the last thing I want to do. Tomorrow will be Poop-Day, whether it’s on her own or with “help”. It would seem karma felt her easy potty training deserved to be countered with a possible impaction, right? Doodicus and Aitch have always been opposite children, and this part is no exception. Doodicus was a Happy Pooper! You want me to poop? OK!! Yeah!! Now come wipe me!! But the kid couldn’t hold his water for love, money or Hot Wheels.
There’s no magic bullet for potty training. Well, except the ones that come in suppository form. Aitch was two when she started showing some comprehension, but I wasn’t going to hurry it. I think potty training is much harder when one of the parents is impatient so it’s important both discuss how they’ll address accidents and successes. Bribes are completely acceptable, IMHO, but they aren’t a guarantee for success. We rewarded Doodicus with a new Hot Wheels car EVERY time he peed in the potty. After about 200 Hot Wheels, we realized it only worked half the time so we discontinued that system. The idea of stickers was boring to him, but for Aitch? The girl was cuckoo for stickers, and she remembered to ask for one and put it on the board each time.
So let’s hear it from you. What’s worked? What hasn’t? How long did it take? And why oh why are we always in a hurry to get our kids out of diapers?!