"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Potty Day: The Third and Final Cut

We take a mixed bag approach to Potty Training in our house. On the one hand, we are in no hurry to reach the milestone. We wait, and we wait, and we wait, until our toddlers are practically screaming their potty-training readiness (and until the birthday presents they received for their, um, third birthdays have already lost their brand-new lustre). On the other hand, despite our apparent laid-back approach to the start of potty training, we go full-throttle once out of the starting gate. We do a guerilla-style, don't look back, leave no man behind, 24-hour crash course in Big Kid Bathroom Use and once we've picked the date for Potty Day, there are No More Diapers. (Pull-ups at nap and bedtime for the first few months, but these are new, Big Kid "Nighttime Undies," not diapers.)

It worked for Evan. It worked for Max. I had no doubt that it would work for Molly.

To be fair to our littlest potty training contestant is not, yet, three. She will be in about a month, but she's still, technically, "two."

But, according to our pediatrician (and the whole wide world) girls are ready to potty train earlier than boys. At Molly's 18-month well-check, her doctor concluded the exam with, "So, have we started to potty train yet?" I laughed in her face. At the 2-year well-check, again the doctor asked. And again, I responded with a less than civilized, "Haha! Uh, no." At her appointment for her 2.5-year well-check, Molly conversed pleasantly and maturely with the doctor, who asked her, "Molly, do you use the big girl potty?" Molly looked at me. I looked at the floor. The doctor smiled warmly and reminded me, "You know, most girls are ready to potty train at about two years old." I just knew we couldn't go to Molly's three-year check-up in February without those big girl undies.

Also to be fair, despite what they say, Molly was not showing any signs of potty-training readiness. She typically wakes up wet and never announced when she needed a new diaper. Walking around with a saggy, stinky dipe never seemed to bother her in the least. In fact, the only readiness she did demonstrate, was a Mastery of the Language of Potty Training.

If you know my sweet, cuddly, bashful, peanut of a little girl, this may come as a surprise to you: Molly has the worst Potty Mouth of any of my three kids. She's so vulgar that, to the sheer and utter delight of her big brothers, she rewrote the lyrics to Shake it Off:

'Cause the Poopers gotta poop, poop, poop, poop, poop
and the Peers gotta pee, pee, pee, pee, pee.
The farters gotta fart, fart, fart, fart, fart.
Poopy Butt!
Poopy Butt!
Butt Butt!

So, we were going to capitalize on the Using All The Potty Words element of Potty Training and just go for it. 

We went for it! Just like we did for the boys, we offered a small treat (an M&M or a mini-marshmallow) for successful peepee in the potty and a Poopy Present (a small, wrapped gift...stickers, new socks, mini Lalaloopsy, etc.) to unwrap after successful poops. We have eight or ten Poopy Presents, so that we can continue to reinforce successful pooping during the first week. The peepee treats will continue until we start to forget to use them...for the boys it was the first four or five days.

And she nailed it. After a slow start brought on by the fact that she, like her brothers, has the largest-capacity bladder ever, and the ability to hold it FOREVER, she was using the potty (for all! potty needs!) on her own by bedtime last night. She woke up this morning, swapped her pull-up for Elsa and Anna undies and has been batting a thousand all day. What a girl.

Princess Big Girl Undies, sitting upon her throne of towels.

Lesson Learned:
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Forget potty-training until your kid is ridiculously old and mature and ready. After three kids, I'm a definite believer in this reward-based, 24-hour approach to saying Goodbye to Diapers. Now we just need to find a way to get her to leave the Potty Words in the bathroom...

1 comment :

  1. With us, #1 got sorted at about 3. #2 reached 7 and was still wetting every night, so we were reluctant to try to engage #3 at all, so we left him quite late.

    As it happened, it took a grand total of two days to get #3 dry all night when we went for it. I have no idea why we rush these things so much, and live through all the stress of forcing something that seems to come quite naturally given time. Incidentally, #2 is sorted now as well, which is something of a relief.