I know I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this, but hear me out guys. My oldest was done potty training at 2 years 4 months. To say that my new trainee was not responding well to toilet training would be the understatement of the year. The kid is stubborn. Like really stubborn and temper-mental. She’s kind of nuts actually. I introduced her to a potty around 16 months. She screamed like a banshee. The first potty had Disney Princesses, with music. Her little friends loved it and used it. Her big sister sat and demonstrated, along with her doll that pee’s in the potty. Along came sticker reward charts, potty story books, play dough, puzzles, lollipops, M&M’s, quarters. Praise from the heavens, peer pressure from friends. Nope. Did not give a shit, literally. For over a year never once pooped in the potty. “I love my diapers” she loved to throw that line in my face. Here’s my favorite; I would tell her “you will make Mommy so happy” she looked me deadpan in the face and said “you are already happy Mommy”. I knew I was in big trouble.
And let’s be honest, even once they are “trained” the first few months merely goes from wiping poo out of butts to wiping poo out of a little plastic potty into a real toilet – without splashing yourself. Oh yeah, and the dreaded public bathroom expeditions. Lining public toilets with yards of paper towel, squatting low holding your kid’s hands so she doesn’t touch the nasty toilet. Singing the itsy bitsy spider to distract her from the fact that her tiny tush is a mere inch away from falling in. Diapers have their conveniences people. So yes, I confess, I was not especially eager to cross this one off the list. Especially given her dramantics. When her third birthday crept up I thought – time to really crack down on this. So I talked to our (beloved) pediatrician. Who by the way, believed she would/could/should have done it at 18 months. I
offered begged to drop her off there for said training but he didn’t fall for it. Anyway his advice was this. Take her to the store. Let her pick out 5 or 6 little presents. Under no circumstances do you let her open them until she has pooped on the potty. Line them up so she can stare at them every day, and when she poops, celebrate and let her choose one to open. So that’s what we did. We bought 6 adorable little Palace Pets, all different. All special. All on sale! Cha-ching! And we lined them up. This kiddo hasn’t pooped in the evening in . . . I don’t know all her life? What do you think happens? Magically, an hour after we are home this kid poops out a turd the size of a quarter. My mind was blown, and I was a little disturbed honestly. But I was hit with a big realization. She wasn’t failing to learn. I was failing to motivate her. So, anyway we cracked that puppy out of its package, danced, sang, laughed and celebrated. Fools. F-ing fools we were. Because for at least another week not one pet came out of its box. First, she played with them in the boxes. Yeah. Did the voices and everything. Walked them all over the house making up little stories and having a grand time in their packaging. Probably shooting me the bird while I wasn’t looking. So that had to stop. “These aren’t yours yet, you haven’t earned them.” I tucked them back onto their shelf eager to be played with. Of course she was mad, yes she even cried. The next time I encouraged her to poop in the potty for a pet; she told me “I already opened one”. And then my favorite excuse when she pooped in her panties “my butt just did that”. My exact words to my husband were “potty training this kid is going to come down to who is the bigger bitch. Her or me? And I’m not sure I can take her down”.
A few weeks went by and here is where the game changed. I finally realized there was no convincing her. No manipulating her, no bribing. I had to hit her where it hurts (theoretically of course). My entire attitude and language changed. “You don’t have to use the potty. You can wear a diaper. It’s your decision to use the potty, and every time you do, you get to use the iPad for 15 minutes. And that is the ONLY time you will get the iPad”. Within a week she was completely trained. No accidents at home, or in public. I’m not going to say it was pretty. But it’s done. And as it turns out, I am the bigger bitch.