Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Potty training is not for wimps

Whose idea was it to schedule potty training for the same time frame as NaBloPoMo? Oh, wait, that was me. I finally ran out of reasonable excuses to put off potty training Magdalena. I like to think I would have done it back in May or June sometime but with all the upheaval of moving to Egypt and then back to Ithaca and then driving across the country and then moving (for reals) to the UAE, I thought, I don't know, that there was the possibility she'd regress.

Then we were busy settling in and I didn't want to introduce too much change into her life all at once.

Then my parents were visiting and it still wasn't the right time.

But then: we ran out of diapers. And I didn't want to buy any more. So it was time.

The thing is, I HATE potty training. I've been a mom now for a little over five years. During this time, I've figured out that the mothering tasks I fulfill most miserably are the ones that involve a fundamental disconnect between the reasonings of a rational adult and the willful stubbornness of a small child. Potty training specifically really gets to me. It took a good 10 days with Miriam and the whole time I was so frustrated that I couldn't just reason her through it. We did what all the books say - gave her lots of drinks of water, sat her on the potty as often as she'd let us, and offered rewards for performance. What we ended up with more often than not was this:

That's Miriam near the end of a 40-minute potty session that had yet to produce any results. The bowl of warm water was a last, desperate attempt to produce some dang pee-pee already. If I recall correctly, it didn't work.



Magdalena is an absolute potty training rock star in comparison. Days 1 and 2 were just as horrible as I'd expected but today she did something really quite amazing: she successfully used the potty at Ikea. TWICE. And one of those times was an unchi, if you know what I mean. Her first unchi, in fact. It took Miriam weeks and weeks to be able to go potty in a bathroom away from home. WEEKS.

I would like to publicly attribute Madgalena's potty training prowess to these videos we watched yesterday.


Before I went to Japan I subscribed to that commonly held belief that the Japanese are just weird about bodily functions with their Everyone Poops book and public toilet camouflage sounds. However, after going there and seeing in person the loving attention they pay to that most necessary human act, I think we Americans are the weird ones. That, or I'm just glad that someone finally came up with a potty training video that my 2-year-old could really embrace. To the extent that she grunted, "uuuuuuunCHI!" when she went #2 in the potty for the first time today. You're welcome.

14 comments:

Roberto said...

I have experience this kind of frustrating potty training too with my child. I really cannot continue myself with this training that meant to be for him.

And then one day I try my friend's advice of playing some music when doing this training and it works.

Now I don't have to be upset when waiting over for my child potty training because we both have some fun doing it.

Becky said...

I feel your pain. We've been having little success with Jack. I'll have to watch your videos and see if they help! Seems like we've tried everything else . . . primarily bribery, which worked for James but seems to be a no-go for Jack. Good Luck!

Aimee said...

I can now say that Jameson has conquered the potty, but it was a long road. We got the baby bjorn potties (those rock!) and have one upstairs and downstairs. We read "Everyone Poops" a lot, and listen to a song called "Potty time" on the "Do Fun Stuff" album off of itunes. A fun silly song that uses a few words (like butt) that I wish they used others, but it worked for us. I have to credit the song the most. It was his reward to sing and dance to the song when he successfully hit the potty. In the last few weeks he has taken all the initiative. It was gentle and loving and slow, just like weaning. I suppose I found my son's method of learning. About once a week he might have an accident, and because he is a heavy-wetter at night we still have him in training pants. If I take him to potty at 11:30pm or so, he will most likely be dry. Overall, I am very proud of my son, because at 2.5 years old I feel he is ahead of the boy game! Good luck!

Liz Johnson said...

Potty training is evil.

That said, I'm glad that you saved it for NaBloPoMo, because it provides excellent blog fodder.

I am incredibly impressed that Magdalena has done so well. I am totally going to stick Nathan in front of those Unchi videos for weeks before we attempt the task... which will probably be a year from now. Seriously, I hate potty training so freaking much, and I've decided that I refuse to do it until my children are excellent at vocalizing their frustrations AND have the bladder control to hold it for twenty minutes. I do not want to take a cart full of groceries into the bathroom at Meijer. I refuse to do it... I feel I would lose the very last shred of dignity that I am so desperately clinging to.

The Ensign's said...

I shouldn't have read this while eating my breakfast

Natchel said...

I'm working on potty training as well and I am trying the Potty Training in 3 Days and Gabe is totally not interested. He doesn't really care about going. But he really liked those movies! Especially the little toco toco toire part. But what is it that they say at the end of the little song?

Amanda said...

I like how you attribute your child's potty training prowess to a movie and I attribute mine to my awesomeness as a mother (although (as we've discussed) Liillian was awful to potty train and wasn't fully out of diapers until she was 3.5, and I did very little differently). I read Diaper Free Before 3 with Nora, and I decided to try it, and with the way she's going, she'll be diaper free before 2.

Fromagette said...

I'm with Liz. It took us a year, yes a full year, before Anna stopped having regular accidents. 10 days? That sounds like a dream.

Bridget said...

Maybe it would be fun to put subtitles on these videos. If you mean the "toire ni ikou!" part it means, "Let's go to the toilet!" Woohoo!!!!

Melody said...

With Eli, I took a long time on purpose. I started out a couple of months before Brianna was born (which means Eli was about 21 months old). I bought him a potty chair and made a big deal of it and he seemed to think it was cool. Then anytime Cameron or I went to the potty we sat him down on it. He didn't know what he was supposed to do on it, but he thought it was fun. Then one day (about a month after we had been sitting him on the potty) he accidentally used it. Of course we made a huge deal out of it. Then he was kind of like "Oh, that's what I'm supposed to do!" He did pretty well after that and was going to the potty regularly.

He did regress when Brianna was born, but I think that was more my fault than his since I was so busy with the new baby. He was fully potty trained (by that I mean that he tells me when he needs to go potty) by about 27 months. I don't think that approach would work well for all kids, but it worked for Eli and I felt like it was a good since we had a new baby coming along and I didn't have to spend as much time each day in helping him.

Alli E. said...

Liz said it best. "Potty training is evil." You would think by the 4th child I would've figured it out, but they are each so different. I am terrified to start potty training my next one!!

Anonymous said...

I don't have any children to potty train yet, but I thought those videos were great. I'll have to remember them for when that day comes. I can see the wisdom in the direct nature of those videos.

Hannah

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Kristen said...

Holy crap (pun intended?) those videos are hilarious. You can see the kitty's little wee-wee, and the poops have happy faces!! So funny!

I agree that the direct nature of the videos is the key though, and yes, Americans are the weird ones for being so ashamed of the bodily functions known to everyone every day. That goes for body parts/nudity too.

I'm glad it was easier this time around. I loved our 3-day potty training method, which I've discussed on my blog.

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