By: Meika Rouda
I just finished the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. It is unlike any parenting book I have ever read. Chua is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and has three sisters; she and two of her sisters have multiple Harvard and Yale degrees and her youngest sister, who has Downs Syndrome, holds two international special olympic medals. You get the picture. She comes from a driven family, a family with a strong work ethic, a family that practiced “Chinese” parenting.
When Chua refers to herself as a Chinese mother, she is over generalizing but the main theme is the idea of the virtuous cycle. That through hard work you become competent at something and that instills self confidence and the desire to learn and do more. Competence and confidence go hand in hand. Her method does not nurture, respect individuality, or allow children to make any decisions themselves. It is a tyrannical form of parenting, one that produces virtuoso piano players (her eldest daughter preformed at Carnegie Hall at age 14) and straight A students who are accomplished violin players (her youngest, who ended up “rebelling” from her).
I admired a lot that Chua said. I know I am lenient as a parent; my son pushes boundaries all the time and I give in. He is isn’t even potty trained yet and he is four because he constantly says to me “I’m not ready.” Western parenting says not to force him, this will have a negative impact on him, let him decide when he is ready and one day it will happen. It is vital for him to be in control of his body, to do things on his own schedule, that is how to build confident, healthy children with self esteem. After two years of battling the potty with him I am beginning to wonder.
Chua admits she is not good at enjoying life. Her average day starts at 6AM where she runs her dog, drops her kids off at school, teaches a full course load at Yale, picks her kids up, has piano and violin practice with each child for two hours a day (that means four hours of practice), then she works on her book or papers and helps with homework. She obviously doesn’t sleep or eat. Maybe I need more Chinese mother in me as I never get anything done, but Chua manages to get everything done. She is a super human. I have a feeling I might not like her much if I met her in person.
But I do think she has a point. While I am quick to let my son decide not to continue swim class because he doesn’t want to, I realize this only hurts him. He can swim if he tries, he just doesn’t have the confidence because he is afraid of the big pool. I know if he tried he could swim. I have seen him do it before, yet I don’t force him. I let him dictate his swimming evolution. If I pushed him I know he would succeed and that success would lead him to try more new things like, maybe, the potty. That if he knew how much I believe in him he would have confidence to take risks and work hard to learn new skills. Perhaps he could get caught up in the virtuous circle.
I come from parents who never pushed me to do anything. They sat back and let me make most of my young adult decisions, sometimes to disastrous ends. I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have a parent who really believed in me like Chua does her daughters. Who doesn’t let me quit because I don’t feel like practicing the piano that day. Who forced me to get straight A’s and be great at everything I do instead of mediocre and uninspired. I consider myself a bit of a late bloomer because of this. I just started writing with some dedication a few years ago although I have long loved to write. I plan on taking an intensive Spanish class to become fluent in another language, another longtime goal. But I also feel there is something to be said for making mistakes and being an independent child. Maybe I am not fluent at Spanish or haven’t written a book yet but it is just taking me longer than the Chua girls. And I can say that I had a lot of fun figuring out life on my own even if it meant experiencing heartache and navigating social situations with horrendous teenage girls who were out to get me. There is something formidable about me because I know who I am. I know who I am because I was able to make choices to become who I am.
I don’t know the Chua girls. Perhaps they are well-adjusted teenagers who are also amazing overachievers, but there is something to the saying “let kids be kids.” We have our whole lives to work hard and achieve greatness, do we really need to start as toddlers?
So how can a Tiger Mom mesh with a Mama Bear like me? I don’t have the answer and neither does Amy Chua but I am going to do a little more pushing with my son. I don’t expect him to be a concert pianist as a teenager but I do expect him to be potty trained by four and half. ROAR.
By: Allison Norris
I can only remember peeing my pants once. Though I’m sure it happened multiple times as a toddler transitioning out of diapers, the only time I remember was when I was eight years old. I was at my best friend Gena’s house for the first time and we were walking down her street pushing dolls in strollers. I can’t remember what let the warmth take over my jeans and then turn to cold, but it happened and I was mortified. I immediately tried to locate a small puddle to “fall” in so that I could wash away the urine with road water and nobody would know what had happened. I think I found a small circle of water in the road, and sat down in it, but Gena’s mom still knew what had happened. She lovingly changed my clothes and didn’t mention it at all.
Potty training is gross. It really is. There’s so much discussion about pee-pee and poo-poo and pull-ups, diapers, big boy underwear, and wearing nothing but pants. There’s a plethora of choices, and so many suggestions and methods for kicking the Pampers. Everything I’ve read says not to push them (especially boys) if they’re not ready, so I keep giving in to whatever mood he’s in regarding what to wear under his pants. We’re on week three or four of consistently going pee in the potty, and number two only a few times. We still need a pull-up for that. He has tried standing to pee, which is very messy. He sits and then says he needs to wipe, which is hard to explain why he doesn’t need to and that only girls do – but in reality, there’s sort of pee all over, so maybe wiping when he’s done would be helpful? He wants to do it by himself, so sometimes, he concentrates so hard that his shirt falls into the stream and he stands up so proud of the pool in the potty with a huge wet circle across his belly. There’s urine all over my bathroom and thank goodness I didn’t invest in a fancy bath mat – it’s sort of become his drip mat.
We’ve only had one accident, and he peed all over my couch. That was a neat clean up process.
When did privacy, shame, embarrassment, and bodily function independence come into play? After Bay peed on our couch, he was devastated. I told him it was fine, changed him, gave him a smooch, and told him to try to go to the potty next time, and then we turned on some music and started stripping the cushions. He cried and apologized, and then he refused to wear anything but a diaper for the next day or so for fear that he’d lose control again. He was embarrassed. My innocent little sweet baby was embarrassed.
Now he’s telling me to leave and shut the door when he goes potty. He asks for a napkin to wipe his face if a crumb lingers. He asks me if his clothes “look cool”. A baby he is not… an aware member of society he is becoming. He cares what people think… only a little, but still. I knew it was only a matter of time, but it just happens so quickly. I wish I could protect him from ever being embarrassed and shield him from shame (maybe shame is alright…). I want him to remember to be himself and to own up to his decisions and that deviating from the “norm” is a-ok with me if it’s what works for him. I’d never given all of it much thought until I saw the devastation in his face after he turned my couch into a urinal. It was like he was hunting for that puddle to sit down in – to blame it on something else.
So many transitions. I told him he can sleep in a big boy bed when he doesn’t need diapers anymore – but really I’m just stalling on the big boy bed because I don’t want him standing at my pillow at 5am to say “good morning.” I’ll probably just get on amazon right now and buy a book about that too. But then what if he starts wetting the bed? Geez. After potty training and big boy beds, am I done with big changes? What comes next? Right when I think I’m caught up, something else changes and I’m scrambling to adjust. I guess this is called parenthood.
Ok gotta run… I have to pee.
By: Meika Rouda
Almost a year ago, when our son turned 3, we flirted with the idea of potty training him. We bought him fantastic new underwear with cars and spiderman on them. He delighted when he tried them on and then insisted he wear a diaper underneath. We bought him his own potty, a small blue one that fit just right, then we upgraded to a more advanced “cars” themed one where the “flushing” sounded like a car revving and the seat was padded. He loved to sit on it, play with it, even have his stuffed animals sit on it, but never did he take his pants down and try to use it the way it was intended. It became another toy around the house. So we upped the ante and put M&M’s next to the toilet, I bought little gifts and wrapped them up and stacked them on the back of the toilet, our bathroom was over crowded with gifts, sweets, and an array of small potties to lure our son into the destined milestone of going diaper-free. We had incentives galore. This is what we are supposed to do, right?
A month ago, after our son still showed little interested in the toilet, we decided to go commando and spend the weekend at home with no diapers. We told our son days in advance that the “diaper fairy” was coming to take his diapers away. This technique worked great with his pacifier so we were feeling confident. This was going to work! On Friday morning I left a big present for him at the foot of his bed from the diaper fairy and stashed his diapers in a closet. He woke up and was so excited to see the present. He was ready. It was on.
He went diaper-free all day and I kept asking him, “Do you have to use the potty?” “No,” he would say. I would insist he sit on the potty “just to see if anything comes out” but he cried and protested. He didn’t have to go, he didn’t want to sit on the potty, none of them. Several hours went by, still nothing. He was clearly holding his bladder which is made of steel apparently because as the day came to a close, still nothing. I was worried. What was going on? Is he that freaked out by the toilet? I asked him if he wanted to pee outside in the bushes. Still no. I put him on his little potty and he cried. Finally I put him on the big potty. He cried harder. We watched the movie ” Once upon a potty” and sang the song “I’m going to a potty party” but still nothing. I fed him m&m’s and gave him presents, just for sitting on the toilet. Still no action.
It was bath time and he still hadn’t peed or pooped all day. This was bad. While in the bath he looked at me with shock in his eyes. “Are you going pee?” I asked, hopefully. He nodded. I picked him up out of the tub and put him on the toilet. He looked a little afraid but he didn’t cry, even though he was soaking wet. We looked in the toilet and he was peeing. Victory! He laughed and was so pleased with himself. I gave him a high five and as many m&m’s as he wanted. He got back in the bath and I was cheering and telling him how great he was. Then it was bedtime and he needed a diaper. So I put one on him and as soon as I pulled his pajama bottoms up, he had peed. So I put another diaper on him. “Mama, I have pee pee” he said 5 minutes later. So I put another new diaper on him. Then as I am about to tuck him into bed and read books, he poops. Now that the diaper was back, his systems were all “go”.
The next morning we tried again diaper-free and the same thing: he claimed he didn’t have to use the potty and didn’t want to sit on the toilet. I reminded him how he had gone in the toilet the day before but he still refused. It was like it had never happened. As the hours went by I got worried again and then, lo and behold, after bath when the diaper went on, there was free flow. The next day was Sunday and we had the same routine again. He cried on the toilet and just held his body functions until he got a diaper. At the end of the day I asked him if he wanted to use diapers all the time again instead of underwear. He said yes. So we accepted defeat and went back to diapers.
I admit to being really frustrated. I just wanted it to kick in like everyone says it will “one day they just get on the potty and that is that”. Well, not my son –at least, not so far. He has always been the kid that has taken a little longer to do things. He didn’t get his first tooth until he was 14 months old. So we have to be patient and understanding but I never know how much we should encourage or force things and when to back off and just let him decide. As much as I want it to happen, it isn’t really up to me; all I can do is encourage him, talk about it, and keep singing the song “I’m going to a potty party”.
Hopefully someday the party will arrive.
By: Sheana Ochoa
We took Noah out of daycare in order to potty train him so he would be able to start preschool next week. It was a long, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding month in which I learned:
1) It’s impossible to potty train a kid if he is still wearing a diaper all day. (During this past month, we had him in underwear and after an average of two accidents a day the first week, he began going on his own to the potty.)
2) You can’t expect a kid to be potty trained everywhere just because he goes potty at home. (After numerous accidents in his car seat for which I had to take apart the seat and wash and clean it almost every other day, I learned to just put a diaper on him for long outings.)
3) Going potty on his own doesn’t mean he’s potty trained. (You still have to teach him to shoot straight into the toilet and not all over the floor and then there’s the whole wiping business, which from what I read, he will be learning for the next couple of years.)
I also learned that even in matters as banal as potty training, my husband is a wonderful father. Together we set a goal and together we potty-trained Noah in time to start preschool. If I’m busy when Noah announces, “I have to go pee pee!” Jordan will take him. If he’s busy, I take him. Once I tossed the training toilet and had Noah pee standing up in the regular toilet, it was Jordan who modeled holding and aiming. He was also quite fastidious about having Noah wash his hands, which I appreciated, especially as we began teaching Noah to wipe his butt. For once, I’m glad he’s such a stubborn kid, because when it’s time to wipe, he doesn’t even like me to do the final, clean swipe. “I’ll do it!” he demands.
Still I am apprehensive. Noah starts preschool next week and because it’s a public school, the teacher cannot accompany the kid into the bathroom. Also, no one can actually change his clothes should he have an accident. I’m particularly worried that he might pee during nap time. At home we still put a diaper on him when he sleeps. I don’t want anything to impede his progress or traumatize him.
I can just imagine my sleepy-eyed grump waking up to a wet bottom and soaked clothes as he does when he naps at home and crying, “I’m all wet!” He still has trouble putting on his underwear if they’re not around his ankles. I don’t know how he’s going to put on a new outfit by himself. I know I can’t control this so I have to just expect the best and if it doesn’t work out, continue working with him until he can do those things on his own. BUT, I really want my mornings back again. I want to send out queries for articles, finish the endnote cleanup on my manuscripts, update my website, investigate writing contests, and just GET ORGANIZED!
At the same time, I feel we’ve, as a family, made such an accomplishment, a major milestone. The other day, Grandma called and he had just wiped himself for the first time after going number two. He said hello and when Grandma asked what he was doing, he proudly declared, “I wiped my butt!” It was hysterical and lovely. How often is something both hysterical and lovely?
By: Sheana Ochoa
Potty training my toddler —whom my husband and I often refer to as Bam Bam —is no different from training my late dog, Chloe. They hem and haw, have accidents, and require loads of paper towels and consistency. I realized the similarities last weekend when my brother, who is rather fastidious, invited us over for lunch. It was a perfect afternoon with excellent food and a cool breeze on the patio. I went inside to retrieve something and when I returned, I discovered marble-sized turds all over the carpet next to the lunch table. My brother was shocked, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Needless to say, he isn’t having children; they don’t go with his immaculate home décor. The only difference between training an animal and a person is psychological, which can actually become a chasm of difference if your child is as stubborn as mine.
Once my dog Chloe knew the difference between going potty inside and going potty outside, I wasn’t forgiving of her disobedience. She knew better, but would sometimes deliberately pee or worse, poop, in the house. Once, we were having Christmas dinner at my sister’s house and she pooed inside, so I struck her on the rump. Yes, all you PETA-philes, I hit my dog. My sister exiled Chloe from her home, which made it very difficult every year on the holidays because we had to travel distances to be with the family and I didn’t travel without Chloe. We found solutions for temporary places for her to stay while I ate dinner, even if she had to stay in my car, but I was not happy about it. If you think I’m a horrible person for having hit my dog, it gets worse.
Because I planned my child, I had an entire year to study and prepare for motherhood even before conceiving, but none of the research, talking to experts, interviewing other moms helped me with the real-life decisions I have had to make intuitively. Having said that, I went through my pregnancy as the attachment-parenting poster mom. Corporeal punishment? Absolutely not! I just had to get on the floor to my child’s level and “acknowledge” his frustration, fear, or anger. Yeah, that worked out real well at giving him the vantage point of socking me in the nose or head, banging me in the brow as he flailed about in a tantrum. There was plenty of corporeal punishment his first two years: I was the one getting beaten up.
As Noah began talking, he gained even more confidence defying me. He could tell me what he wanted, and if I didn’t understand his pre-verbal mumbo jumbo, I’d be in trouble. “No!” he’d yell at me and repeat what he wanted which sounded like some sub-Saharan dialect. I’d guess wrong. “No, Mommy!” he’d scream as if I were an imbecile, swatting at me. So, it began with grabbing his hand and firmly saying, “Don’t hit Mommy.” No matter how hard I squeezed, this tactic didn’t work. Month after month he continued hitting me. One day, he hit me so hard, I paused so as not to be angry as the experts say. After a few seconds the sting of his blow passed, and I slapped his hand. He cried incredulously.
Fast-forward to potty training. Setting a timer and asking him every 20 minutes if he had to pee wasn’t working because he was still wearing a diaper. So I made the leap: I purchased a dozen underpants. At first he peed in his underwear, while sitting on his training toilet, but at least he was sitting on the toilet. Then I discovered, since he was a boy (and would be teased in preschool for peeing sitting down, I shouldn’t be training him to sit and pee. Why do they sell those damned training toilets then, especially when cleaning up number two is so impractical?
So I invested in a toilet seat that goes over the real toilet seat so he doesn’t fall in for number two and began training him to stand while peeing. At this juncture, Noah mastered taking off his underwear and although it took a couple weeks to get him to stand, he does so, but it’s uncomfortable. He hunches over, which doesn’t allow a steady flow into the bowl; the urine gets all over the floor. I tell him to stand up straight and when he sees how successful this is in not getting the floor wet, he begins to overcompensate by squeezing his penis as if it will make the stream flow straighter. He is trying his best to get the urine into the toilet – although that last trickle is impossible because the stream has been interrupted.
The other night, Daddy took him to pee and I could hear him saying, “Noah, don’t move around. Noah you’re getting pee everywhere.” And I knew Noah was playing with the stream of pee, moving it out of the bowl because he had tried that business on me a few times and I wasn’t having it. I had sternly told him to pee in the bowl. After I overheard that Noah had gone as far as to pee on my husband during these shenanigans, I waited till they were finished. Then I spanked him. Yes, I put my hand to his flesh and he didn’t even have his underwear on.
“You can’t spank me!” he cried.
I couldn’t believe it. I have raised him to have such an upper hand that he believes I can’t spank him when he intentionally pees on Daddy. That was eye-opening. “Yes I can. I’m in charge, not you,” I told him and something changed, a look in his eye akin to admiration. He wasn’t happy Mommy spanked him, but something shifted and we both knew it. I was in charge to protect him. I wish my son had the temperament of someone that I could discipline with a firm No! and consistency, but he doesn’t.
Allowing him to continue believing that he is in charge would be nothing less than negligent. I know I’ll get plenty of advice from non-corporeal punishment advocates after publishing this blog, but believe me, I have studied it all. I was sold on it myself from the No-Cry-Sleep-Solution to all of Dr. Sears’s books. It didn’t work with my child and there’s no one that knows my child like I do. In fact, it’s all I can do not to take him in my arms the minute those crocodile tears flow after I scold him, but I resist a couple of minutes until it sets in that I’m serious. Afterward, I cuddle him and explain that just because Mommy yelled or swatted his hand doesn’t mean I don’t love him. And his tears dry up even though my heart is still aching and the irrational part of my head is saying, “Please don’t stop loving me, I’m just doing it for your own good.”
But, as I learned during ten years’ of teaching other kids, my job isn’t to be a child’s friend; it is to instruct them so they can become respectful, well-adjusted, informed, compassionate human beings.
By: Brandy Black
I have taken a long time to write a summary to my potty training trials. It’s been challenging, with many bumps along the way, but it is official: Sophia now not only goes pee, but has also started going poo in the potty. The timing could not have been better on her part because this past week she was struck with a bad case of diarrhea and, although challenging to race her to a toilet every half hour, it was much better than the alternative. Do you wonder how she made the crossover? At what point, did she just out-of-the-blue decide to engage in a little extra pushing on the potty? Well I must tell you that I think it may have been the book we offered her and the patience we extended. Even though each time she decided to make this extra effort was, ironically, right before bed-time, we still gave her that half hour that she needed to make a tiny pebble-sized poo. But over time, each night the pebble-sized poo grew until one night her poo barely fit in the precious babybjorn potty. We celebrated –despite what people say about rewarding behavior, this was monumental for our family –and guess what? She’s still doing it! Sure, there are mistakes here and there but hey, doesn’t that happen to all of us from time-to-time? So, I will be audacious enough to say it: Folks, Sophia is potty trained and it only took 3 months!
By: Brandy Black
Every time I say it’s over, it’s not. “Don’t get too cocky.” They all said it; why didn’t I listen?
So we’re going on a trip out of the country soon and we need to get a passport for our daughter. I dug the birth certificate out and gave it to Susan and off they went to the post office. I wasn’t there for this adventure but Susan came home a bit beaten up with an adorable picture of Sophia and no luck at the post office; apparently they needed both of us there. The real reason she was worn down was because our little treasure of a daughter had a fit and peed all over the floor of our fine government building. Susan said she was careful not to get her sparkly shoes and Minnie Mouse dress wet but the tights were soaked.
The next day, Susan picked Sophia up early from school and I met them at the post office so that both parents could represent. There was no line, which was rather surprising for the Hollywood location, but when we got to the window, the disgruntled employee took one look at Sophia’s picture and made a face.
“Take the barrette out of her hair,” Susan whispered.
Susan explained that the day before some guy told her that he had to take a picture four different times because they didn’t believe it was him.
I took the barrette out and Sophia began crying.
“My flower barrette!!!!!”
I did my best to console her while we waited for the woman behind the plexi-glass to tell us why she was making all of those horrible faces and cocking her head left to right. Finally I got impatient.
“What? Is there something wrong?”
“It’s too big” the woman said, in an Eeyore-like tone.
Susan measured Sophia’s up to hers. They are the same size.
“Is mine too big?” Susan asked.
“What?” I was now very irritated as my daughter was wiggling out of my arms.
“The face –with the hair –it’s too big” she said.
She then showed us that they took the picture too close and we realized very quickly that we were going nowhere fast; there is no way she would use this picture. Luckily the woman took pity on us and rather than saying “we’re closing in 10 minutes, come back another day,” she actually told me to run across the street to the mailbox place while she worked on the paperwork with Susan. So Sophia and I raced over and took her mug shot. Have you ever tried to make a toddler sit still on a stool and stare directly into the camera with her head straight? It’s no easy task. After several bribes, we raced back across the street and handed the woman our golden ticket to getting out of that place once and for all. We waited and waited and Sophia began to yell and pull things off the counter and roll around on the floor and it got worse and worse and so I took her outside as to not disturb the others and to remind her to calm down.
Once outside, she did not calm down; she screamed louder and louder and was now crying that she wanted her flower barrette. I calmly told her that I would give it to her when she calmed down. She did not stop. I was trying to practice that tip that I got from the director of our preschool…I remained calm and said “When you stop crying and yelling you can have your barrette.” Still crying. Next I notice an older woman staring at me with what I imagine to be a mean look on her face; I refused to look at her. I kept trying to keep it together with my daughter. Finally the woman stopped burning a hole through my head with her stare and walked into the post office, shaking her head. Then not 20 seconds after she left, Sophia yelled some more and began peeing all over the ground –this time soaking her shoes, socks, tights, everything.
“I have to pee!” she yelled loudly, while watering the cement.
I was now hysterical inside –why is this happening to me? There was a line of people just beyond the glass door staring at the whole scene. Susan luckily walked out and we began stripping Sophia. Here we were outside, 2 moms with a naked screaming baby and passport receipts flying everywhere.
Sophia went postal twice in 2 days. We are not done potty training!
We have been potty training for a little over a month now and I hesitate to say this because you never know when things can change, but I think we’re through the rough parts. After the two-week mark, things got surprisingly easier. Sophia really started to get it and we just got back from a trip to Seattle in which there were no accidents the entire time. Oftentimes she won’t even tell us when she needs to go, she just does it all on her own. Pretty impressive. The two big hurdles that we have not cleared yet are pooping and ridding ourselves of the pull-ups at night and nap. The pull-up situation is not a concern for me because I have heard from many that those stay at night for quite a while, although if anyone has any advice on that topic, I’ll gladly take it. As for pooping, I have no idea what to do about this. It seems that she waits until she’s in her pull-ups, in her crib, to poop and have you ever changed a poopy pull-up? It’s really challenging and there have been many unpleasant moments in this area, including one with poor grandma while Susan and I were out on a date. We have been talking to Sophia about her potential concerns with pooping on the toilet and I keep equating her worries to mine after giving birth. You birth moms may relate to this, remember how long you waited to go #2? I must have held out for days, I was so sore and swollen down there and peeing was enough for me and than having to spray yourself with that squirt bottle and the Bactine spray, do any of you remember this? No one warned me how terrible that would be, I could barely walk for almost a week but I dreaded the bathroom and moaned and groaned all the way through it. So when I imagine Sophia mustering up the courage to poo on the potty, I have compassion thinking of the time that I too avoided the task. After much coaxing over the holiday she released a turd about the size of a small bead and she was so very proud, we passed the potty around the room so that everyone could celebrate. Truthfully, I would have rejoiced in that feat too!
So, we travel with fewer undies in my purse, only one back-up outfit rather than 3, and have crossed another tremendous milestone with our daughter.
By: Amy Forstadt
Hey, you know how Brandy is doing these potty training special updates because Sophia is almost three and Brandy thinks it’s high time to get her out of diapers? Well Benjie is three-and-a-half and not toilet trained yet. And you know how Brandy has a potty-training system in place, and a routine, and even though it’s slow going, she’s making progress? I’m not doing any of that and now I have a problem.
It was going pretty well for a while. My approach to potty training was super-casual (as is my approach to most things parental). I didn’t push Benjie to do it before he was ready, I didn’t make him sit on the potty at certain times of day. He did it himself, gradually and at his own pace. I started to put underwear on him when we were home and he mostly stayed dry. We even had one beautiful day when he wore underwear out of the house and used a public bathroom not once, not twice, but three times. “This is easy,” I thought. “I don’t see why people make such a big deal out of potty training. It’s no biggie.”
Feeling confident (okay, cocky), I got this genius idea to make a chart. All my friends were doing it. You keep it in the bathroom! To track the poop and pee! The kid can see you checking it off and at the end there’s a big prize. (A big prize for the kid, that is. The parents’ big prize is that they no longer have to get intimate with someone else’s poop several times a day.) I thought the chart would be the perfect way to finish up Benjie’s potty training and get him something he really wanted: a big boy bed. (Yes, at 3.5 he’s still in a crib.) It would work out so well, this perfect confluence of many big boy things happening at the same time. Parent of the year: me.
So I made a chart, ten pees, ten poops, and a big boy bed would be his. The ten pees we did in about two days. Four poops crossed off, no problem. Then Thanksgiving happened. I don’t know if it was the traveling, my inherent laziness (i.e. yes you are going to wear a pull-up on the plane. I’m not going to deal with that, thank you very much), or the fact that Benjie had to face (so to speak) a bunch of unfamiliar toilets, but the potty training has not only stopped, it’s slammed into reverse.
I can’t remember the last time Benjie sat on the potty. He insists on wearing pull-ups all the time. The six empty squares on the poop chart are gathering dust and spider webs. I asked Benjie why he didn’t poop in the potty anymore and he said, “I don’t always know when the poop’s coming out. And I like to look out the window. And sometimes when I look out the window, the poop comes out.” Can’t argue with that logic.
In the meantime, I’m not sure what to do. Pushing isn’t my style, but maybe it’s time to incorporate sitting on the potty into our routine. Or I could go hardcore and do that potty-training-in-a-weekend boot camp. Then again, maybe I should just leave him alone and let him get back to it when he’s ready, which will be hopefully sometime before his high school graduation.
Plus, now I’ve got the problem of the big boy bed. Can I still get it for him, even as the incomplete chart taunts me from the bathroom wall? I’m afraid if I do that I’ll be teaching him that he doesn’t really have to be accountable for anything, and that mommy really has no rules or boundaries and sure she’ll buy you some cigarettes! Or I could just tell him that I changed my mind and he can get the big boy bed now and go to the potty whenever he feels ready to do it again…anytime before 2017. Besides, if he waits long enough I’m sure there will be a new wave of toilets. Maybe one that can potty train him itself. Or maybe one that plays soothing waterfall and, um, plopping noises. Hell, maybe he’ll be able to go via iPad. However it happens, I look forward to it. I just hope it’s before I’m in adult diapers of my own.
By: Brandy Black
The potty training took a turn for the worse these last couple days. My daughter seems to understand that she needs to go, she will say it and two seconds later, pee all over the ground while screaming, “Clean me up, I have to pee, I’m wet, mama help please!”
It’s frustrating for both of us. How can I help her? What can I say to her to explain? I strip her clothes off. “It was just an accident, next time you’ll try to make it to the potty, it’s OK baby.”
This has happened a couple times but yesterday was the worst. We were in the car and she fell asleep on the way back from the store. I let her sleep and sat watching her, thinking, writing, listening to music, until she abruptly woke up.
“I want out of the car mama.”
“Ok, baby, you’re up. Hi! Ok, let me come get you.”
I picked her up and got a handful of poop –but not just poop, diarrhea — all over me. I screamed, I don’t know why…that’s the worst thing you could do with a toddler. She then started screaming. We went in the house, it’s now all over her dress, my dress, the floor, the dog is trying to eat it, she’s yelling and I’m screaming inside while trying to remain as calm as humanly possible and wondering why Susan isn’t here to experience this nightmare with me. We got everything settled; I gave her milk and put her in front of the TV so that I could go out and assess the car seat situation. It was a disaster, poop all over the seat. I began to strip the cover off the seat only to find out that you have to completely take apart the entire car seat to get the cover off. This is the very reason that I will never ever recommend a Maxi Cosi car seat. Susan had warned me of this before but I never had to do it on my own and was frankly convinced she was doing something wrong. There is no way someone would make a car seat that was that un-kid-friendly. Well they did. I broke down in tears, it all became bigger than me in that moment and I remembered the many friends who said “Don’t get too cocky, potty training isn’t over yet.”