There is an ongoing saga happening right now in my house, and it is about to be my undoing. It’s called potty-training, or really what it should be called is, “The Milestone That Will Never Happen.” I pictured my children, somewhere, ohhh, between the ages of 2 and 3, waking up one day and boldly declaring that they were ready to use the potty. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? Right?! WRONG. I survived potty training two kids, and that was hard enough. Now here we are with kid number three, our last child. The homestretch. All I have to do is get her potty trained and we will be rid of diapers (and that blasted diaper pail) forever and ever. AMEN. The only problem is #3 (aka Stinkbutt) is a stubborn little holdout. “The potty is BO-RING,” she declared. What? AUGH. A pediatrician once told me the trick to potty training is to find what motivates your child. Oh, she’s motivated alright. Motivated to hold on to those diapers FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.
Here is what “finding what motivates her” looks like:
“Mommy, can I have candy?”
“Sure, if you sit on the potty.”
“Never mind, I don’t want candy.”
“Mommy, can I play on the computer?”
“Sit on the potty.”
“No thank you
“Mommy, can we go to the zoo?”
“I’d love to. Sit on the potty”
“Mommy, can we go to Disney World?”
“Grrrr, why do you keep saying that?!”
“Mommy, can I have a pet elephant?”
“AAAAAAUUUUUGHHH!!!” (insert 10 minute temper tantrum)
At this point, between the diapers and bribes, she is seriously giving college tuition a run for its money for being the SINGLE MOST COSTLY EXPENSE of child-rearing.
Does anyone else feel my pain here? If not, then you are about to because I have decided, as a therapeutic measure, to journal this saga. Someday, Stinkbutt will have a child of her own to potty-train, and I, along with this blog post, will be right there to
remind her what she put me through help her.
I tried a new potty training technique because Stinkbutt is stubborn and not motivated by stickers, M & M’s or brand new Frozen underwear like NORMAL children are. So now, every time she sits on the potty, she gets a toe painted and has to stay on the potty until the paint is dry. When she runs out of toes, we will do her fingernails. When she runs out of fingernails, she gets to paint my toes. Then my fingernails. If she’s not potty trained by then, well I guess my sweet hubby better start thinking about what color he would like his nails to be painted.
The nail polish thing got old and she just doesn’t care about sparkly nails anymore. Too bad. I could have used a manicure. Anyhoo, time for something new. I did what I told myself I wasn’t going to do which was to give her my iPad and let her play games. It was great way to get her to just sit on the potty. I didn’t even expect her to produce anything. Just sit there, for the love of God! (preferably without all the screaming and drama) I thought it was a brilliant idea, until 2 hours of Subway Surfers later, I realized I had forgotten all about her and had to peel her off of the potty because everything from her butt down to her legs had fallen asleep.
FLASHBACK FRIDAY! On this day, two years ago, I posted this little gem on Facebook:
This is the second time she has called me over to show me how she has taken off her own diaper and is using the potty. Too bad she misses the potty…by a lot. I’m talking potty on one side of the house and pee puddle on the other side where I don’t know about it until I step in it.
I thought this was a sign that my 20 month old was ready to potty train. BWAHAHAHA!! NOT! Stinkbutt be like, “JUST KIDDING! I’m gonna wait 2 or 3 more years!”
Ok, we slacked a little bit because of the holidays. Needless to say, using the potty started becoming an excuse for hours of free iPad play with nothing to show for it. Plan Z: I bribed her sister to potty train her – something to the effect of buying her anything she wanted from the toy store. I really think I’m onto something here. Big sis is super excited to have this new responsibility. She brought out all of her stuffed animals and books and turned the whole event into this awesome dog and pony show. Stinkbutt LOVED it. I do too because that means, I don’t have to do anything. SCORE!
Big Sis is SO over her potty training job. I guess she thought that her efforts would produce immediate results. Now, she is making it painfully obvious to her little sister that she is only doing it for a reward, and it has all gone downhill from there. Stinkbutt got wind of the deal and is deeply offended. They are now hopelessly stuck in the hate cycle of their love/hate relationship. Stinkbutt has once again shunned the throne, and Mommy now has yet another challenge on her plate…
Thou shalt not fight.
Many times over, I have been told “They will train when they are ready.” or “Don’t worry, she won’t go to kindergarten in diapers.” After months of gentle urging, I came to the realization that Stinkbutt will never be ready and that no, she won’t go to kindergarten in diapers. In fact, she won’t go to kindergarten at all BECAUSE she is in diapers. It is time for a potty-training intervention. At this time, we are cooped up in the house because school is out for the next week due to “snow” (a tirade for another day). Since we are all bored and miserable anyway, why not just get the potty training over with?
I told her she’s out of Pull-Ups, and it’s snowing so we can’t go out and buy any. Sorry girl, but it’s TIME TO PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES!!
She is in the bathroom, weeping her little heart out because I made her sit on the potty. Life is hard.
Dare I say, things have been going well. I’m starting to think all this drama is just a ruse. Today, she surprised us all by (TMI Alert) pooping in the potty. That was unexpected. Of course, this warrants a NSFW text to Grammy and Daddy.
This photo has been digitally altered due to its graphic nature. You’re welcome.
The biggest problem with potty training a child who has older siblings is dedicating the time to do it. You spend so much of the day driving from place to place, it’s hard to commit. However, we have gotten this far. There’s no turning back now. Sometimes, you just have to swallow your pride and carry a kiddie port-a-potty everywhere you go. I took ours to the older kids’ dance class, and I didn’t even think twice about the looks I was getting.
Motivational tactics and trickery – Four years ago, I got Stinkbutt’s older sister to say goodbye to diapers for good by placing a vintage Care Bear castle within eyesight, but just out of reach. That 80’s era Care Bear castle set me back 100 bucks on eBay, but it worked. Let’s see if I can get this strategy to work for her. I took Stinkbutt to Build-a-Bear Workshop and let her make a My Little Pony. She got to hold Princess Celestia on the ride home and give it one last kiss and hug before I banished it to the top shelf.
Déjà vu, anyone?
She’s giving me the stink eye whilst sitting on the potty. Nice attitude. Potty training sucks.
She fell asleep on the potty and dogonne it, I didn’t get a picture!
That moment when your kid starts to panic because she has to go pee pee WEALLY WEALLY BAD and you are stuck in traffic 15 minutes from home.
Dusted off Princess Celestia. It has been long forgotten. Added Apple Bloom to sweeten the deal.
I discovered 3 pillows and a plastic stool stacked on top of an ottoman, presumably so she could reach the one diaper I accidentally left sitting at the top of her wardrobe. The lengths one will go through. Nothing dangerous about this at all.
This is what we call, “Reckless Ingenuity.”
Without going into detail, she produced something today, the visual of which prompted her to tell me a Bible story. I don’t know whether to be proud or disgusted.
Stinkbutt declared she will say good-bye diapers for good on her birthday, which is, ummm, tomorrow. Well, as a matter of fact, she did start walking on her 1st birthday, so there could be some truth to this statement.
At the risk of jinxing myself, I am going to say that I think she is possibly, maybe, potentially on her way to being potty trained… for the most part. She goes to the bathroom on her own and even stays dry through the night. (Get OUT!) The real test was going on a Spring Break road trip to DC for 3 days and never having an accident. Not once. Well, except for the part where she threw up in the mini-van at the beginning of our 7 hour trip back home, but that’s beside the point! The main thing is, she stayed dry! Of course we had to make some special accommodations…
Rest stop = kiddie potty in a cardboard box in the back of the mini-van.
Also, with this child, there is always a caveat. She will not wear underwear, only Pull-ups. And unless she is in the comfort of her own home, she will not use any potty except her kiddie potty, which means, it still has to go wherever we go. That’s ok, though! It’s all good.
Took a semi-potty trained child camping at a music festival. Although, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this strategy, it did encourage progress in the form of “trial by fire”. When you are at a music festival, and your only choice of restroom is a port-a-potty, real restrooms, regardless of where they are, become a blessing. Although we did bring her kiddie potty to the campsite, it was NOT coming with us to the music festival. PERIOD. This caused a lot of angst and misery, but by the time we got home, she was over her fear of public restrooms. Now we don’t need to haul around the kiddie potty anymore. WOOT. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention that there was a certain irony to our camping location – a wastewater treatment plant, affectionately named Sewerfest.
I just bought Stinkbutt the cheapest brand of BOY pull-ups, one size smaller than what fits her in an attempt to make her hate Pull-ups and transition over to underwear for good. I am so over this!
Oh NO! What are all these used Pull-ups doing littered about the room?! There’s no way she could have reached her Pull-ups, which I had stored out of reach (or so I thought) in her closet. She has been fooling us all. I don’t know how she did it, and I don’t even want to know what ridiculously dangerous lengths she has gone through in order to reach them. To add insult to injury, she had a pee accident on the bathroom floor, and Big Sis slipped and fell in it. That’s it. I’m done.
At this point, I am feeling pretty been beaten down. Sensing my hopelessness, my wonderful husband took charge and made that Stinkbutt put on a pair of underwear today. If there was any screeching or drama, I didn’t notice because I have gone numb. The torch has been passed to him. Good luck with that, Buddy!
Wait what? She got up this morning and put on underwear on her own without any prompting – just one day after Daddy made her do it. Huh. He had some sort of transforming effect on her. Geez, if I had known she would respond this quickly to her daddy, I would have assigned this arduous task to my husband months ago! She is very proud of herself. I told her if she keeps it up for one week, we will declare her officially potty-trained, and Princess Celestia and Fluttershy can fly on down and join her kingdom of stuffed animals.
“Has it been a week yet? Has it? Has it?!”
So far so good…
Aaand she did it! At the ripe old age of 4 years and 3 months, she is officially potty-trained. I feel like we all just completed a marathon! Once she got a taste of how great underwear feels (and how much better your pants fit without Pull-ups), she never turned back. I joke that my husband had the magic touch, but really, I think she realized how disappointed we were when we found the used Pull-ups, and she made up her mind right then and there. Plus, I think she was ready for Princess Celestia and Apple Bloom to come down. I guess the pediatrician was right. She is not going to kindergarten in diapers after all!
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