Warning: if you are repulsed by little humans learning to use the bathroom like big humans please do not keep reading. We are talkin’ about the nitty gritty today- the poop and the pee, people. There. You’ve been warned.
We’ve finally hit the stage of parenting that I have been dreading since the day I found out I was pregnant- potty training, dun dun dunnnnn…. I was 12 when my brother Sam was born and so should remember going through potty training with him. But I have no recollection whatsoever about what that time in my family’s life was like. Must have blocked it out. Must have been bad. Must have traumatized me.
But honestly this is seriously the only thing I have truly dreaded about being a Mom (honestly seriously)- like call-my-own-Mom-and-have-eighteen-hundred-million-phone-conversations-about-my-tactics dreading that is saved for special occasions.
I’ve been reading and researching and scheming and
pinning planning how best to go about teaching Lilly to use the bathroom “like a big girl”. But lo and behold, my not yet two and a half year old decided to beat us to the punch- again. First with her big girl bunk beds and now with nixing the diapers, Lilly has been first to initiate these exciting life changes before Brandon and I have officially set any plans in motion.
On a Saturday morning in July, Lilly ran over to me and told me she had to poop on the potty. It was like the heavens opened up and filled the room with sunshine. Could it be that easy? We ran to the bathroom and celebrated Lilly’s first bathroom accomplishment. That very same day we went out and bought a potty and a “Dream Light” as Lilly’s special prize for being such a big girl. We were all thrilled.
But then it all stopped. Poof! Lilly hit the brakes and for a few more weeks wouldn’t even go near the potty. She desperately wanted a diaper on at all times and had no interest in even trying to sit on her little potty. She never wanted to be nakey butt and was perpetually very scared of peeing on the floor (ha). So we backed off and didn’t make a big deal out of her change of heart- just let our lives go about like normal. No pushing (or shoving).
And once again, just a few weeks ago, Lilly wasn’t quite dressed after a bath when she ran into the room screaming that she peed on the potty. I didn’t really believe her but upon checking the potty I screamed too. We did a happy dance together once again celebrating her good job. I specifically said, “Lilly, I’m so proud of you, you are a big girl now, and I’m very, VERY excited to tell Daddy!”
We bought real undies (that Lilly calls unders) and never looked back.
Fortunately, there have been very few accidents. Unfortunately my days are now 90% filled with potty talk. I have a personal bathroom cheerleader- she’s just as proud of me as I am of her. And every stranger in town has seen Lill’s little undie covered behind as she is more than willing to [show and] tell everyone what’s going on behind [semi] closed doors.
More unfortunately I can no longer pee in peace- Lilly’s hovering over me saying, “Mommy, I’m so proud of you, you are a big girl now, and I’m very, VERY excited to tell Daddy! … and MomMom. Let’s call and tell MomMom you peed. Call PopPop and PapPap too. Let’s call Grammy and Haley and tell them you peed! Yay!” You hear that family? Might not wanna answer those phone calls… just sayin’.
And all day long…”Mommy, please don’t pee in your unders or that will be very messy and you would feel cry.” (Thank you for the reminder, Lilly, I will do my very best not to pee in my unders today.)
While at Target, “Mom, do you have to pee? Don’t pee in your unders!” – said in nothing short of a panicky screech.
“Let me check, Mom, did you poop?”
“Oh, just pee? Try one more time to poop, Mom.” Who’s training who?!
Seriously. Yes. This is what we do now. Every day. All day.
Not to mention Lilly’s mastered art of sitting on her potty while directing me to sit on mine and having a meaning-of-life conversation together in the bathroom like two old birds playing bingo. I can’t exactly tell her to get off the pottywhen in her mind she’s just trying to pee on the pottyeven if that means waiting twenty (thirty? forty?) minutes to do so. If you know what my downstairs bathroom looks like this scene is even funnier given that while sitting on the (big human) toilet, your knees practically touch the sink which is right above Lilly’s little potty. Think of the bathrooms on an airplane- it’s like that.
So YAY potting training is awesome!! (………………..)
But on a more serious note, I think kids naturally have a little bit of intuition in these “big deal” matters we parents obsess about. Sleeping in a big kid bed, weaning from a bottle, pacifier obsessions, potty training, lovie toting…all are innately attached to various parts of their lives for a reason and pushing a kid, any kid, toward any goal that they simply aren’t ready to achieve just sets everyone up for failure and frustration or worse- anger and shame. Every child is different and something I’m learning to love is actually listening to my babe. Not just the adorable phrases coming out of her mouth, but all of the informational cues she is giving me each and every day. Body language, maturity, understanding, attention span, patience- all of these qualities play a role in helping [not just children but] all people communicate. If we try a little harder to listen to all of these cues, I think there can be better mutual understanding between parent and child. Please don’t get me wrong, I know there are times and situations when it is either medically or emotionally necessary to give our children a little extra push. But when nothing more than a few diapers is at stake? Try letting your child dictate what time is the right time.
So Lilly still sleeps in a pull-up that is maybe eight times out of ten dry in the morning. She has a little pee accident every couple of days when she is really tired, or really distracted by something fun. But she catches herself and bolts to the bathroom like lightning. We’re now even more freaking obsessed with hand washing and hand sanitizer than we were pre-potty training which I guess isn’t so bad considering Gracie’s situation.
But we are making strides. Barely two and half and our first born beauty is almost out of diapers. I’m digging that but by no means am I expecting the same from Grace. Brandon and I will approach her potty training days in the same way- without an approach- and listen for Grace’s signs to show up that she, too, is ready to be a big girl. For now, I’m ready for Grace to be a LITTLE girl for just a little bit longer.
There’s only so much potty cheerleading I can take! Ugh.