I hate potty training. It’s been one week and I want to kill myself. I am slowly succeeding through my newfound alcoholism. I haven’t awakened in a gutter yet but it would be preferable to going through another potty training session.
I just read some articles on potty training. They call it “an exciting time” and tout “no more diapers.” Lies. Potty training sucks and I would gladly change Rose’s diapers until she goes to college in order to avoid the whole thing. But I’m making generalizations. Let me walk you through a typical potty session.
“I pee in the potty,” Rose says, running to the bathroom. She pulls down her pants, steps out of them, does the same with her pull-up diaper. She steps up on the stool in front of the toilet, turns around holding my hand and sits on the potty seat, too close to the front.
“Scootch back a little, Sweetie,” I say, as I physically direct her.
Scootched back, she looks between her legs and begins to pee. “Good job, Baby!” I say. She stands up.
“Ok, now wipe,” I say, handing her a few sheets of toilet paper. “Wipe front to back,” I say, demonstrating. She wipes back and forth, turns the paper over, wipes again. “Put it in the potty,” I say. With great relish, she does, then she flushes.
“I pee again,” she says, climbing back up on the stool.
“No, you’re done,” I say. “We pee once and we walk away.”
“I pee again,” she says.
“No sweetie. Just put your pull up on.”
“I pee again,” she says.
“Fine, pee again.” She pees a few drops.
“Ok,” I say, handing her the paper. She wipes and throws the paper in the toilet.
“Ok, flush,” I say.
“I pee again!”
“No, Sweetie, please just flush,” I plead.
She flushes and bows her head directly over the toilet to watch the paper go down. “Good job! Pick your head up, Honey, ” I say. Her head inches up. She tries to flush again. “It won’t work, Sweetie. It’s too soon,” I say. She tries again. “Put your pull-up on.”
“Put your pull up on,” I say, more forcefully.
“No. I pee again.”
“Rose, we cannot spend all day in the bathroom. We pee; we wipe; we walk away. If we spent all day in the bathroom we’d never have time to play or eat or run or jump. Now…put…your…pull-up…on,” I say through gritted teeth.
“Put your pull up on or you get a timeout.” You’re not supposed to say anything negative, but what am I supposed to do? She’s got to learn to get the pull-up on.
“I sit here,” she says, sitting on the stool and putting one foot into the pull-ups. I guide it and the other foot to their respective leg holes.
“Ok, Wash your hands.”
Rose moves the stool over to the sink. “Get the soap!” she says. I pump some on her hands. I turn the sink on and she rubs her hands, then puts them in the faucet’s flow and splashes water all over herself and the counter. I throw out her old diaper; turn the sink off.
“Ok, dry your hands,” I say, handing her the hand towel.
She yanks it off the towel rack, rubs her little hands on it.”Let me put it back,” I say.
“No! I put it back!” she says. She climbs off the stool, moves the stool three inches toward the towel rack, climbs back on and strains her body toward the towel rack, clutching the towel. The towel just touches the bottom of the rack. I grab the corner, pull it over, say “Pull,” and she pulls the wrong end of the towel. “No, Baby, this side,” I say, shaking it. She obliges, then attempts to jump off the plastic resin stool. “That’s not a good thing to jump off. It can kick back and you’ll fall on your face,” I say, grabbing her arms. She steps down and runs into the living room. I go to the bar and mix a drink.
Our babysitter tells me I’m supposed to sit her on the potty every half hour. That would be impossible because each pee attempt takes forty minutes. I haven’t even mentioned pooping but I will summarize. Rose will tell me she has to poop; we’ll go to the potty; she’ll take down her pull up and the poop will already be there. She has gone a couple of times in the potty, the first in the standalone potty, and let me just say “Eeew.” That’s when I bought the potty seat for the toilet. Anyway we use wipes to wipe poop but she wants to do it herself. I think that’s a completely different level of wiping expertise so we’re not going there yet. I have no idea if I’ve gotten it all if she’s standing up so I try to take her to her changing table after a poop, wipe her and have her put her pull-up on. Then I go to the bar and mix a drink.
We cannot continue like this. I think we both know that. Rose’s psyche and my sobriety are at stake. My plan is to start a positive reinforcement schedule, offering a sticker if she gets up from the potty and puts her pull up on. If she tires of stickers, I’ll trade up to a toy. I’m prepared to upgrade her reward all the way to a pony, if necessary. I just read that the average time it takes to potty train a kid is eight months. If it takes that long, we’ll go back to Plan A – diapers until college. In the meantime, I’m stocking up on booze and locking up the sharp objects.