Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Potty-Training Bootcamp

"I don't think it's as hard as you're making it out to be."

This was my mother, Sunday morning, right after I told her I was about to wimp out on potty-training. Let me digress.

I dropped Norah off at daycare on Friday, and the teacher cornered me, inquiring about potty training.

Teacher: So, how's potty training going?
Me: Pretty terribly.
Teacher: Well, This Other Kid will be doing an intensive potty-training session over the weekend. If you and Ryan wanted to do that, then I could train both of them next week. It's more effective when more than one child is being trained.
Me: Huh. I, uh, suppose. We. Could. Maybe. Do that. Huh.
Teacher: Great! See you next week.


So, we had planned to go to our friends' place on Saturday, but Norah was ill. We chilled all day. Then Sunday came.

Me: Norah's still coughing. I think we should wait until next weekend.
Ryan: Good idea.


Me: I'm scared. This is going to suck. I don't want to do it. I'm not mentally prepared. I am not ready for the next phase. I don't want to plan our lives around bathrooms. I don't want to deal with accidents. I don't want to force her if she's not ready and make it harder than it would be if she were ready. I fear change.
Ryan: Ditto.

Then I called my mom to tell her we were postponing, and I got the message you read on top. And I listen to my mom. She's smart. And I felt somehow if we didn't do it, we'd be screwing over the teacher and This Other Kid. So we put Norah in underwear and let it ride.


  • We put her in uns.
  • We put her on the pot every 30 minutes.
  • When she peed, we reset the timer.
  • Then we regrouped and decided 25 minutes was better. 
  • Then we decided that if she didn't go during the potty time, to set the timer to 15 minutes. 25 after a pee.
  • We used tons of positive reinforcement, i.e. cheering and M&Ms. 
  • When there was an accident, we told her it was okay, and reminded her to think of how it felt before she went and to tell mom and dad if she has to go, etc. 
  • We made an Undie Bucket. We filled it with clean uns and told her that we wanted to have at least one pair still in the bucket at the end of the day. But the bucket got stepped on and broke (stupid knock-off Tupperware). We abandoned this. It was dumb anyway. We just read that we're supposed to make it fun. Hooray. Fun.

Here are our stats:
Sunday: 5 1/2 successes, 5 1/2 accidents. (We didn't start right away in the morning.)
Monday (Ryan was off): 10 1/2 successes, 7 1/2 accidents

(1/2's mean that she told us she had to go, but then she did immediately, and we only got her on the pot half way through.)

And here are some gruesome highlights. Warning: Not for the faint-of-heart:
Norah sitting on the potty for 20 minutes, not wanting to get off. I finally stand her up and shimmy up her uns, and she pees. This happened at least three times.

Two "number twos" on Monday. One success. One horrible, gag-inducing, non-success. And a bonus bath for Norah.

Auntie Sarah got Norah an Undie Day present of Moon-Dough. Moon-Dough is kind of awesome. But between that and the urine, we'll be replacing our carpet in the near future.

Ryan noticing some fidgeting or fiddling with private area and asking, "Norah, do you have to go potty?" and her saying, "Noooo," and then peeing 30 seconds later.

Me, never wanting to run down the street screaming obscenities while tearing my hair out more in my whole life. But squashing that urge down and saying, "That's okay, Honey. Remember to tell Mama if you have to pee. Or just sit on your potty, okay?"

Major worries that she'll never "get it." Well, "never" isn't accurate, obviously. High schoolers generally use the facilities when they have to go. But in the moment, it's a life-sentence.

A mix of fear, jubilation, and guilt. Fear of sending her to school in uns. Jubilation that someone else will be taking care of it and training today. Guilt because you've never been happy about sending Norah to daycare before.

And one kick-ass success:
This morning we removed the diaper. She peed on the potty. Then she ran to me and said, "I need my underwear. I'm a big girl." Wow.

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