Monday, August 1, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

The Half A$$ Method

I never wanted to potty train Maisy.  As my baby, and my last child, I am not emotionally prepared to lose all the things that keep her as "Baby Maisy", even though she proudly declares each day "I'm a BIG girl," while sucking her index and middle finger. 

However, Maisy began insisting on a new diaper every time she peed.  Who does she think she is: the queen of England?  "Sweetie," I calmly informed her, "come find me when you have gone three times."

At two years of age, my reasoning attempts were futile.  Ultimately I had to choose between potty training, or finding a website to order Pampers at whole stock prices to keep up with her demands.  At this point, I figured potty training was the lesser of the two chores.

My approach to potty training, as with my approach to most baby/toddler training hurdles is to distribute the responsibility to as many people as possible.  I was fortunate enough to have a willing babysitter, an eager older daughter, and a preschool that assists in potty training.

My approach also differs extensively from any formal potty training program, and is centered around bribery (M&M's, sticker books, small toys).  I call it the "10 Day+ Method".

Day 1-
Potty training began on a Thursday.  As is the San Francisco summer, the weather was grim, so Maisy and her babysitter were happy to spend the morning inside playing pantless while freely drinking juice boxes (this helped provide lots of opportunities to use the potty).  They would sit on the potty every 45 minutes, or so, and see what happened.  According to the babysitter's report, Maisy had a few accidents, and a few successes.  Each success was rewarded with an M&M.  Each accident was cleaned up.

Day 2-
On the second day I sent a diaperless Maisy to preschool (along with many changes of clothing). Luckily for me, the preschool was willing to assist in the training.  However, at pick-up time, Maisy was sent home with a plastic bag containing three pairs of wet pants.

Day 3-
I also was able to con Maisy's big sister into taking on a large portion of the duties.  If Elana took Maisy to the potty, both of them got an M&M.  Elana was a more than willing participant, and not only for the candy covered chocolate- she loves any opportunity to boss around her baby sister.

Maisy had no accidents this day!

Day 4-
Feeling confident in my potty-training ability, and Maisy's newly acquired bladder control, I decided to take the girls to the gym for a bit of Kid's Club (just the gym's fancy way of saying daycare) and a swim.  Maisy was great in Kid's Club, and in the pool, but the post-swim shower, in the large communal shower room, was more eventful.

I had successfully shampooed and conditioned each girl's hair and was rinsing out their bathing suits when Maisy yelled "pooooop".  I looked over to find her squatting by the drain.  "Maisy," I called, "Quick, let's go potty!'  But, I was too late.  Let's just say that I was both disgusted and highly embarrassed. 

Day 6-
After a few days of pee pee success, Maisy has decided that her diaper-free status should become permanent, even during the night.  Most unfortunately, she decided this on the night one of my best friends was watching the children; it was date night.

As a tough Aussie, Trudi isn't easily manipulated by toddlers, but when we returned from dinner, Maisy was passed out naked in her crib while Trudi drank Sauvignon Blanc straight from the bottle.  It seemed that repeated attempts to force the screaming, kicking, demonic two-year-old into a pull-up and pj's was even too much of a challenge for the Thunder from Down Under.

Ted carefully snuck into Maisy's room and diapered and pajamaed the sleepy babe.  All was well until midnight.  That is when Maisy woke up the entire house screaming, "I will not wear a diaper."  Maisy had taken off every piece of clothing, including diaper, and thrown them as far from the crib as possible.

"Ok, you win.  Now, go to sleep!"  Maisy slept naked that night.

Day 7-
I woke up the next morning to a crib mattress covered in pee and a new nighttime plan: cut off the feet of a pair of old zip-up, one-piece, footed pajamas and dress her backwards (with the zipper up the back, she is helpless to undress herself in the wee (wee-wee?) morning hours).  Ted was impressed with my ingenuity.  "It's like a straight jacket," he exclaimed.

To my surprise Maisy barely protested the new pajama system.  (I guess that the novelty of the situation was a nice distraction.)  After only a few nights using this method, Maisy no longer objected to her nightly diaper. 

Day 12-
Nearly two weeks into our attempts to potty train Maisy, we take a short flight from to Salt Lake City.  Although Maisy had adamantly denied the need to go potty each time we propted her, as soon as the cockpit began its descent, Maisy started grabbing her crotch, crying "Pee-Pee!!!"

The glory of the situation was that we were in a small aircraft, with only two seats in each row, and Maisy was sitting next to Ted.  The seatbelt sign had been lit for a good five minutes and the flight attendants had already taken their seats- there was no rearranging of seats.  So Ted preformed an amazing feat- the mid-descent pee pee in the portable potty, all without unbuckling his seatbelt!  I had never been so proud of my husband.

We are now over three weeks into our adventures in potty-training.  Maisy routinely informs us of her needs and rarely has a pee-pee accident.  Poop is a whole other story.  She still refuses to use the potty for #2.  However, since she is a slightly constipated child, and only poops every two to three days, I don't mind cleaning the occasional soiled bottom and diaper (and with any luck she will accomplish one or two of these poos while in the care of someone else).

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