Friday, May 27, 2011

Patient Parenting

I didn't think I'd be talking about potty training in public. Heck, I never thought I'd talk about potty training. I figured by this point in my life I'd have a nanny to take care of every difficult parenting task (because I would have won the lottery) OR the Potty Fairy would come and take care of it over night.

I've been anxious to start potty training, simply because as my belly expands I want to take care of this skill before it becomes nearly impossible to haul Hannah around. If I don't potty train before the baby comes I'll have two kids in diapers. Forget about it! That is super expensive for a family living on a teacher's salary. It's not about the mess or the incontinence of changing a diaper. It is the cost. If I wasn't worried about money I would have her in diapers until she was 7 out of the sheer convince of being able to do whatever you want without worrying about dropping everything.

We've been talking up "potty" for a couple of weeks. When Hannah's own potty arrived in the mail we had a potty party. The first night Adam let her sit down and she actually used the potty, we were so ecstatic.

That was a few days ago. Today we started "the training." I shouldn't have gone to bed every night this week at 11:30. Bad first move. The day was extremely stressful. As the day wore on, each time we dashed her to the bathroom she became increasingly wary of the potty. She didn't want to sit on it. I think she likes the comfort of something wrapped around her tummy as she goes. She has been wearing undies all fact, we've gone through about 15 pairs today.

Of all the things I learned, the hardest one came in the afternoon when after an accident and a rush to the potty Hannah had a break down. I'm very much a believer in making it a positive experience and I've never scolded her or told her she's done anything bad, I've just told her going potty on the floor is "yucky" and being wet is "yucky." After this particularly bad accident I could see the defeat in her little face. "What is going on Mommy," it seemed to say. "I don't understand what I'm supposed to be doing." She stood there sobbing, frustrated. I did something that my former self, the one that wasn't a mother, would never have done.

I picked up my daughter, dripping wet, and laid her across my lap like a baby. I rocked her and sang to her. She melted into my arms, holding on to me tight. As frustrated as I was I couldn't comprehend how she must be feeling, making mistake after mistake all day long, spending the whole day talking about potty, being wet, being rushed to the bathroom, going through the cleanup process....she was tired of it. I kept reassuring her that it is hard to learn new things. That being a big girl was hard. That everything takes time. I asked her if she wanted to say a prayer so we prayed for patience and help and understanding. I wonder if God hears as many potty training prayers as he hears prayers for ailments because I've been praying for her all day. After one of my prayers, Hannah folded her arms and said "Heaven Father, Please help Hannah Potty, Amen." I'm sure he heard that one.

I'm giving it three days. If by the end of the three days, she is obviously not ready to continue forward then I will pull the plug and we can try again another time. Maybe in another month and a half...maybe in another five...who knows. If I can't do it by mid July I know I'll have to wait until the baby comes. It already put a huge strain on my body today lugging her around I was sure I would go into labor.

Tonight I'll look back and be grateful for the 25 years I spent not potty training another human.


Georgia said...

Potty training is one of the most stressful situations for a new parent...until the child is COMPLETELY ready. My children were three and a half years apart (except for Bryan and Camille who are only 2 years and 11 months apart) so it worked out well having one trained before the next one came along and I thought I had it down when we got Bryan taken care of several months before his new little sister was born. Boy was I wrong. Having the new baby in the house threw him right back into accidents and traumas galore. So I put him back into diapers and figured we'd work on it again in a few months. That was the key, the next time he was less stressed and really ready it it truly was a matter of about 4-5 days and it was done and done.

I think your plan to just put the whole thing away for a while but just keep talking about it and how wonderful it is to wear "big girl" panties will make it a breeze the next time. Who knows, she may even ask for her potty in a few weeks and you can build the anticipation and make her look forward to restarting the process.

GOOD LUCK to you both!! And get ready to start searching out the public restrooms in every single place you EVER go now.

Lesley said...

I tried to potty train Ashleigh around her second birthday which was in May. I quickly became aware that the timing wasn't right. But summer was just beginning, and the other kids were getting out of school, and so I decided that I would wait until summer break was over and start the second week of school. The reason I chose the second week of school was because I knew there would be a lot of back-to-school things that would need my attention. School started and what do you think happened? Ashleigh wanted to go potty. But it was the first week of school and I wasn't ready... but it didn't matter, she was. She was trained in just a couple of days... during the first week of school:-) It will happen. Good luck!