Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You’d think I’d be a pro by now

Warning, this is a blatantly mommy-blogging post about potty training. My apologies in advance.

At the beginning of the summer, I made a few half-hearted attempts at getting Elizabeth to use the potty. She didn’t seem ready, so I didn’t push. I learned with Ella that turning the process into a power struggle just makes it take longer.

Then we went to my parents’ house, and I wasn’t willing to let Elizabeth run around naked and pee on the Oriental rugs (You’re welcome, knittergran). After three weeks there, we came home to absolute chaos, what with the moving from house to house for a month, and I decided not to add to mess by trying to potty train Elizabeth then.

We’ve been in our cute little rental house since the end of August, and we’ve all settled into some semblance of routine and order. That, coupled with the fact that Elizabeth turned three last week, made realize it’s time to get her out of diapers. Her preschool teacher, who is an angel, was completely on board. Elizabeth is the only one in the class who still wears diapers.

So, on her third birthday, we took away the diapers. And it did not go well. She wore panties all morning at school, and held her pee the whole time. She must have a bladder made of steel. Despite my sitting her on the potty every fifteen minutes and offering lots of bribes, she didn’t do anything. But she did pee on the floor three times. Our floors are really clean now, thanks to all the bleach wipes I’ve been using.

It’s been a week, and things haven’t gotten much better. When she’s not at school, Elizabeth runs around bare-butt naked, refusing to put on underpants. Yesterday she was outside playing with Ella and her friends, naked as a jaybird.

She’ll sit on the potty without a problem. We have it in the middle of the living room like a throne. We let her watch TV or play on our iPhones while she sits on it. And the rare times she does actually do something in the potty, she gets happy dances and cheers and M&Ms.

Most of the time, though, she’ll sit on the potty for 20 pointless minutes, get up, walk across the room and pee on the floor. Each time she has the nerve to look surprised – “Mama, I peed?!”

I am running out of ideas. Bribes of M&Ms don’t work. Sticker rewards don’t work. Doing happy pee in the potty dances with her doesn’t work either.

People have suggested we take a break and go back to diapers, but I hate to go that route now that we’ve already started. I don’t want to use pull-ups because Elizabeth thinks they are just fancy diapers.

So I continue to let her run around naked and to mop up the puddles she leaves behind. You’d think that on the fourth kid, I have this whole potty training thing down cold.


Unknown said...

oy, no advice, just a cyber hug.

knittergran said...

No advice either, just OMG!!!

jennyp said...

I tell everyone that potty training is the hardest part of raising small children. If it helps, I didn't even try to train my boys until they were 3 - I didn't want the battle. I hope things get better soon!

Ann in NJ said...

Every child is different - as you well know. My only suggestion is old-fashioned training pants. She'll feel the wet but not make a puddle (more laundry though). And with my oldest, we had to come up with more incentive than stickers or candy. If he could pee in the potty x number of times, he got a toy from a catalog that he was dying for. I don't even remember what we did for the other two - but the whole process was miserable.

Magical Me! said...

The only thing that remotely worked with my middle one was keeping her in panties and making her wash them out and clean up the messes herself. It wasn't a ,oracle cure by any means, she was well past 4 when I officially considered her potty trained, but at least after the first few times she was pretty good at taking care of her own mess.

Hugs from Alabama.

Baino said...

You could try rubbing her nose in it?

Unknown said...

I know you've probably heard it a million times, but she'll get it when she gets it. She's not going to graduate in diapers or anything. My first was a breeze, the second was so hard she finally got it right before pre-school started, after I had basically given up.

Liz @ ewmcguire said...

Have you told her that Santa loves potty-trained kids best? Kidding kidding.

I say you pretend like you couldn't care less about it and maybe she will change her tune. 3yo's love being in charge, right?

Susan said...

As you know and has been said here- it isn't the method, it is the kid. She is a willful one. Perhaps a large supply of panties and having her clean up after herself is the key.

shrink on the couch said...

Some of my least favorite parenting moments involve potty training, night training the worst. Mommy is a moody sumgum changing sheets at 3am. I am apt to agree that since she is showing so little interest in the potty, I'd have to agree with Ann in NJ (Jersey girls think alike) on the big girl panties plus plastic pants (no more diapers) and Liz@PLG - act like you don't care (other than insisting on panties plus plastic)?? Tough situation, the whole peeing on floor 3 feet from the potty seat. I do think so much upheaval has probably thrown her into something of a developmental holding pattern - so a little more time is probably the trick.

Alexandra said...

I have never potty trained a girl...I can't help you.

Girls are so different, you know??