Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marathon…check, Potty training…ummm…

Is it just me or does potty training always seem way harder than it ought to be?

I mean for crying out loud, I did just run 26.2 miles in the blazing sun amidst calf cramps, dehydration, hyponatremia, and race hitchhikers. You’d think I’d have the mental toughness to outwit my 2 year old right?

But I’m sooooooooooooooo dreading this (and yes, I realize the use of o’s is excessive, but it’s quite possible I may not have used enough).

And really this post has very extremely little to do with running (besides for my sorry attempt to connect the two topics like I did just a minute ago). But I am DESPERATE for someone out there to pass along their potty training words of wisdom before I face this next challenge. ‘Cause when your 2 year old quietly and mysteriously disappears around the corner and you ask them what they’re doing to which they respond (while red faced and grunting) “I’m poopin’.” Yep, it’s time.

Perhaps I should clarify “potty training words of wisdom” however. By this, what I really mean is the exact location of the store where I can buy the pill to crush and slip into one of her meals that will just magically make her start using the potty all on her own. THAT is the kind of advice I’m looking for.

Trust me. I’m WELL aware of many of the various strategies out there for potty training your precious little peanut. I’m a read all I can find on a subject before proceeding kind of mom, probably to a ridiculously annoying fault as many in my family would surely attest.

A couple of those strategies, I used on daughter #1. They worked. Well, almost. By 2 she for sure knew what she was supposed to be doing and by 2 1/2 we were pretty much accident free. Then Tiger Baby made her arrival  a few months later and the back slide was so fast it’d make your head spin.

What my little darling sensed was that like any mom with a newborn in the house, I was at my weakest (and ironically, if you think about it, also my strongest. Because despite the period of sheer and utter lack of self you are forced to go through when you bring a new baby home, a period which includes a MASSIVE amount of sleep deprivation, crying (baby’s not yours, although…), and massive amounts of apparel destruction via baby waste products, somehow you will STILL find a way to care for that little baby, the Bigs, and whatever other responsibilities can seemingly only be handled by you and you alone. It’s astounding really what moms are capable of even at their weakest moments which is exactly what makes moms so very undeniably and almost freakishly strong.)

But anyhow, sensing this weakness and recognizing a new outlet for my attention that had previously solely belonged to her and her alone, my daughter rebelled…with poop. I’ll spare you the details. But let’s just say, the big girl panties got put back in the drawers and I went back to the store for some more pull-ups. I just didn’t have it in me to fight THAT battle at the same time I was weaning Tiger Baby off her day time sleeping habit and nighttime feedings.

I figured instead of half you know whatin’ it, I’d just put all the potty training aside, give my girlie a chance to forget her new found mommy controlling techniques, and come back to it later, when I was sleeping a little more and thus at least somewhat more patient. Problem solved. She in her pull-ups and me with no more sorely destroyed panties to salvage or carpeting to clean.

For a little while, my plan worked. But then she rebelled again with? One guess. Yep, “It’s poop again!” (movie anyone?). Or actually, art supplies might perhaps be a better term for her weapon of choice during The Great 2nd Uprising.  Being that I am not particularly fond of wall murals anyway, at least not of the wretchedly scented variety, and that I had pretty much had it at that point, I did the only thing left I could think of at the time. I issued a massive threat.

Note to reader: To properly re-enact the situation that follows, you’ll need to read my lines in your most serious mom voice. As for my daughter, you’ll need to mimic your child’s “oh I’m so innocent I have no idea what you’re talking about except that I so completely do and am not really sure if this is gonna work out for me in the end” voice. (And I know you know exactly that to which I refer).

“Alright look,” I told my wide eyed almost 3 year old after she had just ripped off her pull up and attempted to pee down the heating vent in her room (told you she was rebelling. It was a massive battle of wills with that one). “I. Have. Had it. With you not going in the potty. You are a big girl now. Aren’t you?”

“Yes, mamma” replied the culprit sheepishly.

“You know where your pee pee and poo poo go. Don’t you?” I continued.

“Yes, mamma. The potty.” she responded.

“Well, I’m sick of changing your diaper. You are too big and it’s disgusting and I don’t like it.”

Silence. Worried eyes.

“So, do you know what I’m going to do from now on?”

She shakes her head no.

“I’m not changing your diaper anymore.”

She looks shocked. Laughs nervously and asks softly, “Who’s gonna change my diaper mamma?”

“Nobody.” I replied emphatically. “You are a big girl. You are going to wear big girl panties. You are going to go in the potty. (Pause for dramatic effect) If you don’t and you have an accident, then I am going to take your panties off and put a diaper on you like a little girl wears because little girls wear diapers not big girls like you. But, I only have night time diapers left, and when do you wear night time diapers?”

“When I go to bed?” she answered, sort of.

“That’s right. So if I put a night time diaper on you, I am also going to put you to bed. Do you understand?” I asked.

“Yes, mamma,” she told me sealing her fate and signaling the official end of diapers in her world. I made her repeat it.

For a couple of days after that,  it was almost as if a small miracle had occurred. No diapers. No accidents. It was a whole new world at my house. But eventually and inevitably I suppose, she tried to call my bluff.

She peed her pants. It was about 10:00 in the morning and she walked right over admitting her crime, though somewhat nervously. Only problem for her was, I wasn’t bluffing. Without saying much other than to remind her of the new rule, I took the wet clothes off, put on a night time diaper and put her to bed. She was sobbing of course, but I shut the door and walked away anyway.

Now, before you call social services on me for shutting my kid up in her room all day, you should know, I don’t even think she was in there for 10 minutes. I let her cry for a little bit and then walked back in, talked to her and gave her “one more chance”.

The good news: It totally worked. I highly doubt you’re going to find THAT strategy in a book anywhere, but she’s not had an accident since.

And that’s my whole potty training experience. In the end, I guess you could say things worked out. I mean, I don’t have a quickly closing in on 5 year old smearing excrement on the walls or anything. So I’m gonna go ahead and call it a success. Though not fun. Not fun at all.

But what I fear is, in a mere 2 years Tiger Baby has already made it glaringly obvious that she does not have a will that will be easily broken. Hence the whole name Tiger Baby, which was assigned sometime between trying to wrangle her like a wild animal to put clothes on and her tossing her toddler mattress around like a WWE wrestler before flipping it over and ripping the stuffing out of it with her little tiger claws. And so IF it becomes a battle of wills with this one, I’m afraid victory may not be within my grasp.

Wish me luck people. This ain’t no marathon…

 'Til next time...

P.S. Poo in case you’re wondering is totally NOT accepted by spell check along with many of the other dandy doosies in this post…including for that matter, doosie.


runnanna said...

You can even be hilarious about poop! Good luck tiger momma!

Meredith said...

I totally relate! Potty training my oldest was done in stages as well. Dreading going through it one more time!!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Good luck! I still have one more to go and people tell me that boys are not as easy as girls (my firt two). We shall see. Thank goodness for wooden floors throughout the house...makes for easier clean up than carpet. :)

Heather said...

I totally love the way you connected potty training with marathons.
If Tiger-Baby is willfull...try reverse psych. Tell her she has to stay a baby and she must absolutely not put the poop in the potty!
It may cost you some therpay later, but it might be worth it.
(I myself have used the naked method, the backyard method, and the bribing method. I haven't tried the reverse psych method, but I may with this last one.)

Angela said...

I'm having potty training issues with my almost three year old right now. My first one was a dream. She went to the potty when I did and then one day she just started going by herself. My youngest is a NIGHTMARE that I cannot wake up from. She will sit on the potty from anywhere from an hour to hour an half and do nothing. Put a pull-up on her and she goes automatically. I'm going to win one day I just know it.

Zaneta said...

haha! awesome strategy!! So glad it worked! :)

Bubbie & Syssie's Mommy said...

Ohhh how I look forward to your advice, and a good laugh every day! Thank you thank you thank you :)

Judy said...

I read all the potty training books too. They're crap (pun intended). I had to force my 1st child (boy) to finally use the potty around 3.5. Once he learned that life would not end if he peed in the potty he trained pretty quickly. I tried the same method on my 2 year old girl and it back fired. So I gave up for about 6 mths and then suddenly she was ready and all it took was some rewards and constant reminders. There is no magic bullet but I have heard if you jump backwards in a circle ten times under the light of a full blue moon your child will be potty trained in less than one day.

rachel @ perfectly imperfect said...

i'm calling child services... no- that's a complete lie- you're a genius! my 4 1/2 year old keeps peeing in random places (mostly at home, THANK GOODNESS), and i'm about to go ballistic. so call DCFS on me- i threatened to throw away her bed & her chair if she pees on them one more time. (how will i follow through on that one?)
so what did she do? PULLED THE STUFFING OUT OF HER PULL-UP & sprinkled it around her room. AFTER she peed in it.
i'm training for my 1st marathon (december 4!), and i would rather run 50 miles than potty train my 2 year old. or keep dealing with my 4 year old's pee!

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

Good luck!!!!