Thursday, November 7, 2013

I Always Knew I Wasn't Cut Out for This...

In case you haven't heard me blathering on about it yet, Abby is three. Wonderful, glorious Three.

And still, we have not potty-trained.

A lot of the fault lies with me, I suspect. Of all of the things to be terrified of going into parenting, potty-training has been near the top of my list, always and forever. There it remains, largely because I have not yet had the courage to dive in and try it out. I have yet to conquer.

Sure, I've dipped in my big toe. I've cajoled and bribed, and had "practice" sessions galore. They've all gone nowhere. I've waited and hoped that one day- magically- Abby would think that the potty was the bee's knees and beg me for the chance to try it out.

I'm pretty conviced that day is never going to come, and I'm starting to feel guilty about the fact that she's getting so far into her toddlerhood and I haven't even given the process "the old college try." In an effort to help me get started, Mima gifted Abby a princess potty and "big girl" panties and camisoles, to be offered in the name of the "Potty Fairy" (it's a stretch, I know, but hey- the Binky Fairy worked, right?).

Now that the party is behind us and we're closing in on a weekend, I thought that today might be a good day to open up the gifts and get started. When Michael and Mia went down for their naps, I took the opportunity.

It started off better than I could have hoped. Abby gushed over the panties, and the potty? It was love at first sight.

I'd read it's best to start off pants-less, however, so we did. I let her draw and play with stickers, and every five minutes we sat. I wasn't sure how long I should have her sit for, but I figured things should happen within the first minute or so, so when they didn't I took her off again.

For perhaps 40 minutes, all we did was try and wait, with nothing to report. I couldn't get her to drink anything, but she did accept a puree pouch, which I hoped would get some stuff moving. It did, and instinct plus a well-honed sense of smell and (mostly) luck of timing allowed me to scoop her up and get her onto the potty in the nick of time for her first, and only, success.

It was two more hours before I saw anymore activity, and when it happened it was all over her new panties and pants, which I finally put on her when we had to move down to the carpeted basement with a freshly-rested Michael. She seemed alarmed, which I thought hopeful- it meant that the experience was very different from wearing a diaper, and would help her to make previously unrecognized associations. "I'm not pooping!" she groaned, as the wetness spread.

Unsurprised, I kept my calm, cleaned her up and had her help me dab at the spot on the rug where she'd been standing. I felt pretty confident that things were going just as they should be. Until about fifteen minutes later, when it happened again, and she'd made no move to approach the potty in-between sitting sessions (which I'd stretched to ten or more minutes apart out of exhaustion and distraction with the care of her two siblings). Even so, I figured it was just taking some time for her to figure out.

What really started to get frustrating was when she began to first resist sitting down, and then resist getting back up again. It seemed that the prospect of wetting herself again scared her, and I empathized, but I wanted her to begin associating the feelings preceding her accidents with the need to go. I didn't think it was going to do her any good to sit around indefinitely and wait for things to happen. So we argued, and struggled. Over, and over again. A fight to sit, a fight to stand, a fight to get her to keep her legs in an appropriate position while sitting.

I began to run low on steam and patience rather quickly, and it occurred to me then that I really had no clue what I was doing after all.

Her third slip-up was during dinner, even though I'd brought the potty up and put it close by. She reacted as it was happening, but didn't say a word beforehand. It seems she's just not identifying the sensations that should serve to guide her. Yet, anyway.

I'm left to wonder if that means she's really not ready, or if I just need to allow her to fail some more to put two and two together. By the evening, she was asking for a diaper, and I was tempted to just give her one.

In the end, she needed one for overnight. What will happen in the morning, I really can't say.


  1. You are totally cut out for this and you will triumph because Abby will get trained. She's a smart girl and you're a great mom so it will work out.

  2. PS -- I don't blame you at all for dreading this process. Wouldn't it be nice if there were something like a Potty Whisperer hotline?

    1. Yes, so much! I've offered up my experience on an online mommy group fishing for suggestions and so far I'm hearing crickets...

    2. Hmm. Just wait! You may be sorry you asked...

  3. You have to give it time...Lucas peed in his big boy underwear for probably 3 days until he started using the potty regularly. You just have to stay consistent and keep trying. She will get it! Don't give up, it just takes time & a lot of laundering :)

    1. Good to hear! We're pressing on today; guess we'll just have to see what happens.