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“Mommy I have to go potty!”

Ah, potty training. Is there a more wonderful thing in all the world? I think not.

My daughter Madison will be three in October. As of last week, she was still going in a diaper and I, her mother was changing her (sorry – little potty book humor for you moms out there). We tried going cold turkey to panties before, all it got me was a week of cleaning her messes off my floors, carpet and whatever toys she trailed across in her rush to tell me she was going potty. We tried bribing her. For a week she got a new play-doh item every time she went in the potty. For a week, she was perfect. Her motivation ran out as soon as the toys did.

Part of me wants to say she’s too smart for her own good. That she obviously knows it’s far easier to have Mommy (or Daddy) clean her up than to do it herself. So she’s intentionally deciding to continue with the diaper. But I know that’s just vanity – wanting to believe my child is brilliant rather than too lazy or stubborn to just go herself in the bathroom. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Madison  (I’m sure) is a genius who will one day wow the world in some amazing fashion, but that’s not WHY she isn’t potty trained yet.

Finally, I’ve had enough. My girl is old enough that I feel embarrassed that she’s not out of diapers. Vanity again I suppose. Also, 3T clothing (I think) is designed to fit bottoms with no thick padding. I’m getting sick of forcing tiny buttons closed. And if I want to put her into preschool or any of the fun fall classes offered at the Y, she has to be potty trained. So now that Mommy has enough motivation – it’s gonna happen.

This week we went off the pull-ups and to panties. Madison has been informed that if she has an accident, she will clean it up herself. Of course that means twice as much work for her parents as we now have to supervise a 2 year old “cleaning” and then go back to make sure it’s actually done properly. However, if it reinforces the consequences of messing off the toilet and makes her want to keep the pee off the carpet next time, its worth it.

She’s been doing alright at home. At least one accident a day, but they seem to be getting closer to the bathroom. I think she’s realized its better to make it to the toilet than spend the next 5-10 minutes scrubbing up her mess. Actually, yesterday she told me she needed to “Blot Mommy. Blot” – I realized she’d been home with my hubby two nights ago and he obviously had instructed her on the correct way to get pee out of the carpet. Today was the big test. We actually left the house with panties on. She played in child care while I took a yoga class. Success! Dry pants when I picked her up. She didn’t go while we were there, but that’s ok. She actually went on her potty as soon as we got home. Emboldened by the morning, I decided to attempt dinner out with her.  Dumb move. I spent most of the meal in the bathroom. The evening went something like this:

Arrive at restaurant
<5 minutes passes>
Me:  (noticing a little wiggling in the seat) Maddie, do you need to go potty?
Maddie:  Yes
<Maddie and I walk to the bathroom where she gets her pants/panties removed and lifted to the seat.>
Maddie:  Mommy, could you give me some privacy?
Me: (attempting not to laugh as I close the stall door) Of course
<insert little girl humming, chatting with the person in the next stall, asking random questions like “Mommy, you have black shoes?”>
Maddie: I’m done!
Me: Did you pee or poop?
Maddie: No. There’s none in there.
<Lift child from seat, put on pants/panties – and the flip-flops that have (ewww!) landed on the floor during the I’m-on-the-potty-leg-shake. Lift child up to sink to wash and dry hands and walk back to the table>

After the first round, our drinks and dinner got ordered. Round two was an exact replica of the above, but included (hooray!) pee in the toilet. Dinner had arrived by the time we returned the second time. Another 5 minutes and it was time again as the familiar “I have to go potty!” rang out. Nothing. Back to the table to “enjoy” 5 minutes of mostly cold food before (yet again) heading back to the bathroom for another fruitless effort. Oh – and the third time, Madison had kicked off her flip-flops under the table, but I didn’t notice she was barefoot until she was standing in front of the toilet. I almost called her Britney Spears. So. Sick.

We tried again when we dropped my sister off at her place, and one last time after arriving home before bed. Still no (what I’d been hoping for) poop. Sigh. Probably means it will be there for me to change in her pull-up tomorrow morning. I keep having to remind myself that I am not the first parent to go through this song-and-dance of wanting to make sure she’s in the bathroom when she actually has to go – and not to get frustrated enough to really scold her for all the times I have to lug her in there with no results. But after tonight, there will be no more dinners out until we’ve got potty training down. Call me crazy, but hanging out in an Azteca bathroom is NOT my idea of a nice break from preparing dinner for the family.

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