If there has ever been a time in my two-and-a-half years of parenthood that I've NEEDED wine (and I mean bottles and bottles of wine) it would definitely have been this past weekend when I embarked on the task of toilet training my toddler. And yet, by the time I got around to taking this messy and tantrum-filled bull by the horns, wouldn't ya know I'd be pregnant and not even allowed to drink.
I've been talking and thinking about toilet training for way too long. When my kiddo was just 18 months my mom bought us our first toddler toilet seats...boy was she being optimistic! I remember how excited I was when my daughter actually peed on the toilet for the first time. But instead of following through back then, I let sitting on the toilet be something fun we'd do when we were bored at home. I’ll admit, I was a huge procrastinator when it came to toilet training. Because, truth be told, I wasn't sure I actually wanted my baby in underwear. I couldn't imagine running through a busy mall, pee dripping down her leg as I raced to find a public washroom. Diapers were so easy and self-contained, why would I bother?!
But this attitude obviously couldn’t last forever. I was getting major pressure from family members: You were toilet trained when you were 16 months old, said my mom. Do you want me to pull out our old potty? asked my mother-in-law. And I was starting to feel like a bit of a slacker in this department. Plus, winter was around the corner and I really didn’t want to be toilet training my kid in snow pants.
I knew my daughter could do it. She talks non-stop and can communicate what she's feeling and what she's doing and how she's doing it. She was ready. So it was time for me to get on board. In August I started reading two PDF potty training books (Oh Crap Potty Training and 3 Day Potty Training) and got totally overwhelmed. The thought of tackling this task still made me want to cry. I had no problem with my kid growing up, I just wished I could pay someone to do the dirty work for me.
This past weekend I succumbed to the pressure and cleared our schedules. I declared it a toilet training intensive. We were officially getting rid of diapers. I pulled out all the pairs of princess panties I'd purchased months ago in preparation for this big day...and bit the bullet.
My daughter surprised me with how quickly she caught on, but I'm not going to pretend it was easy for me. I've never felt so on-edge. "Tell me when you have to pee." "Willow, are your panties still dry?" "How are you feeling?" "Do you want to try sitting on the toilet?" Shoot me now! I felt like my head was going to explode. I dreamed about the toilet. I chased her around the house while she ignored me, defied me, and repeatedly said 'NO' to anything I asked her regarding having to pee. After a while I started to annoy myself. But, I did learn a few things about my kid. #1 She's a camel! She went four hours Saturday morning without peeing and made it to the toilet in time when she finally had to go! #2 When she says, 'No I don't have to pee' she cannot be trusted. Typically this was followed very shortly by the proclamation, 'I PEED!' #3 There is nothing better than the look on her face when she hears that little tinkle in the toilet. Her eyes light up! We high-five. And, it’s all worth it.
So, dozens of pairs of pants and panties, countless loads of laundry, and many mad dashes to the toilet with me screaming, 'She's peeing, she's peeing!' like a mad woman...it seems we've made some significant progress. This morning my little girl woke up at 6AM (she wore a diaper to sleep) and said 'I peed!' When I begged her to hold it as I ran her to the bathroom she proudly made her first pee of the day on the toilet. And, that was followed by a second just a few hours later. Poop is a whole other messy story, but she's getting the hang of that too. I'm actually insanely proud of her. And beginning to realize that a life without diapers (at least for a few months until baby number two is born) will be pleasure!
Today I sent her to daycare in panties. I also sent three pairs of extra pants and four pairs of underwear. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I know there will still be 'accidents' but I know she's well on her way. We did it! And without a drop of wine. Now I turn her over to her amazingly capable teachers and take a break from all things pee-related.