I hate, hate, hate, potty training. I detest it. I remember what an intensely lousy time we had with training girl #1. Or at least I thought I remembered. Here I am trying to start potty training girl #2, and I suddenly realize there are huge gaps in my memory. I’m a bit shocked to find I don’t actually have a clue where to start. I don’t remember when we began potty training my first daughter. I don’t remember her reaction the first time we put her on the toilet. I don’t remember how we began, what we did, or when we did it.
I do remember my mom and my mother in law bugging us, pushing us to train girl #1. I don’t remember the day we began, I think it was somewhere between 2 years old and 2 and a ½ years old. I don’t remember her reaction the first time we put her on the toilet, but I do remember the day she intentionally pulled down her drawers and took a dump on the dinning room floor. I don’t remember having any problems with getting the general concept across to her. I think she got it, she just couldn’t be bothered. We tried with little success for a couple of months, but it wasn’t a priority. I let it slide. I was pregnant with girl #2, and I was having a rough pregnancy. I was tired, nauseous, having problems with low blood pressure and fainting spells. In short, I had other concerns. Then the babe was born, and I was all wrapped up in that whole no sleep taking care of a newborn thing.
As G-Girl’s third birthday crept closer and closer I knew we had to tackle this thing and somehow we did. I remember my articulate, stubborn, almost three year old insisting on going in her pull-ups because “It’s just better.”. I remember reading suggestions to just let her run around naked until she caught on. I remember experimenting with various brands of pull up and eventually switching to cloth trainers in hopes that she’d “feel wet” and perhaps develop a preference for going on the toilet. I remember discovering that no cloth trainer on the planet would keep her dry overnight. I remember we eventually worked out some sort of bribery scheme involving pennies. I remember my intense phobia-like fear over having to take a thumb-sucking preschooler into a public washroom. But the nitty gritty, the details, they are gone.
Now here I am with girl #2, and she seems ready to potty train. She tells me when she needs a “bum change”. She’s interested in the whole process. She wants to come in the bathroom and sit and watch big sister or me go. She wants to sit on the plastic step stool, keep me company while I’m using the toilet, and tell me, “I’m pooping mommy!!”. Yet she refuses to even try sitting on the toilet. So we got her one of those little plastic potty chairs. I hate the idea of having to clean out a chamber pot. Yuck. We’ve never had one before, as with girl #1 we just used the big toilet and a ring seat. But with the whole sitting on the stool and pretending she’s going thing, I figured this is what kid #2 needs.
So for four days now Baby-G has been sitting on that plastic potty chair, proud as punch, beaming with glee, chanting, “I’m peeing, I’m pooping! I do it!”, and producing diddly squat. She thinks she’s just gone potty. She wants toilet paper to wipe herself when she’s done. I can’t get it through to her that the wet mess she makes in her diapers should be coming out while she’s on the seat. I try and explain to her, but Miss Unsinkable Molly Brown just shines her smile at me, sings “Keep trying, keep trying!”, climbs back on the chair, does nothing, and then comes back four minutes later for a repeat performance.
Four days of; help her pull everything down, help her get positioned on chair, sit and watch her for anywhere from thirty seconds to five minutes, then once she stands up show her the chair is empty and explain that no she didn’t actually just go, replace pants and pull up, make it three steps towards the bathroom door and she starts chiming “Try again! Try again!”, at which point we turn around and repeat the process. I’m ready to beat myself over the head with a blunt stick.
What am I missing here? How do I get across to her what the words “peeing” and “pooping” actually mean? How do I explain the concept of going in the chair instead of in her diaper? And while we’re at it, where the heck did my memory go? How did I explain all of this to my first child, and why the heck don’t I recall any of it??