Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm probably jinxing it...

... but I think we've turned a corner in potty training. Peanut has been accident free for just shy of two weeks. I know we're not out of the woods yet, but the possibility of only having one child at a time in diapers is on the horizon.

Some background: For the last several months, Jen and I have felt like we getting closer to a fully potty trained Peanut. She'd have accidents at daycare, and sometimes at home, but overall, she'd use the potty when we asked (or told) her to.

Unfortunately, that was our problem. We weren't really giving her a chance to tell us when she had to go. The problem came to a head when she had two accidents in one day a couple of weeks ago. Jen called me at work with a frustration level akin to mine when I can't get five stars on a song in "Guitar Hero". We were questioning whether we should talk to someone at the daycare, whether we should revoke all movie priveledges, or take away her little video game, because Peanut didn't seem to be motivated by any of these incentives. (Incentives like candy and stickers fell by the wayside a while ago.)

After browsing a couple of potty training books at work (followed by much heated discussion in which Jen and I firmly agreed that, while we weren't angry with each other, we would be snarky and snippy with each other), I came to a couple of conclusions.

First, we (Jen and I) were getting way to bent out of shape over this. Getting irate with each other and Peanut wasn't going to help anything. Secondly, we were the ones controlling when she used the potty. Why should she tell us that she has to go when we're constantly reminding and asking her.

Coming to this realization changed everything. Jen and I agreed that we weren't going to ask or tell Peanut about using the potty anymore. (Unless it's been three hours and we're about to leave to run some errands. Too bad, you gotta go.) We also decided that it she had an accident it wouldn't be the end of the world, and she can help clean it up. She loves to pretend clean, so helping out might kill two birds with one stone.

The first morning I told Peanut that she needed to let me know if she had to go potty, that I wasn't going to ask her, and if she had an accident she was going to get her Tinkerbell costume wet (because she was wearing her Tinkerbell costume at the time).

Sure enough, she came to me a while later saying "Daddy, I have to go potty!" Great, right? Then she says, "I'm sorry I got my Tinkerbell costume wet." Shit. I told her it was okay, that she could help be put it in the laundry, and we'd clean up any messes in her room. While she climbed onto the toilet, I noticed her costume was dry. "Okay," I thought, "we'll just have to wash her sweat pants." But they too were dry. Peanut had, for the first time on her own, told me she had to go potty and stayed dry until she sat down to conduct said transaction. Months of tension floated away. We partied like it was 1999, and she's been dry even since. It's also helped to have turn around and look in the potty when she done peeing or pooping. Now, when we flush the potty, she waves goodbye, saying,"Bye poopies/pee pee! See you later, love you!"

That's my girl. Here's hoping the streak continues. (No pun intended.)


The Mrs. said...

It's a relief, isn't it? No pun intended there either.

Potty training is one of the most maddening experiences to date in my journey as a mother. I think it's even worse (and you're in the same boat, so I think you'd agree) when you have a child who is so motivated and seems to be above the curve in everything else.

Congrats to ALL of you - now just wait at the shock you'll experience when you compare any leftover pull-ups to Swanny Jr.'s newborn diapers. It's unbelievable!

Jen said...

I love how she likes to say now how the pee-pees and the poopies are happy when they are in the potty and sad when they are in our pants....She's so proud of herself too. I guess it's all about finding the trick that works.