Eighteen months ago, John and I bought Layla a pale green Safety 1st potty chair. It had it all, removable seat to attach to the toilet, a nifty lid to make it a stepping stool, and of course the basic bowl for you to dump every time. We were certain she showed all the signs of being “ready” to potty train. She seemed aware of her need to poop. She frequently removed her diaper after wetting it. And we could talk ourselves into believing that she could sit still for up to five minutes while trying to potty. I got excited that I might avoid having two kids in diapers at the same time. So, I rushed rather blindly over the following few months, trying to turn my 18 month old into a “big girl” before her sister arrived. As with the sleep training, I was kind of all over the place, second guessing myself, alternately exuberant about successes and devastated by setbacks. Eventually, I was too tired to continue my campaign. The potty chair in our bathroom became seldom used.
What followed was a whirlwind of labor, childbirth, job interviews, home repairs, boxes, and plane trips. When we finally settled into our apartment, I quickly found that the walls closed in on me if we stayed in there too long. So, I made a habit of getting outside rain or shine every day, often for hours at a time. I couldn’t be bothered with potty training while we were away from home so much. And as summer came in, I only wanted to be outside more. Eventually, as the weather cooled, John started asking when we were going to get serious about the potty. I wasted a few weeks being mildly resentful that John had sort of “decided” that it was time to potty train when I was clearly expected to do the majority of the work. Soon, of course, we worked this all out. (+1 Communication! Congratulations, you have gained a level in “Marital Relationship”!) And we developed a plan for cutting our diaper budget in half.
We agreed that a “token” economy held the most potential. And really, that’s no big surprise. I’m pretty sure almost every parent I’ve talked to mentions offering goldfish or M&Ms or some small thing for successful trips to the potty. We didn’t want to use food, so we gave Layla stickers instead. We started at the beginning of October. Some days Layla got three or four stickers. And then for several days, she didn’t get any. Then, she started to notice that some of her friends had to use the potty when we were out at playdates. Our sticker-rate picked up rapidly, and this weekend we finally had to buy a new pack. And with it, we bought a brand new set of underwear which, of course, Layla got to pick. The first to catch her eye were some plain, solid-colored store brand ones, down at her level. When we spun her around to the section of cartoon panties, she quickly insisted on My Little Pony.
When we returned to our building and got out of the car, she began shouting out, “Pony panties! Pony panties!” in the middle of our parking garage. I hope the other residents within earshot found it as charming as we did. I frequently bank on our neighbors finding Layla to be charming and not obnoxious. I doubt many people move into a downtown high rise expecting children to be around. I think I shocked a few guys on the elevator today when I entered carrying Layla in our laundry basket. She insists on coming down to the laundry room with me, so we find ways to make it a little more fun.
But I digress. Really, I’m just posting right now because I’m so excited to have made it through an entire day with Layla wearing underwear instead of diapers. We’re certainly not done with potty-training. I can hardly get her to wipe her own butt properly. But, we’ve had some significant success. So, I’m going to just rejoice for a little bit. Parenting is just a breeze after this, right?comments powered by Disqus