My philosophy about potty training is akin to my philosophy about infant and toddler rearing. I trust my child to develop at her own pace and I assume that she is learning all the time.
I introduced the potty to Papaya the week that she turned two years old. (Her doctor made this recommendation during Papaya’s two year appointment.) I did this by taking her older sister’s Baby Bjorn potty out of storage and placing it in a cozy corner. I explained what it was to Papaya but said nothing about wanting her to use it, and left it there, where it became part of the landscape for months. During this time I regularly read her different potty training stories.
One day she decided to put pee in her potty. She dragged it into the bathroom, where I was using the toilet (for more on death of privacy, see last post by MCH9206). She successfully peed in it, and from that point forward began peeing in it every morning upon waking and every evening before sleeping. She even put poo in it once during those early months. This was our status quo until the day after Christmas, when Papaya decided that she was done with diapers (except for poo) and began wearing underpants all the time and peeing in the potty throughout the day.
I trust Papaya about her potty training at home, but not so much when we travel into the community. I worry that she will have an accident and somehow not get wiped quickly or thoroughly enough. Papaya has exceedingly sensitive skin and without proper care she develops bad rashes. Besides, I’m under doctor’s orders to keep her clean and free of any vaginal irritation. Oy! (For more information on that, see my last post: https://thisisparenthood.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/adls/.)
Take today, for an example of parental anxiety. We left home after breakfast to do a small shopping one town away; then we drove twenty minutes, in order to visit a much-favored museum. We arrived in front of the museum only to get stuck in traffic resulting from dozens upon dozens of cars being turned away due to the parking garage being full.
50 minutes since she last peed, the worried mom in me calculated. Another twenty minutes passed by the time we got away from the museum grid-lock.
Since the morning had to be salvaged, we drove to a nearby mall (I hate malls). The mall garage was crowded, too, and parking took fifteen minutes. The parking garage was so cold.
85 minutes since she last peed. I worried that the cold would make Papaya want to pee, as it did me. (What, you don’t think we’re symbiotic?) Into the mall we went (ugh), in order to entertain our daughter. She was amenable to visiting Old Navy, which I like because the warehouse-like floor plan allows my active child to run, dance and spin, and the tot clothes are inexpensive.
125 minutes. I noticed that she was wearing her nice suede boots. Dang, I didn’t want those nice boots to fill with urine… I gave the requisite five minute warning about trying to put pee in the toilet. Papaya agreed to try. No success with her in the women’s room, so I handed her off to her father, in case his jovial attitude would entice pee to come, which would thereby relieve my anticipatory anxiety about an accident. Daddy had no success with Papaya in the men’s room. He now shared my anxiety.
145 minutes. We went back to the garage, in order to try the portable potty. Papaya agreed to try, but she insisted that she didn’t have to pee, saying she would pee when we got home. Both Daddy and I interpreted her declaration to mean that she had a full bladder. No success in the back of the car, either.
200 minutes. No pee sealed the deal regarding where lunch would be eaten; we headed home. Half way home, Papaya fell asleep. Damn it, now the car seat is going to have to be stripped and washed, we thought. Oh, what the heck, might as well detour for a quick errand…
260 minutes. We finally arrived back home. Papaya was awake by this time and eating a snack. Neither my husband nor I dared to ask about the condition of her underpants, lest the power of suggestion…
Papaya walked into her home. She took off her shoes and placed them neatly on our black shoe rug. She hung up her coat and put her hat down. She pulled her stool up to the kitchen sink and washed her hands. Then, she walked over to her potty, pulled down her DRY underwear and called for me to sing “the hiragana song” (Japanese alphabet), and peed!!!
She said, “See, Mama Daddy, I told you I keep my underpants dry.” (Yes you did, Baby Girl.)
Her dad and I looked at each other and said, simultaneously, “We need to trust you more, Papaya.”