Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Girl Wants to Potty All the Time

"A child can only go so far in life without potty training." - Dave Barry

I wish I could pinpoint the day it happened. The time it happened. The moment it happened. But I can't. It seems to have occurred out of the blue. All of a sudden. Randomly. Like a knock on the door.

Penelope does pee-pee on the potty now. She's been doing it for months, actually. At least, I think she's been doing it for months. Because, like I said, I'm unsure as to when it started happening with - dare I say - regularity.

We started potty training in earnest over the summer. We had more time off, more time with Penelope, so we decided we'd take the opportunity and trained her. While we had some scattered success, it did not go well overall.

So, we decided to pass it on to her new teacher at day care, who is apparently the Diaper Genie. Miss Maria, as even we are forced to call her, makes diapers disappear.

Every day, from the first week of the fall semester in September, we'd get reports. Penelope was sitting for Miss Maria. She was peeing for Miss Maria. She was wiping, washing hands, flushing for Miss Maria.

Get her home, and she was a totally different child. No sitting, no peeing, no nothing for us.

We'd ask Miss Maria what her secret was. We asked her what we could do, what we could try. Not only was Penelope not peeing in the potty for us, she wasn't peeing at all. Painful. Uncomfortable. Unfathomable. She was holding it - holding it until we put a diaper on her and put her down for a nap. Then she'd let loose a torrent of urine that would make Hoover Dam overflow. Obligatory changing of clothes and sheets would then ensue.

We didn't know what to do. We tried everything. Bribes. Payoffs. Kickbacks. Campaign contributions for candidates that were beneficial to her cause. Jobs for her friends and relatives. Candy. Cookies. Gifts. Toys. We sang songs. We read books. We laughed. She cried. Nothing worked.

One day we even tried to force her. It was heartbreaking. We made her stay in the kitchen with no diaper on until she was ready to go, until she agreed to go. If she had an accident, it would be on the kitchen floor so no big mess. That did nothing but make us all feel poorly.

Then she actually started telling us she had to go, and she would tell us at the most inopportune times. At a Christening party for one of my cousins' children. At a restaurant. In the drug store. We can't say "not now," she's finally willing to go for us! Fast forward to present time, and Penelope, like clockwork, will announce she has to go pee-pee roughly 2-3 minutes after we sit down for dinner every night.

It just clicked. Sometime in late October/early November. And now she does it all the time... for mommy. She is just now started to do it for me... but mostly only when mommy is not around. That's fine. What am I going to do, get pissed off?

Penelope sits there, she smiles, she waits, then the music starts to play on her little potty. Yes, her potty plays music when the pee hits the can. Once the music starts, we all get so excited. We cheer and clap and laugh and praise her.

Her reward every time she pees on the potty is a sticker. Stickers are the currency of her childhood and she is the richest little girl in the world. If Penelope had her way, she would cover the world with stickers. In fact, she was covering our furniture with stickers. Our nice furniture. The bedroom set. The leather chair. The kitchen table. Until we smartened up and got her a sticker book.

Pee-pee on the potty has become so commonplace, we don't cheer as frequently or as loudly or as enthusiastically anymore. But the stickers do keep pouring on.

Now we have to move on to step two: number two. It's getting gross. We know it and she knows it. Hopefully there are enough stickers left in the world to get us through that crappy situation.

1 comment:

  1. Stickers never get old. This past Valentine's Day I gave Clarissa (25 years young) a journal and a card with fun stickers. She expressed her interest in writing poetry again and this was my way of supporting her.


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