Potty training, to anyone who's done it, is like a four-letter word. Parents around the world will routinely tell you that it's one of the hardest times to weather with a child. Well, at least the ones in places with indoor plumbing will. However, it is an inevitability that all toddlers must learn to use the toilet for their business, so we suffer through something that we'd certainly choose to avoid if the choice was ours. Which brings us to our story of the day.
While it wasn't widely advertised (mostly because the Rescue Pack was funnier), one of the gifts Lily asked Santa for this year was some big-girl panties. The big guy came through, of course, with Dora The Explorer panties in her stocking Christmas morning. We have not forced the issue of making the transition to the potty because, frankly, it's so damned hard. If she's content to use the pull-ups, we're content to keep buying them. This morning, however, the tables turned. When I got Lily up and went to change her, she boldly said "No Daddy, I don't want a pull-up. I want to wear my Dora panties!" Because EVERYONE has told me that "when they're ready, they'll go", I took this as a positive sign. Maybe she just figured it out . . the kid figures out everything else she sets her mind to, why would this be any different? So I nervously put the panties on her after a successful trip to the bathroom and made sure to pair them with a really old pair of pants. I reminded her at least a half dozen times before her breakfast was even on the table to let me know if she had to go potty, and she assured me she'd comply. "I will Daddy!"
She made it through her egg and yogurt and was happily watching TV in the living room when the first outburst of the morning came, and I knew immediately that she'd wet herself. No worries, we'll just change pants and charge forward. Then the second accident happened, not 15 minutes later. Was this a pattern I should continue to expect? Will her needs to relieve herself come back-to-back like this? The engineer in me was hard at work trying to figure out the kid's formula. A while passed before we decided to leave the house, and I wanted to head off any potential carseat disasters. We went to the bathroom and there it was, our first successful pee-pee of the day! We high-fived and headed out the door to Target to buy some back-up panties . . after all, we were on the last clean pair and she was wetting them faster than I could wash them! I wasn't going to sabatoge a day I'd resigned to spend potty training by running out of panties for the kid to wear. So we hustled down the road, raced in to Target from the parking lot and made a bee line for the restroom. YES!!! She made it there and she went to the potty! I felt like we were gonna win this battle! We went and picked out some Cinderella panties to supplement the Dora ones. We hurried outta there, hauled butt home and had another successful potty right after pulling in to the driveway.
Our next trip of the day was to return some library books we'd let go all the way to their due date. We tried to potty before we left but with no results, so I put a dishtowel down in the carseat (at Mandi's recommendation) and we ventured out again. When we arrived we went into the kids area so Lil could get a look at the mice, gerbils, and fish they keep there for entertainment. She also wanted to play a little bit, but I was getting nervous about the length of time between trips to the bathroom. As I picked her up to take her she threw a major hissy fit, which of course seemed as loud as a semi truck going through a tunnel at full throttle because of the relative silence of the library. I figured she'd rebel in the bathroom, but much to my surprise she went pee-pee and her mood turned around . . momentarily. I think the mental stress started getting to her a little as we looked for my book, because she just started freaking out and yelling for no reason right in the middle of the non-fiction section. We scurried out without the book but with dry panties intact. Lily sobbed most of the way home, stopping only occasionally to ask "Daddy, you're not strustrated?" "Yeah Lil, I am frustrated, but just a little bit."
The "off" mood Lil had gotten into at the library remained through lunch, and I decided on an early nap time. We tried to potty once before bed but got nothing, so I put a pull-up on her and put her to sleep. The usual length for a nap these days is just shy of two hours, so when two and a half ticked by and I hadn't heard a peep I figured she'd definitely be wet when she woke up. I ran up to get her as soon as I heard her call, and I was ecstatic to find her completely dry! We hustled to the bathroom and she went like a champ! Off to a great start for the afternoon we headed downstairs to play. Lil wanted to chill out and watch TV, so I checked on her a few times and tried to set her on the potty, but nothing was doing for the next half hour or so. Then came another accident. And another change of clothes. And another accident. And another change of clothes. And in the words of the immortal H.I. McDunnough from Raising Arizona, "that's when the roof caved in." I had just tried to get Lily to potty about 2 minutes before when she came into the kitchen grinning from ear to ear. This can't be good. "I poopy in my panties Daddy!" Sweet. She laid down on the carpet as though it was just another diaper to change. Little did she know she was in for some dangling-over-the-toilet acrobatics. Luckily it was nuggets and the mess was not outrageous . . anything worse and I might have been discouraged from trying again tomorrow. I guess I'll have to keep feeding her a pound of cheese a day until she gets it down, I don't think I can handle one of the peanut-butter ones without an easy-to-remove pull-up or diaper to contain it. So it's 'til tomorrow, when this roller coaster ride will resume and the tales of potty training will surely flow again.