Family & Friends Odds & Ends

Potty Training the Stubborn

Potty training is just one of those things you have to do as a parent, and after the first two children I decided it wasn’t worth attempting until the child was ready (around three for my kids).  This has led to some large diaper bills over the years, but saved me a ton of laundry and mess.  I was to this point, where I knew for sure that my third child and second son, Total Sweetness, would be in diapers the rest of his life.

Total Sweetness 3 and half

Total Sweetness at three and a half

Then one day, when he was three and a half, we came home from church on Sunday afternoon and I asked him, as I frequently did, if he wanted to use the potty.  To my surprise he said “yes.” and that was it.  No accidents, no mistakes, done, all in one trip to the bathroom.  Lest you think it was stupidity on my part to have waited so long, believe me I had tried to encourage him.  A week or two before this life changing event I had put him in underware and sent him outside.  When I checked on him shortly thereafter to see if he wanted to use the potty he was completely soaked and completely unperturbed, racing around the yard in wet pants.   He had to decide it was time, there was nothing I could do.

So when the big number three rolled around for my twins I was pretty excited to think they might be potty trained soon.  As an incentive we told them they could go to Chuck-E-Cheese’s when they were potty trained.  We hardly ever go there.  The last time might have been when T.S. was potty trained.

Princess at Chuck e Cheese 2008
Princess at Chuck-E-Cheese when Total Sweetness was potty trained.

Of course they see those wretched commercials on TV and are completely convinced by the propaganda of that squeaky voiced mouse.  Due to the motivation that this incentive provided, Missy K started trying to potty train herself.  I would randomly find her diaperless around the house, or I would just find a diaper on the floor in the bathroom.  Sometimes she would ask me to help her, but she didn’t really catch on for a few months.  Finally it all clicked, though, and Missy K was potty trained.  Happy, happy day!

Missy K at 3 and half
Missy K happy and potty trained this summer

As a result we all went to Chuck-E-Cheese to celebrate her accomplishment.  Unfortunately Missy L wasn’t potty trained yet, but I figured she would see how much fun Chuck-E-Cheese is and want to hurry so we could all come back again.  Boy was I wrong.

We’ve discovered Missy L has a real stubborn streak in this regard.  For the last two months or so she keeps telling me, “I not ready,” whenever I ask her if she wants to use the potty or wear underwear.  If I push the subject I usually get a look like this one.

Missy L rolling eyes

“Honestly Mother!”

My mother, Robear, recently told me that Missy L had proudly confided to her that she got to go to Chuck-E-Cheese in a diaper.  She knows she totally worked the system.  She got the prize off Missy K’s hard work and is happy to not have the bother of using the bathroom.

Sure Missy K is two minutes older than Missy L, but if Missy K can do it then so can Missy L.

So this week I’m breaking my rules and fighting back.  Missy L's stubborn face

Round One:  On Tuesday when she declared “I not ready” I refused to put a diaper on her and instead put one of the new Dora underwear we let her pick out a week ago specifically with the hope it would inspire.  She cried for half an hour and eventually went in her room and removed the underwear.  (We’ll call this one a draw.)Missy L's sad face

Round Two:  I then told her that was fine but I wouldn’t put a diaper on her for two hours.  She finally agreed to this on the condition she also not wear underwear.  Happy for any progress I let her play in the house until lunch time in just her t-shirt.  No accidents and she used the potty.   (We’ll say this is two for me and one for her.)

Round Three:  Yesterday I decided to try again.  This time she let me put underwear on her but I soon found them on the floor in the bathroom.  I believe she had taken herself to the potty, reaffirming my theory she is just being stubborn.  But she happily played computer games with Missy K and had breakfast and lunch without any accidents and two successful trips to the potty.  (Again two for me and one for her.)

The only problem with this scenario is obvious.  She refuses to wear underwear!  What kid does that?  She acts like she’s terrified of them or like they hurt.  Are you kidding?  They’re a size too big and super soft cotton.  She doesn’t even want the Dora underwear or the Disney Princess underwear Missy K rushes to snag every morning, not that Missy L’s going to steal it from her any time soon.

One of these days she will just have to break down and wear underwear.  It’s my will against hers now.  Until then, watch out for a certain bare bum running around my house.