Of the many MANY parenting-specific life skills I'm lacking, Potty Training has to be near the top. Probably THE top. My favorite parenting philosophy, Whatever Works!, (favorite because it's the philosophy that favors laziness), served me fairly well through breastfeeding fiascoes, sleep deprivation, picky eating, and Getting The Kid To Just Put On His Own Coat Already. But potty training? NOTHING WORKS. It's extremely difficult to adhere to a flexible, friendly, non-judgmental, no-one-will-criticize-you-in-a-blog-comment philosophy like Whatever Works when NOTHING WORKS.
I started potty training Jack when he was a little past two and a half. I didn't have high hopes and I wasn't particularly fed up with diapers. Honestly, potty training seemed like a lot more work than changing diapers, and I do believe I have mentioned my laziness. But everyone ELSE was doing the potty training thing and Jack seemed halfway interested so I thought I'd give it a go.
But you don't just give potty training "a go". I have found out this much. You don't just stick your kid in a pull up and hope for the best. Which is, ah, what I did. I think I thought he would TELL ME when he had to go! Which he didn't! I was SO! CONFUSED!
Then I decided that pull ups were really just diapers that cost more, so I bought my kid a pack of character-themed underpants and sang the wonders of a dimpled posterior advertising Lightning McQueen. At least this would FEEL different. Surely he would tell me when he needed to go. But no! He didn't! It turns out that you sort of need to PAY ATTENTION! And stick your kid on the potty whether he says he needs to go or not! Perhaps at regular intervals!
In the meantime I read potty training blog post after potty training blog post. Rewards! Motivations! Setting the timer! Monitoring fluid intake! No underpants! Spending a week in Potty Training Boot Camp! I began to wonder what I'd got myself into. I began to wonder if maybe I could skip potty training and go directly to Waking Up One Day Before Kindergarten Realizing He Can Go By Himself.
I did eventually potty train that kid. Or, I should say, he eventually figured it out despite his idiotic mother. It didn't help that we moved right when I thought things were figured out, because that started the entire process over again. In the end we were thankful he ended up potty trained by the first day of preschool, well past age three.
But the GIRL... I have now been attempting to potty train Molly since her second birthday. IN SEPTEMBER. The other kids were doing it! And girls are supposed to be faster! But I did not apply the Molly Theorem, which is that Molly Is Going To Do Whatever She Wants, Whenever She Wants To, No Matter How You Feel About It. So yes, she definitely wanted those Ni Hao, Kai Lan underpants. TO POOP IN.
Because I knew from my Jack experience that certain things were hopeless, if "training" didn't seem to be going anywhere after a week or two, I'd give up. We have started and stopped about six times since the fall. I thought Molly would be a breeze, but she NEVER told me she had to go and after a while, even chocolate chips weren't enough to get her to sit there. The thing that eventually worked with Jack - "only BIG BOYS who use the POTTY get to go to PRESCHOOL!" - wasn't even a good threat, since Molly's preschool days are practically light years away.
But you know what isn't? A family spring break trip to Disneyland. A blog commenter? A friend? suggested we hold Disneyland over her head and OH DEAR GOD IT IS WORKING. I'm not sure if Molly even knows what Disneyland IS. She knows she gets to have a new backpack and go on an airplane and stay in a hotel room with Mommy and Daddy and Jackson. (Side note: I am LOVING that this is what gets my two-year-old excited, because you know it's going to sound like a death sentence when she's fifteen.) But whatever - it's been four whole days since Molly's had an accident. She's telling me when she needs to go. She doesn't fight back. IT'S AMAZING.
Except for the part where she only goes poo at nap time, since she's wearing a diaper. People are all, "Just don't put a diaper on her!" But I think that just sounds like more work for ME, yes?
I suppose "whatever works" in this case is threatening to leave the child at home while the rest of the family goes nuts at a theme park. Probably not what the parenting books are advocating (I haven't bothered to check). Did you find there was A Thing that finally got your kid to catch on? Or are you one of those perfect parents whose child was potty trained after three days of staying home in underpants? SHARE YOUR WISDOM!