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Diapers No More -- When Should the Battle Begin?

E was standing naked in the family room yesterday—on the brand-new carpet—while I got her bath ready.

“Mommy, I need the potty,” she said.

“You want to pee on the potty?” I asked. I have to confirm, because most of the time, she’s just looking for a change of scenery or to get out of doing something she doesn’t want to do—in this case, cleaning up her toys.

“Yes, Mommy. I’m pooping.”

Puzzle pieces, a sippy cup, two stuffed animals and an entire basket of white laundry flew into the air as I instantly dropped everything I was carrying and grabbed her, sprinting at warp speed toward the bathroom. Of course, we didn’t make it. Bathroom floor-1, potty-0.

We’ve just begun the training process. One day after lunch, E announced she wanted use the potty. The same potty that’s been sitting on the bathroom floor since December, either forgotten about entirely or used as a place for E to read magazines to her dolls. But that day, she asked to use it three consecutive times—and peed in it all three. She was a little taken aback by my crazy-happy-celebration dance. I thought I was a genius. I thought our diaper days were over. I almost got in the car and drove straight to Target for big-girl underwear. Almost.

That was three weeks ago, and it hasn’t happened since. It seems this process is going to take a little longer than I’d planned. Despite the thousand-plus times I’ve heard my own mother tell the story about my own toilet-training coup (apparently, just before my second birthday I announced I wasn’t wearing diapers anymore and never did again) I’ve never been overly optimistic about the process for E. I was also determined to wait until she was “ready,” so as not to drag things out or create unnecessary battles. Her preschool doesn’t require her to be potty-trained when she starts in September. I thought we had plenty of time. Why rush?

But last night’s episode scared me to death. How can I drop everything and race E to the potty if one of the things I’m holding is a newborn? Do I need to speed up the process and force the issue to minimize the number of casualties? Or will my efforts just get derailed when #2 comes and E starts clamoring for attention any way she can get it, including peeing on the carpet?

I admit, I’m more than a little awed and obsessed with the extreme potty-training method that appeared in Parenting a few months back. But that method is for the strong-hearted, the strong-stomached, and the ones that don’t mind running around with a bottle of carpet cleaner in one hand and a kitchen timer in the other. The people who don’t mind giving up two whole weeks of their lives for the cause. I really WANT to be one of those people. I just don’t think I have what it takes.

So with six months to go before #2 arrives on the scene, what should I do? Some days that feels like all the time in the world. But other days it feels like there’s a giant ticking clock sitting on top of E’s Diaper Genie.  One of the reasons we chose to wait until now to have another child was to minimize the time we’d have two in diapers. Now I’m thinking it might just be easier to wait a couple more years and train them both at the same time. Help!

Visit Jenny's personal blog Karma, Continued.

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