Here is an excerpt from my book, Totally Desperate Mom: Keepin' it Real in the Motherhood. This is from Chapter 7 entitled "Terribly Terrific Threes: Who's the Boss?"
The reason I am sharing the excerpt today is not just because I am a sharing person (because I am) or because I want to suck you in to preorder the book (because I do), but because I need some help or advice or pills (kidding) or just plain encouragement! Read this excerpt that was written months ago and the follow up and you'll see why . . .
Another reality show that I think would be a cash cow could be called Terrorists in Training. Here’s the concept: Drop off a handful of potty training, know-it-all, incessant questioners into an interrogation room with terrorists. I know, I know, you are worried about safety. Me, too—those terrorists would definitely be in harm’s way. Within hours of their captivity the bad guys would give up all their intel if only to be set free from the potty training madness. Potty training mastery would go unaccomplished, but at least world peace would be a few steps closer.
Yesterday Lydia’s potty training antics led me to email my husband at work with the subject line “I quit.”
This is my official letter of resignation. You can thank Lydia. We lasted at the park for about fifteen minutes. She totally (and by totally I mean overflowing out the sides) pooped her pull up. I am at my wit's end (whatever that means). I feel so angry, sad and frustrated. I am rinsing her off and then putting her to bed . . . for the rest of her life.
Guess it goes without saying that resignation letter was not accepted by my childrearing partner. I currently still hold the title of “Mom.”
Keep in mind, Lydia started potty training on her own initiative. Some days she does just fine. And by “just fine” I mean me asking her if she has to go and her whining, “I don’t have to go. I don’t want to go.” Then me putting her on the toilet and she goes. Or I set “the potty timer” and when it goes off she has to go sit on the potty. This sometimes is met with no resistance. A fine day just means “no accidents.” Which by the way, are not really “accidents” they are “laxidents.” Meaning they are careless and negligent. She just doesn’t care. Everyone says, “Wait until they’re ready.” Three months ago she declared, “I want underwear. I don’t want to wear diapers anymore. I want to pee and poop on the potty like a big girl.” Call me a desperate mom, but I thought that meant she was ready.
Today I finally gave up the fight. I told her she could be a baby and wear a diaper. Fine with me. I told her she could do her business in her Pull-Up all day long, but I would have to treat her like a baby. No shows. No treats. She was fine with that. In fact, she embraced it. “Since I’m a baby I get my blankie.” She had her blankie while she was potty training so I’m not really sure why she said that, but suffice it to say she is embracing her newfound babyhood.
I confirmed with her the security of her blankie as well as a potential upgrade: “Yes, Lydia. And when you are a big girl I will get you a new blankie. And you will also get the new princess sing along DVD if you simply stay dry for one full day.” I was tempted to throw in, “And you can have a cell phone with unlimited texting when you’re nine. And that tattoo you’re gonna want when you’re fourteen. And a brand new sports car when you are sixteen.”
She didn’t give a rip. Did I mention she is supposed to start preschool in three days? Preschool that she watched her brother go to last year and begged to stay at every time I dropped him off? Preschool that requires a potty-trained kid?
“Lydia if you aren’t potty trained, you can’t go to preschool.”
“I don’t want to go to preschool.”
“Don’t you want to go play with the trains in Mrs. H’s class?”
“I don’t like her.” Riiiiiight.
Today we went to a pool party. She enjoyed her Pull-Up. When all the kids lined up for ice cream I told her she couldn’t have any. It was just for big kids. I know, I know —go ahead and throw eggs at me if you want. And tell me I’m taking the completely wrong approach. But honestly, I think I have exhausted the various “approaches” to potty training so I am willing to try anything at this point.
Lydia just watched the other kids (very closely) pile on their sprinkles. She was coveting, but not enough to enter the big girl world. She didn’t cry. She didn’t throw a fit. She didn’t hold up a white flag. But my flag is swaying in the breeze, that’s for sure.
Update (not in the book):
We have been at this for 7 months now. Lydia is 3 years, 8 months old. I did send her to preschool. She had a few accidents there, but as long as I make her go potty right when she gets there, she does fine. However, she has "accidents" at home a lot and I have to make her go potty every time. She rarely goes on her own initiative except for when she deuces it up. She usually (but not always) just goes and does her business on the toilet for that action. To make a long story short though, I think I have tried everything: consequences, not making a big deal out of it, sticker chart to earn a prize, potty timer, etc. I even called the pediatrician to see if it might be a physical problem. She said no.
After 2 pee accidents yesterday and a major poop incident (while my sister-in-law was babysitting) Saturday night we have decided to put her back in pull-ups. And we are thinking about withdrawing her from preschool. I told her she could wear underwear after she stayed dry for a week. I didn't make it like a punishment, but that she just wasn't ready yet. I told her it was not that she was a baby (because she likes that title) but that she was a big girl, but not quite ready to act like one in the bathroom. I put away all her underwear today. She witnessed it. Didn't cry although she got upset (for 20 seconds) when I first told her that she could no longer wear underwear. I told her that Shiloh and I are about taking her out of preschool and maybe swim lessons. Didn't seem to phase her. So today she wore a pull up and only peed on the potty once. She did all her other business in her pull up and probably enjoyed it.
I am so frustrated, discouraged and bodily fluids. Is there any love, advice, ideas, or boarding schools out there?