What is it with people that once they find out you have a 2-year-old, then it is only a matter of time before they ask, “Is she using the potty?”
If you say no, then they look at you as if you aren’t doing your job.
If it is a grandmotherly-type woman, she’ll sigh, “Well, in the ’60s, my daughter was trained at 12 months. She was using the potty way before the age of 2. People just wait so long these days.”
Yeah, well. We’re smarter now!
And if it is a first-time parent who thinks her child is a prodigy, she may say, “We’re finding that M&M’s work wonders. She’s eaten a whole bag, and she has gone to the bathroom twice on the potty, but we’re still waiting for her to pooh.”
Well, then, give her a bag of raisins, and stand back!
I admit that I, too, was eager for my first child to use the potty. I had a stubborn one on my hands, though. As much as I tried when he turned 2, he wouldn’t even wear a pull-up, much less sit on the potty. Out of desperation, I may have even given him an M&M to try. But in hindsight, his stubbornness actually saved me from a long window of time filled with potty-training headaches.
Two days after his third birthday, the motto in my house was no more diapers. The first two days were the pits. I’ll keep it clean here, but you know what rhymes with pit? It was that bad. By the third day, he got the hang of it and was accident-free from that day forward. He trained himself. He didn’t sit on the potty 50 times a day eating an M&M. He learned to listen to his body and did it quickly.
Things are a little different now with child No. 2. She sees everyone using the potty in our house, and she wants to, too, on occasion, and let me emphasize on occasion. It is not consistent, and she usually wants to do it at the most inopportune times on the planet.
It usually goes down like this:
I’m pouring myself a nice cup of tea, and I happen to glance at her taking off her diaper in the living room. I turn in a panic and RUN. She says, “Pooh! Pooh!” And I yell, “No, No, No!” and grab her before she pulls off her diaper.
Whew! It’s empty. We then go through the annoying potty-training motions. She sits, and sits. She sings, “Happy Birthday!” I heat my tea while she sits some more. She then unrolls the toilet paper, and she says, “Done!”
My, what invisible poohs you have, my dear! The toilet is completely empty, and I will further add that her diaper stays empty for several more hours. She didn’t have to pooh-pooh right then any more than I had a million dollars in my pocket.
Sure, these may be little signs that the real act is to come soon enough, but I now know we won’t be really successful until she can communicate with me and listen to her body. She has to know the “feeling,” or else I am wasting a lot of energy and time cleaning up after her.
First-time parents, you’re going to gasp and frown at me for saying this, but potty training opens a whole new world of problems for you. Diapers aren’t as bad as you think. So raise your glass, and salute the diaper. Those absorbent things you think of as nuisances can be your best friend.
Because in diapers, you can enjoy that glass of wine in a restaurant, but if your potty-training child is in underwear, then be ready to make a mad dash to the public restroom as if you have Montezuma’s Revenge.
You also better hope that there is at least one stall empty or that the one-stall bathroom is not occupied. And if you don’t get there in time, well, we all know that’s the pits!
Car rides will never be the same, too. Every potty-training child needs to pee-pee at least five minutes after you leave your house. It’s a rite of passage, apparently.
So make sure you are totally ready before you say, “Goodbye, diapers! Hello, nasty public bathroom!”
My 2-year-old may think she’s ready, but I’m certainly not ready yet. Almost. But, not quite yet.
And on another note, just to make you a little hungry for some southern type recipes, here are some recipes you will find in the "Sharing Out Best" cookbook I'm giving away on the blog this week: Party Ham Biscuits, Shrimp and Grits, Squash casseroles, Brunswick Stew, my husband's favorite cornbread, Red Velvet cake, Aunt May's Applesauce cake, Pig Pickin' cake, Banana pudding, and my dad's famous Holiday buckeyes. Don't forget the coconut cake! The deadline to enter is Jan. 16.
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