Adventures in Potty-Training

We got Sophie a little potty when she was only a year old, because she liked to walk around naked and didn’t like to pee on herself. This let her work through the putting-the-potty-on-her-head stage, but it didn’t do much beyond that. We didn’t push it.

Then, one day when she had just turned 2, her two-and-a-half-year-old friend B came over and needed to use the potty. “I wanna potty too!” Sophie said. She sat on her potty and actually pooped. Peer pressure is an astounding thing.

Then we went to England for the summer and that never happened again. I didn’t push the potty-training, because a transcontinental move seemed like a big enough transition.

In England, one day I watched her taking each of her paper dolls to the toilet, holding them above the bowl, then carefully wiping their doll-butts with toilet paper. I got pretty excited by this sign of potty-readiness, so I took Sophie to the store for big-girl underwear. She liked her new underwear so much that she wouldn’t wear just one pair. Four pairs of underwear felt just about right, to her. I suspect that only one pair felt far too un-diaper-like. She was really happy with her four pairs of underwear, for about an hour, until she pooped in them.

Then I realized that we needed to have the rule, “No underwear until you can regularly pee and poop in the potty.” Oops. One of my friends tells me that at least I did manage to get her excited about underwear.

She was scared of our British toilet (it had a tippy seat), so I decided to wait till we got back to California anyway. Sophie, so far, is a child who is eager to do things on her own schedule, not at someone else’s urging.

Now we’re back in California, though, and I’m ready to stop filling our landfills with diapers.

Sophie, however, tells me that she wants me to change her diapers forever.

So I netflixed Elmo’s Potty Time, following the suggestion of a friend who just potty-trained her 3-year-old. Elmo has immense persuasive powers in our household. Elmo has persuaded Sophie to say “Hello” and “thank-you” and to put the tops back on markers. If anyone can get her on the potty, Elmo can. It’s a great video, too. But it features Elmo’s oh-so-awesome Dad, and Sophie spends most of the middle of the video asking for more scenes with that Dad. Sophie’s Dad-missing seems to take primacy over any potty-interest.

She is obsessesed with the video, though, and with a sweet little Potty book I got. She likes to read that book forwards, then backwards, then forwards again.

She has figured out (just as celochick predicted) that she can now postpone bedtime a whole half-an-hour by saying, “Pee-pee is coming!” and then getting to sit on her toilet. She is one smart kid. I have now stocked the bathroom with soothing bedtime books.

Then, Wednesday night, finally, the inevitable happened. During her long-potty-sit-to-postpone-bedtime, she happened to pee. I actually did a happy dance. She was pretty proud of herself. She agreed to sit on the potty again on Thursday morning — but then went off for her Thursday marathon-of-caregivers, who aren’t actually anxious to reinforce potty-training.

So now it’s Friday. I have a plot, for the weekend: I’m going to let her run around naked as much as possible. Living in a warm climate, in a house with stone-tiled floors, this is possible. And this may get her more interested in her potty.

We’ll see. As Baby Bear says on Elmo’s Potty Time, “I’ll let you know how it all comes out.”


One response to “Adventures in Potty-Training

  1. celochick

    We’re right with you! S has it 99% figured out! We don’t wear diapers anymore just big girl panties until she has to POOP! For whatever reason, she refuses to do her business on the toilet. When she feels the need, she runs to me, clutching her bottom demanding I put a pull up on her. She will only do her business in the pull-up. She did do it once on the toilet at the Del Mar Racetrack. I was so excited I took her out to choose a new dolly and told her that if she did it again, the dolly was hers…the dolly is still in the closet waiting waiting waiting…I am at a loss here. I have been asking all my friends their suggestions and we’ve tried just about everything that has been suggested from rewards to nakedness (that ended up with her “marking” her territory in O’s room!). However, when I mentioned this to O’s preschool director, she suggested cutting a hole in the pull-up the next time she feels the need and letting her sit on the toilet that way. Haven’t tried it yet as she’s holding it in! Ugh!

    All I can say is good luck! We tried with O when she was 2 1/2 and she absolutely refused so we backed off for three months and tried again. She figured it out in 3 days. Can’t say we’re so lucky with S. Actually, we are. She’s really there except for the poop thing. I don’t know if this helps any but know you are not alone. The biggest thing is to make a point of being near the potty for a day or two. We would take the girls or at least ask them every 45 minutes or so. No, S announces to the world when she has to go…

    We have another potty-training dvd the girls like: Bear In the Big Blue House Potty Time. It’s not as annoying as Elmo. Maybe we should trade dvds?

    See ya!

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