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Dribbles and Grits to Crumpets and Bollocks: How I Skipped Potty Training My Kids

How I Skipped Potty Training My Kids

We humans are an advanced species with enough intelligence to invent the cell phone, polished to drink our tea without slurping. We are capable of traveling to the moon. We play chess, at very young ages. We are at the top of the food chain here on earth. Yet, despite our advancement, it is much easier to train a cat to pee in a litter box than a human to go in the potty. A dog will go on the newspaper before you can get your kid to recognize he has to go.

As a mom of 3 little girls, I never go to the bathroom without an audience anymore. They are always asking questions like, “What are you doing?” What does it look like I’m doing child? I’m taking a crap. “Why does it smell?” Because poop smells bad, if you can’t stand the smell go wait outside. “No I kind of like it, I’ll wait here…”

It’s not enough for me to have all 3 kids gathered around a dinky little bathroom every time I go. No, now I have to have all the children huddled around me like we are getting ready to pass the football every time any one of those kids has to go. It’s like a family event. I say, “Annie, do you need to go pee pee?” and boom, all the kids are like puppies when the owner grabs the leash, “Yay, we all get to go to the bathroom!”

And it’s a dinky bathroom. Most bathrooms are dinky. They are usually designed by short men who apparently never had children watch them skip to their loo. It’s also common in floor planning to have all the doors open into the room, making the dinky bathroom even dinkier because the door operates as a moving wall. Maybe now’s the best time to mention I’m claustrophobic. Three children and one adult all in the bathroom at once, I am amazed the door has yet to knock me out into 3 shades of smurf.

Potty training my kids definitely was not an easy task for me because of the claustrophobia in of itself. Every time I or any of the children had to use the potty, I had some sort of anxiety panic attack. It’s not like I can get treatment for it, like “Hi, Dr. Shrink Guy, yeah, I suffer from anxiety attacks trying to make my kids poop in the potty.” He’d be like, “That’s normal. It’s called being a parent.” And I’d argue with that to give it one good shot, “But that doesn’t mean you can’t medicate it does it?” and he’d probably recognize I’m trying to get pills like a pill popping fiend ready to sell them in the black market for Christmas money, so he’d be like, “You should try yoga.” Then he’d charge my insurance 500 dollars to recommend yoga because he’s a bigger hustler than the guy trying to sell his pills for Christmas money.

Besides the claustrophobia, I had other obstacles. The oldest child is on the autism spectrum, barely. With that, we had a slew of issues in her toddler years, including sleep issues, speech issues, and potty training issues. Her doctor at the time of potty training told me, “It’s ok. She’ll go when she goes. There is no need to rush it. I seriously doubt she will be ten years old still not using the potty. Let her learn on her own time.” That became the perfect excuse to procrastinate most of my potty training efforts.

I still tried, especially when Pre-School was around the corner thinking she had to be potty trained to get into any school. About that time, kid number 2 was ready to number 2 in the potty. I made several attempts at following other mothers’ advice. I did the reward program. I always cheered my kids on when they pottied in the potty. I made them go to the bathroom just to see every two hours. I did all that stuff I didn’t have time to do, while severely sleep deprived, and nothing.

I am a firm believer that your problems as a parent get solved much faster and easier when you, the parent, are mentally healthy. So, my own severe sleep deprivation I was experiencing at the time made it virtually impossible for me to figure things out on my own. I was struggling to get the coffee into the cup without spilling it everywhere as depth perception is one of the things to go with sleep deprivation, so being able to say the right thing, do the right thing, in order to get my children to understand, “This is where you are supposed to pee,” it just wasn’t happening.

For both my oldest kids, I finally successfully trained them to use the bathroom when I sent them to school, a glorious school that didn’t require children to be housebroken to accept them as students. The school did it. They taught my oldest 2 kids how to pee in the potty.

I always thought the biggest deal was for my children to see other kids ask to use the bathroom. For years, they knew how to go, but they opted not to. I mean, all kids know how to go. It’s really easy. You sit on a certain seat and pee. There’s nothing complicated about that. But choosing to go when you have to go, now that’s a different story. Knowing when you have to go to give you enough time to make it, that too is a different story. But the art of going in the potty in of itself, they can do that the moment they can sit up to spit up.

Kid number 3 was actually my success story. She’s been using the potty since she was two. I didn’t do a thing to teach her. I didn’t offer chocolate for poop. I didn’t give her stars for trying. I didn’t purchase a singing trademarked toddler toilet. I didn’t even sit her on the toilet and say, “This is where we pee.” I did nothing. She just started going to the potty. On. Her. Own. I was so crazy and sleep deprived at the time, I almost didn’t notice.

I really think as a result of my personal experiences looking back at what little I can remember that the worst part of potty training is getting them to want to grow up. Reward systems work on a lot of kids. Many kids in this day and age accept bribes for milestones. There is no shame in that game. But my kids, they wouldn’t take bribes. So I had to hit the next level of Maslow’s Triangle Hierarchy of Needs. Social motivations seem to be the main factor behind all my children peeing in the potty appropriately. All three kids learned from other kids. They figured out the details on their own, but it was the other kids who showed them not to be afraid to stand your ground and proudly proclaim, “I have to pee, someone take me to the potty.”

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Dribbles and Grits to Crumpets and Bollocks: How I Skipped Potty Training My Kids

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How I Skipped Potty Training My Kids

We humans are an advanced species with enough intelligence to invent the cell phone, polished to drink our tea without slurping. We are capable of traveling to the moon. We play chess, at very young ages. We are at the top of the food chain here on earth. Yet, despite our advancement, it is much easier to train a cat to pee in a litter box than a human to go in the potty. A dog will go on the newspaper before you can get your kid to recognize he has to go.

As a mom of 3 little girls, I never go to the bathroom without an audience anymore. They are always asking questions like, “What are you doing?” What does it look like I’m doing child? I’m taking a crap. “Why does it smell?” Because poop smells bad, if you can’t stand the smell go wait outside. “No I kind of like it, I’ll wait here…”

It’s not enough for me to have all 3 kids gathered around a dinky little bathroom every time I go. No, now I have to have all the children huddled around me like we are getting ready to pass the football every time any one of those kids has to go. It’s like a family event. I say, “Annie, do you need to go pee pee?” and boom, all the kids are like puppies when the owner grabs the leash, “Yay, we all get to go to the bathroom!”

And it’s a dinky bathroom. Most bathrooms are dinky. They are usually designed by short men who apparently never had children watch them skip to their loo. It’s also common in floor planning to have all the doors open into the room, making the dinky bathroom even dinkier because the door operates as a moving wall. Maybe now’s the best time to mention I’m claustrophobic. Three children and one adult all in the bathroom at once, I am amazed the door has yet to knock me out into 3 shades of smurf.

Potty training my kids definitely was not an easy task for me because of the claustrophobia in of itself. Every time I or any of the children had to use the potty, I had some sort of anxiety panic attack. It’s not like I can get treatment for it, like “Hi, Dr. Shrink Guy, yeah, I suffer from anxiety attacks trying to make my kids poop in the potty.” He’d be like, “That’s normal. It’s called being a parent.” And I’d argue with that to give it one good shot, “But that doesn’t mean you can’t medicate it does it?” and he’d probably recognize I’m trying to get pills like a pill popping fiend ready to sell them in the black market for Christmas money, so he’d be like, “You should try yoga.” Then he’d charge my insurance 500 dollars to recommend yoga because he’s a bigger hustler than the guy trying to sell his pills for Christmas money.

Besides the claustrophobia, I had other obstacles. The oldest child is on the autism spectrum, barely. With that, we had a slew of issues in her toddler years, including sleep issues, speech issues, and potty training issues. Her doctor at the time of potty training told me, “It’s ok. She’ll go when she goes. There is no need to rush it. I seriously doubt she will be ten years old still not using the potty. Let her learn on her own time.” That became the perfect excuse to procrastinate most of my potty training efforts.

I still tried, especially when Pre-School was around the corner thinking she had to be potty trained to get into any school. About that time, kid number 2 was ready to number 2 in the potty. I made several attempts at following other mothers’ advice. I did the reward program. I always cheered my kids on when they pottied in the potty. I made them go to the bathroom just to see every two hours. I did all that stuff I didn’t have time to do, while severely sleep deprived, and nothing.

I am a firm believer that your problems as a parent get solved much faster and easier when you, the parent, are mentally healthy. So, my own severe sleep deprivation I was experiencing at the time made it virtually impossible for me to figure things out on my own. I was struggling to get the coffee into the cup without spilling it everywhere as depth perception is one of the things to go with sleep deprivation, so being able to say the right thing, do the right thing, in order to get my children to understand, “This is where you are supposed to pee,” it just wasn’t happening.

For both my oldest kids, I finally successfully trained them to use the bathroom when I sent them to school, a glorious school that didn’t require children to be housebroken to accept them as students. The school did it. They taught my oldest 2 kids how to pee in the potty.

I always thought the biggest deal was for my children to see other kids ask to use the bathroom. For years, they knew how to go, but they opted not to. I mean, all kids know how to go. It’s really easy. You sit on a certain seat and pee. There’s nothing complicated about that. But choosing to go when you have to go, now that’s a different story. Knowing when you have to go to give you enough time to make it, that too is a different story. But the art of going in the potty in of itself, they can do that the moment they can sit up to spit up.

Kid number 3 was actually my success story. She’s been using the potty since she was two. I didn’t do a thing to teach her. I didn’t offer chocolate for poop. I didn’t give her stars for trying. I didn’t purchase a singing trademarked toddler toilet. I didn’t even sit her on the toilet and say, “This is where we pee.” I did nothing. She just started going to the potty. On. Her. Own. I was so crazy and sleep deprived at the time, I almost didn’t notice.

I really think as a result of my personal experiences looking back at what little I can remember that the worst part of potty training is getting them to want to grow up. Reward systems work on a lot of kids. Many kids in this day and age accept bribes for milestones. There is no shame in that game. But my kids, they wouldn’t take bribes. So I had to hit the next level of Maslow’s Triangle Hierarchy of Needs. Social motivations seem to be the main factor behind all my children peeing in the potty appropriately. All three kids learned from other kids. They figured out the details on their own, but it was the other kids who showed them not to be afraid to stand your ground and proudly proclaim, “I have to pee, someone take me to the potty.”

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