Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What I Forgot About Potty Training

My youngest just turned two and she is all about doing her business on the potty. This has been going on for almost two months. I was shocked that she wanted to do it at (what I consider) to be an early age. I’m of the opinion that it's sort of futile to force kids to do this particular task before they’re ready. My oldest didn’t have any interest in the potty until just before her third birthday, but once it clicked for her, it was pretty easy going. I bought her a blue bathing suit and told her when she went in the potty and not in her pants for a whole day, she could have it. It was hers by nightfall. She plays for keeps. 

My son, however, was difficult. I was working full time then and his babysitter had been doing daycare for 18 years and said she’d never met a kid she couldn’t potty train. She retired before he pooped on the can. It took months of pleading, begging, and eventually bribing with Star Wars action figures before he would do it.

So you’d think I would know what I was doing this time. At least that I would have a clue as to what to expect. Ummm…No and even no’er. You know how the “experts” claim that women are hard-wired to have a certain degree of amnesia where labor and delivery are concerned? Presumably to explain why any of us are mental enough to attempt it more than once? Well I remember labor just fine, but I forgot everything about potty training. And keep in mind, this is still early stages – we haven’t even gotten to the obsession with crapping in public places yet.

I thought it was going to be less gross that dealing with diapers. Wrong. Now I deal with diapers and the bio-hazard level three disaster my bathroom has become. I thought we would spend less money. Wrong. Now we buy just as many diapers, but also ten thousand more toddler wipes and bleach spray cleaner by the keg.  I thought if she decided to do it herself that it would be easier. Wrong. Now everything is on her terms and her timetable and my two-year-old has the disposition of (roughly) a cross between Shirley Temple and Joseph Stalin - so no thanks.

Obviously, I am useless when it comes to potty training even though I’ve done it twice before. Here is a partial list of the things I forgot about potty training.

You have to be naked to make. I had forgotten that my kid was basically going to be naked all the damn time. Why do you have to take off all of your clothes to pee? Including shoes? What would my day be like if I had to do that? Awkward, that’s what. Meanwhile, my baby can strip off faster than Pam Anderson in a hotel room.

Also – a quick question regarding the nakedness. Why does the urge to strip off and pee strike the most urgently when someone else is in there? Or worse, when we are two seconds from walking out the front door?

I am now a professional wiper. I’m doing a whole lot of wiping. My family is single handedly destroying the rain forest because we are easily going through six rolls of toilet paper every three hours. Where does the toilet paper go? What happens to it? Because I don’t actually use it on the kid I’m potty training. Instead, I use flushable toddler wipes. Except I have to use about thirty of them per poo which means my kid can go twice before I need a new pack and the three, little sad ones left at the bottom of the container end up getting used to wipe down the potty itself. Colossal waste of money and yet, I have to have my ten packs a day. Seriously, the commode in the kids’ bathroom is probably going to irreparably break soon because it basically never stops working. It gets flushed 7,568 times per day. Flush, flush flushitty flush.

This phase of potty training is twice as disgusting as just changing diapers. Yesterday, I found brown streaks and lumps all over the floor. I prayed they were dirt or decomposing leaves tracked in on shoes but I cleaned it with bleach anyway. It was almost like my daughter was attempting to create a multi-media art project – but with poo. And I’ll be honest, my gag reflex isn’t what it used to be. I haven’t been this bad since I was pregnant, when I chuked about every thirty minutes. Oh, all that was gross, wasn't it? [Editor's Note: God yes. Please talk about cleaning or something now. Immediately.  -Kate]

I never stop cleaning. Why? Because toddlers are like paratroopers minus the landing skills. Once they walk, it’s like a daily episode of Tom and Jerry. Now all the scampering around includes puddles and piles. Also, there’s always at least one section of the Wall Street Journal in the bathroom. The baby has gotten so used to it being there that once, when it wasn’t lying on the floor – she found the paper and brought it in there. The problem is – a newspaper on the floor seems to be the international symbol for “pee here”. Not good.

Oh the smells. My bathroom now has what I refer to as a “Stink Cycle.” It starts with the smell of bleach then fades into the aroma of an indoor pool at the Rec Center then morphs into the smell of a large turd. Repeat.

Questionable timing there, Creator of Mankind. There is a certain kind of whacktacularness to the fact that small children are at their most annoyingly “NO MAMA! I DO IT MYSELF!” at the same time they decide they want to make on the potty. Sure, they can poop unassisted, but then a special government agency is required to clean up afterwards. Or you have to rent a powerwasher. From, as fate would have it, Ricky. Go figure.

Hand washing is so important! I wash my hands so many times per day that they are dried, chapped and cracking. Yesterday I used some hanitizer, and I spent the next five minutes howling in pain. What’s worse? The mixed blessing that the girl wants to wash her hands too. For twenty minutes. She has a name for it: “Splish Splash!” Give yourself a moment to form a mental picture of this. It results in both my child and my bathroom being soaking wet. Oh goody. More to wipe.

It’s a family affair. I thought potty training was just about the one kid. But suddenly, her older siblings feel entitled to M & M’s for not crapping their pants. Also, I’ve noticed some sort of cosmic (or maybe karmic) oddness that has most of the family moving towards poop alignment. When one has to go – suddenly all three of them have to make. But like finicky girl dogs, they will only poop in one spot. Meaning that a couple of times per day, I have two kids pooping in one bathroom at the same time (see: “twice as disgusting” and “oh the smells”).

I expect that when we move to the “underpants-instead-of-diapers” phase that a whole new wave of things I forgot about potty training will come crashing down on my head. Until then, I’ll be the one with bleach spray, a pocket full of M&M's, and a wary expression.

Oh, and she's naked. Again.
xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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