Potty Training Reflections

We threw together an entire week’s worth of daycare discussion a few weeks ago and we’re already three posts deep into potty training this week, so I might as well round this subject up and knock off another two posts this week to call potty training a wrap. If only I could my daughter through potty training as fast as my blog…oh well, I’m fully prepared to transition straight from Huggies to Depends with Eliza. I’ve postulated on why she’s resisting training, shared a story I’d love to forget (Part 1 & Part II), and explored if all these milestones are actually worth anything. Today we venture back into the bathroom for a few more toddler peculiarities…

I can’t say that I’ve ever really given much thought to using the bathroom, let alone actually appreciate being inside the bathroom by myself. Then I had a toddler and all boundaries and personal space went flying out the window right alongside my sanity. Eliza, like most toddlers, has a sixth sense in detecting when either my wife and I are sneaking into the bathroom and immediately we’ll hear the dreaded pitter-patter of two little toddler sneakers sprinting down the hall away in anticipation of some miraculous event. It’s a strange phenomenon; she knows nothing special is going on but demands to be present regardless. She’ll throw a fit if I attempt to bathe her in the shower, but she’ll stand riveted by the curtains if I’m in alone. It doesn’t matter if she’s completely absorbed by her toys, the other parent, or even food; the second that bathroom door rattles, she’s immediately on a beeline to thwart our attempts at privacy. And here I thought getting married cut down on my alone time…

The older Eliza gets, the more fascinated she is becoming with her bodily functions. I was hoping this would be a much-needed transition into potty training, but no, she is just as curious about her bowel movements when they land in her diaper as she would be if they landed in the toilet. We certainly get more than we ask for when it comes to communication from the toddler on what’s occurring in her diaper. She views being gassy as special gifts of entertainment and is more than happy to not only share her flatulence in your near vicinity but also follow up with a verbal confirmation so you’re perfectly aware what happened. “Daddy, I tooted,”; “I’m six inches from you Eliza, trust me, I’m already aware,”.

Eliza carries a dirty, bloated diaper to the trashcan like a college graduate clutching their diploma (and yes, you read that correctly, her dirty diapers go straight out the door to the outside trashcan because we have yet to discover a concrete solution to suppressing the smell of her wonder nuggets). Her pride in filling up her diaper makes for an eventful experience at the changing table as we have a miniature announcer narrating the action and repeating exactly what happened—there’s never a limit on how many times we’ll hear “I pooped” in a two-minute changing table pit stop. This has been an interesting path to walk as a parent, as you sometimes need to smother a giggle or two in a desperate attempt not to encourage the behavior excessively.

One final interesting note about an aging diaper-wearer is the sudden realization of her newest manipulation tool. Toddlers are an ever-evolving species and Eliza has definitely caught on that her normal fits and tantrums no longer fool mommy and daddy. She now has, however, a foolproof mechanism to delay naps and bedtime: the fake cry for the potty. Yes, Eliza now recognizes that her best bet to stave off that early bedtime is to feign an impending potty and force her mother or I to rush her to the toilet. We realize she’s bluffing but it’s difficult because we want to set the proper precedent for when she does finally go. Sometimes she actually needs to potty; the rest of the time, she’s using our desperate desire to get her fully potty-trained against us. The conniving sweetness of a toddler, I suppose…

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