G’s 3rd birthday is only two months away. The closer I get to the date, the more I want to elongate the time that’s left of the second year. I have spent this past long weekend thinking back on the year it has been. I am happy to report that age two was not as hard as I was made to believe. It was, in fact, significant for it brought about a lot of independence in her and the foremost among them has been the success of our potty-training mission.
We fumbled our way into potty-training without much hope. Or rather, with a lot of trepidation. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that we had mentally prepared for failure even before we had begun. This utter negativity stemmed from the fact that we had tried this exercise once in the past. We had previously gone one whole day nappy-free and presumably without accident only to later find some questionable looking, brown-colored mounds scattered all over the house. The horror of having to look in every nook and corner and find more of that had put me off the exercise for good.
But after a particularly nasty rash in December that refused to go down unless we a) used steroids or b) went nappy-free, we had to make our way into the dreaded territory despite being ill-prepared for it. Couple it with the fact that she had started spending her days in daycare, it made taking the plunge all the more difficult.
However, what needs to be done, needs to be done. The stars had kind of rearranged themselves in our favour this time as our doctor’s visit was on a Friday. This meant we had two days to ease into potty-training before she had to go to school without a nappy. I was hoping this period would get her acclimatized to big-girl pants. That was all I expected of it. The outcome, however, exceeded all expectations.
On Saturday morning, right after she woke up, I took off her nappy and told her our plan for the day. We told her that from now on, wee-wees would only happen in the bathroom seated on the potty. She was very excited but as expected, all that excitement didn’t translate to success. I had already cancelled my plans for the day and was ready with a mop. It isn’t exaggeration in the least to say that I went from room to room wiping little spills on the floor. I had already removed my rugs and runners from the floor (I feel for those of you with carpeted floors) which saved some extra work.
The concept of holding back and letting go only when opportunity presented itself was alien to G. This meant we had to be doubly alert and keep a keen eye on her to spot the signs. It started with a few misses (I went around mopping spills, remember?), not because my strategy was faulty but because I had overlooked one very important thing: the signs that I was looking for were not likely to come from a toddler used to nappies. For example, I had decided to pick her up and rush to the loo if i ever found her squatting or even about to squat to release herself. But why would she do that? She was used to releasing herself standing upright or even lying supine. She could do it in any position and that’s exactly what she was doing.
With clarity dawning on me, I decided to now monitor her water intake and take her to the toilet anyway every so often depending on how much water she had drunk. Again, she just sat there happily not doing what I wanted her to do only to wet her pants right outside the bathroom. I did feel close to pulling my hair out or giving up but I refrained from doing either. I kept up the encouragement. In the fourth attempt or so, I even falsely praised her to speed up the process. The parenting Nazis would probably be on my neck if they read this but I had to do the best I could. And guess what? It worked!
Now, I don’t know if it was my vigilance, her fascination with the colorful potty, my sly tricks or her emotional maturity but before the end of the day, we had done it! We had cracked the potty code. What’s best is that it wasn’t a one-off incident. Sunday was a breeze too. So much so that we even went for a short drive without any mishaps.
It’s been over three months now. Have there been accidents? Of course! They still happen intermittently but only when she is napping and I am okay with that.