When I picked Madelyn up from preschool almost 2 weeks ago, her teacher informed me that she had disappeared into the bathroom and was found with her pants at her ankles, her diaper on the floor, and her tushie on the miniature potty. In the potty: you guessed it. She had never actually taken it upon herself to go to the bathroom all on her own without any prompting. For the past handful of months, we’ve incorporated the potty into her nighttime routine and she successfully goes, but that’s been with supervision and assistance. So color us surprised to learn that she did it all on her own at school — an environment that had proven to cause some anxiety and trepidation.
I wasn’t too excited about it; being housebound for three days and swimming in pee didn’t sound like a fun way to spend President’s Day weekend. I was one ankle bracelet away from house arrest and I’m not Martha Stewart enough to see the silver lining in the whole thing. Except the whole no-more-diapers thing, I guess.
So after school on Friday, we made a trip to Target and picked out some undies for Madelyn. She was very excited to choose the coveted undies because she’d heard all about them in one of her favorite books. It’s a very no-nonsense board book with mostly illustrations about a baby who’s learning how to go on the potty and at the end, he/she (can’t tell what sex the kid is) does it and the parents and dog and cat run in the room to see (why were they not in there with him/her all along?) and the last page of the book says UNDIES! and has a bunch of underwear with different designs raining from the sky. It’s obviously Madelyn’s favorite part of the book. It’s kind of like the scene from American Beauty when Mena Suvari (who?) drenches herself in deep red roses. But in this case, it’s panties. Sorry I’m not sorry for giving away the ending of the Potty book.
On Saturday and Sunday, Bryan was obviously home from work, so we definitely tag teamed on Madelyn potty duty. She pretty much lounged in just undies and at first, we prompted her and reminded her to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. There are certain iPhone alarm sounds I never want to hear again. I also made her a sticker chart and every time she had a successful potty production, she got to pick a princess sticker and place it on her chart. I simply wrote numbers in order on a paper and every fourth number, I drew a star. Each starred number earned her an M&M so she had small goals to look forward to throughout the process. She loved putting stickers on each number and definitely didn’t protest the M&M, but she was just as happy to hear her own tinkle sounds in the potty.
She only had a few accidents and I wasn’t swimming in pee like I’d anticipated. Madelyn: 18274 Mama Drama: 0. Madelyn was a champ most of the time. She would start a drip-drop in her undies, feel it, and then alert us that she had to go, and she’d finish on the potty! I think even Charlie Sheen would call that winning (is that still trending or am I so two years ago?).
Remember pop quizzes in school? Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I gave Madelyn Dry Checks randomly throughout the day and would reward her for being dry. That way, she not only associated making sissy and doody in the potty, but NOT making sissy or doody in her undies (and yes, “sissy” and “doody” are our words. I enjoy using them.).
Madelyn made such great progress on Saturday and Sunday that I got super cocky about Monday when I’d be alone with Madelyn at home when Bryan had to go to work. Well, cockiness gets you nowhere! Madelyn had three HUGE accidents — Hurricane Sissy stormed and I hadn’t battened down the hatches. I sent Bryan several pathetic/frustrated texts and was about to Google a potty training consultant. These setbacks really made me sad, but that’s what the roller coaster of potty training is all about because after those accidents, she never once had another one. She alerted me any time she had to do anything as little as a tinkle and worked those undies like a rockstar (although, most rockstars probably don’t even wear undies. Is Miley considered a rockstar? I bet she doesn’t wear any.).
Tuesday, we had plans to meet friends in Orange County. I was SO so so so nervous to leave the house for the first time AND that first time require a two-hour drive. Twice. I packed 14 pairs of undies and 5 pairs of clean pants. I may as well be a Boy Scout because I was more than prepared. I even lined her carseat with Princeton’s piddle pads and packed two portable potties so that Madelyn could easily go in the car if I had to pull over.
When we arrived in Newport, I was expecting the Pacific Ocean to have filled her carseat.
Instead: Dry. As. A. Bone. I’m not even kidding. I kissed her so hard, her face turned raw.
She went once during our lunch, her first public restroom. And despite MY anxiety about it — hi, germs — she performed on the potty and didn’t give one thought to the loud flush. She is lucky, however, that I did not cut off her hand after touching every. little. thing. Lady receptacles need to be placed NOT at toddler height, dear Public Restroom Designers of the World. waaaaaaaaaahhhhh
So after we washed her hands three times (classic OCD comfort number) and disinfected with antibac, we resumed our afternoon with friends with no further accidents. I didn’t change her undies once the entire day. Take that, 14.
I made her go before we started our drive home, but she was too distracted by the sights of the parking lot to produce. While sitting in my flat trunk, she narrated every passerby: “That lady is wearing white.” “That man is holding a bag.” “That car is gween.” “That car is bwue.” Who needs a newspaper when you have Fashion Island?
At almost two weeks later, I’d say Madelyn has definitely gotten the hang of the potty. I am so, so proud of her and really amazed how easily it came to her. I think we waited the right amount of time. The only thing I did wrong?
Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I ordered a brand new box of diapers. So 120-ish fresh diapers later, I have a potty trained toddler. Figures.