Potty Party Archive

The Terrible Twos Are Crappy

You’d think that after almost six years of parenthood, I wouldn’t blink about having to change crib bedding. But I still find it to be a gigantic pain: the mattress is heavy and bulky, my small hands and nails can’t grip on to the corners, and when reaching in, the rails are at boob height and that hurts. And unfortunately, for the last few weeks, we are changing crib bedding almost every day because Arielle, in all her two-year-old glory, is exploring her artistic talents. Her favorite art form? Finger painting. Her favorite color? Brown. Her preferred medium? Poop.

Insider tip from me to you: Buy stock in Clorox.

You’re welcome.

You guys. I just can’t anymore. I think Madelyn did this like three times and then outgrew it. Arielle is a true arteest, staying true to her art. She’s going to be the one who chooses a major like painting in college and then insists on making it in the real world as a studio artist and then lives with us in our colloquial basement (because, California) until she’s 37.

“Arielle, you MUST stop playing with your poop. It’s getting old. Enough.”
“But, Mother! I am… [gasp] an artist!”

So here’s how this goes: every nap or nighttime, as we place her in her crib, we discuss how she must keep her pajamas on and that doody stays in the diaper and not the crib, and that it’s icky-pooey if it gets everywhere. She nods her head in agreement and understanding and then I’m pretty sure as we walk out the door and turn out the light, she gives us the biggest middle finger a toddler can make.

Now, my mom friends would say this is karma because Arielle sleeps late and loves her crib. Even when she is awake, she happily plays and sings and chats, so I rarely have to rush to her room in order to soothe a lonely, crying baby. So most mornings or afternoons, we just let her hang out for 30 minutes or so after waking up. This is Rookie Mistake # 1 because this is probably when she decides to get creative with her poop. And after that 30 minutes, when I enter her room, I discover the “art” strewn across her crib, her sheets, her… self. That’s usually when I say a lot of really bad words. If this was The Truman Show, the home audience would be clutching their pearls.

And so the cycle begins of never ending laundry. Crib bumpers take a long time in the dryer. Any bets on my electric bill this month?

OK, so after one or two times of this nonsense, one would learn to seek reinforcements since the “no poop” pep talk before sleep doesn’t work. But we must suffer from “Our Child Is Brilliant and Surely Wouldn’t Put Us Through This Torture Again” syndrome, but no, that little pooper doesn’t give a hoot about our water bill and clearly Bryan and I are masochistic enough to live on the edge.

And just when she’ll go a few sleeps without Diaper Removal-geddon, we think she’s learned her lesson and we are clear. But no. It happens again.

Earlier this week, I ordered a toddler sleep sac because the mom boards say that they work and mom boards are the gospel. Amazon Prime has never felt like such an eternity. UPS Man, you are my new best friend by end of day, June 23rd.

So last night, we finally remembered to put her in backwards onesie footie PJs, another tip from the Mom Gods on the mom boards. In the morning: Duh, no poop, because Arielle hasn’t figured out how to grow octopus tentacles to reach around the back and zip open her backwards onesie. As parents, felt like champions of the world this morning and our laundry machine breathed a huge sigh of relief that she’d get the day off. Poor old girl is tired. All that spinning — the vertigo is intense. Kenmore can do no more.

Later this afternoon, at her usual naptime, Arielle went to sleep. Now, I’m not going to say who brought her up to her room and put her down for her nap, but I was at lunch with a friend. So….

The Olympic Sleeper slept for 3.5 hours because she does have some redeeming qualities, and I was making dinner around the time she woke up. The chicken, potatoes, and broccoli were ready to come out of the oven just as Bryan declared he was going to get Arielle and bring her down in time to eat. Mmm. A hot meal that the family would enjoy around the table together after the longest day of the year.

And then I heard the swear words and the stomps on the carpet. Either Bryan had just hammered his own hands with Sriracha-soaked metal nails …. OOOOOOOOR, Arielle had produced another Poopacalypse. Whoever put her to bed was very trusting in her shorts and T-shirt. I mean, I don’t know. We’ll never know the truth.

Poor girl stood in her crib looking at us like we had 27 eyeballs.

Her diaper was on the floor. There was a smashed nugget on the floor with Bryan’s heel print in it from when he walked closer to her to see her damage. Her white crib was… not. She looked like a pig in a mud bath. Into the shower she went and off the bedding came… again. I walked into our laundry room and I think Kenmore rolled her eyes at me. She might have even tsk-tsked me. I poured detergent and vinegar in her to shut her up.

While our dinner got cold downstairs, Bryan and I had a very close-proximity conversation (teacher trick!) with Arielle, using calm, low voices and we talked about where poop goes and where diapers stay. Her lower lip quivered and it was hard to be mad at her. She nodded her head in understanding. At bedtime, her backwards onesie was zipped up and we put on a new sheet while the rest of her bedding was still in the dryer.

We spend so much of our parenthood trying to teach our kids lessons and making sure they learn from their mistakes. But in some cases, these mistakes have the opposite effect: Pavlov would be proud that we realized it was us who finally became conditioned. Click. Click. Click.

Really hoping Pavlov won this one because if she grows octopus tentacles and evolves to be able to unzip her backwards onesie in the morning, Darwin wins. And I just don’t think our laundry machine would appreciate that. Either this or we just stop feeding her. No? Ok. Backwards zipper it is.

The Urination Situation

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.

Decisions, decisions. These are the most important decisions.

Decisions, decisions. These are the most important decisions.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Winner winner chicken dinner!

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?).

Reading The Potty Book on the potty. It's all so very meta.

Reading The Potty Book on the potty. It’s all so very meta.

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?

This borders on humiliating and humorous. As usual, I vote for humorous.

This borders on humiliating and humorous. As usual, I vote for humorous.

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.