Sunday, February 22, 2009

the potty chronicles

This past week, I began and ended potty training with Eli. I never worried about getting him potty trained by the age of two, but when I got pregnant again I was determined to have only one child in diapers at a time. I have a group of girlfriends here who have all used the same "method" of potty training and have successfully had accident-free kids by or before they turned two. So I had pretty high hopes that it would happen. I bought all of the "big boy" underpants, the plastic pants, the potty seats, the travel potty seat, the wipes, the handwashing step stools... you need a serious arsenal for this kind of warfare. I started on Wednesday, and as soon as Eli woke up in the morning, I put him on the potty. The timer beeped every thirty minutes, and we went to the potty. Each trip was a good ten to fifteen-minute ordeal: pants off (he refused to have them just down around his ankles), underwear off, on the potty, read a book, sing a song, read another book, ignore fifty-seven requests for "treat?", get off the potty, flush the potty, new underwear on, pants on, get on the stepstool, wash hands, dry hands, and back to play. It was beyond exhausting. Leaving the house was suddenly like having a newborn again, as was one or two full pajama-and-sheet changings in the middle of the night. Cleaning up poopy underwear is a HAZMAT nightmare compared to tossing a poopy diaper. After four days we had two very tired and cranky parents, one tired and cranky toddler, and absolutely no pee or poop in the potty. I had committed to one week, but at the end of day four, I called Ben and said, "Please, please stop by the store and bring home a package of diapers." To which he basically replied, "Hallelujah."

Now, I've never been known for my stick-to-it-iveness. I have quit sports, clubs, jobs, books, and craft projects with barely a smidge of guilt. But this wasn't a normal quitting, this was
mommy quitting. And good mommies aren't supposed to quit things, so my mom guilt was working overtime last night. But then I woke up this morning and changed my son's wet diaper in 10.5 seconds, and felt extremely satisfied with my decision. My little guy is simply not ready, and I simply too uncomfortably pregnant, and the combination simply doesn't work. So, we may try again in six months, or we may try when he goes off to kindergarten. At any rate, it feels really, really good to just let it go.