Toilet training, about a year down the road
People with children Bun Bun’s age are entering the toilet training fray, and I’ve read several expressions of general angst about the whole thing. Feeling bad that it sounds so easy for other people’s children, feeling pressure to start, etc. Gemini Momma has a beautiful post on this, in which she points out that “3 day training worked like a charm for us!” stories are common, but it’s rare to hear anything much after that.
Which is not surprising. Who really wants to write or read anything about this subject? It’s gross. But such stories create a then we rode off into the human waste elimination sunset impression that may be false for some cases. So I will share what I’m going through roughly a year after we started. Here’s what my sunset looks like.
The facts. Three day training worked like a charm for us. It did. And aside from a few days where she was pissing on the floor to fuck with me*, urine has been no big deal. She had accidents every now and then for a while, but doesn’t anymore. It helped to think of training as a continuum, wherein she’d get more and more trained all the time, rather than a binary thing. Oh, I must remember to say that she’s still in a diaper for naps and at night. Experiments with taking those away did not succeed.
Shit has been another story. At first she was fine! Sure, I’ll take a dump in there! And then…the wind began to whip up…dark clouds gathered.
Phase 2: A week or so after training, suddenly she will only take a shit when I am in charge of her. Not the end of the world. I’m in charge of her often enough. But instead of going every day, it started being every other day or so, and she had the occasional nap dump with her nanny. This lasted for about three months. Really not so bad. I mean, it wasn’t great, but I was sticking with the “training is a continuum” logic, assuming things would get better.
But then…the sky began to turn ominously green and the wind became really quite scary and suddenly TWISTER TWISTER TWISTER RUN FOR THE ROOT CELLAR.
Phase 3: She will only take a shit in her diaper at night. Nothing I can think of will persuade her to shit in the toilet again. I thought of a LOT of things, believe me. Please refrain from telling me how I could have fixed this. I promise, I tried that. I know that my children are easy, and I am grateful. I think this was my first tiny brush with the kind of daily frustration that is a normal part of parenting for some of you. Meaning, those of you with kids who don’t sleep, don’t eat, etc. Which is not to diminish what you guys experience, just to say that it was the most infuriating and distressing experience of my parenting life. Because it was fucking disgusting. And she’d wake up and cry, which would wake me up. Often she’d sit on the toilet for an HOUR before bed only to take a dump the moment she fell asleep. And I had to refrain from losing my temper. Because we’re not allowed to lose our tempers or we will do instant psychological damage that will haunt them forever. OH MY GOD I HATED THAT PHASE.** It also lasted for about three months.
She stopped this eventually.
Phase 4: Current phase. Now she will take a shit every two days, but has to be coaxed into it. Sometimes she will sit on the toilet for an HOUR AND A HALF before it happens. She is relatively willing to sit there, so it’s not that bad, except that we can’t go on with our LIVES. So that sucks for everyone, and it’s only a good situation in comparison to phase 3. We’ve tried not coaxing her–letting her be totally in control of her BMs. She reverts to Phase 3.
So. As far as piss goes, I am glad I started at age 2. That’s a year’s worth of pissy diapers I didn’t have to change. As far as shit goes, I HATE that it’s so hard. OF COURSE I feel like it’s my fault that she has such a hard time with it. OF COURSE I wonder whether it would have been easier if I hadn’t started so early. (Answer = likely not. There are plenty of success stories at the same age, plus there are plenty of failure stories at later ages, so it’s not like age is the cure-all.) OF COURSE I wonder if there’s a book that will solve my problem. But I am holding staunchly to my NO FUCKING BOOKS line.
So, friends, that’s my sunset.
*Solution for us, since I suspect some of you in the fray will face this: Not, as you might think, locking self in bathroom to avoid screaming and throwing things, but rather calmly (if a bit grimly) making her clean it up and take care of her wet clothes and get out and put on clean clothes. Got boring for her pretty fast, I think.
**I asked our ped for advice, and he gave me the standard line about just having to be patient and gentle about it. Which is, you know, FINE, but it’s also such bullshit. Because it’s easy to be patient and gentle when you’re not fucking living through it.