Parenting Perspective: Potty training struggles

April 2, 2010 9:39:15 AM PDT
I just spent more than $60 on a "princess potty." Its shaped like a throne, pink (of course) with its own toilet paper dispenser and magazine rack. I'm hoping it gets my two-year old "little princess" to spend some quality time in the bathroom.

Why does potty training have to be such a power struggle?

Emma is at the age where she's starting to hide behind curtains to fill her diaper (so we don't see the tell-tale sign of the red-faced straining as she's filling her diaper.) My husband, Greg, and I have learned to watch her like hawks when she's in the pool after a few occasions when we had to evacuate and shock the pool after she used it as her personal toilet (in a swim diaper, of course, but that only contains the solid material for a very short time.)

We went through the potty training struggles with our son, Luke, when he was about Emma's age. We would throw a tantrum when I put him on his potty, run away, and then poop in the closet. I finally asked a neighbor who is the mother of four boys. She suggested buying a stash of matchbox cars and giving him one every successful bathroom run. I thought that was crazy, but I gave in, bought a bunch of little cars on eBay, put them in a shoebox labeled "potty cars" and only let Luke play with them while on the potty. If he produced, I'd let him take one car (which I usually found later and snuck back into the potty car box. It worked like a charm.

After Emma gave me false hope 6 months ago, with a random successful trip to the potty, I went to town buying a bunch of princess and Minnie Mouse underpants. I showed them to her and promised she could wear them when she starts using the potty and doesn't need diapers anymore. Now she likes to pull them out of the drawer and wear them as hats. Great.

I've found, if I can entertain her, Emma WILL sit on the toilet long enough for the desired results. That's resulted in me making a multitude of toilet paper dolls: toilet tissue twisted in some resemblance of a bunny rabbit or Ariel, the mermaid. My Prince Eric is pretty lame, but Emma seems to like it. Yesterday, I caught my husband in the bathroom with a container of bubbles leftover from our wedding. Bubbles were filling the air, much to the delight of our potty-sitting daughter. Emma loved the show and expressed her approval with the desired deposits in the toilet.

What I've learned from our potty training escapades is to be patient, they will EVENTUALLY master toilet training (and won't be wearing diapers forever.) I've also learned to take it all in humorous strides. Some of the funniest things my children have ever said has been while sitting on the potty. From "I'm making dragon do-dos," when Luke was sitting on the potty wearing his Halloween costume, to "that's a snowman do-do," when a few pebble-like turds stuck together in a row. Let's face it, being a parent is a lot of fun.