When I was childless and praying not to be, I was known to say (often, and probably at inappropriate moments) that all parents had to do was be consistent. Now that I am a parent, I realize that this is a little like telling someone driving in circles is that they just need to find the right road. Of course they do, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
We have worked to be consistent in discipline and rules and expectations, but life isn’t consistent, and it’s hard to be a consistent parent in the midst of changing circumstances.
One of my goals for the period of time after school let out and before the baby came, was to try potty training with the mackerdoodle. We have a Sesame Street training toilet seat and she had been asking to sitt on the potty for weeks before school let out. Every night before her bath I’d sit her up on the toilet while I ran the tub as a precursor to our intensive potty training week that would come the first week of summer break.
So three weeks later . . .
She’s still wearing pull ups, still asknig to sit on the potty, but not actually going in the potty. She’ll sit up there for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. We’ll read stories and sing the alphabet song and brush our teeth (she might not be potty trained, but she’s not likely to have cavaties any time soon.) and basically do all manner of things EXCEPT the purpose for which we are there. Finally, my pregnant self can’t handle sitting on the side of the bath tub anymore, and I put on her pull ups. Three to five minutes later, the pull up is wet.
I tried the potty party suggestion of having her teach one of her dolls to use the potty. She was interested for ten seconds, and then moved on to something else. We’ve promised her treats if she goes in the potty. She nods, and smiles and points to the pull ups beside the toilet and says “done.” We bought “big girl panties” as an incentive, and she cares not one whit about them.
But my big problem is consistency. I start out in the morning strong. She goes straight to the toilet as soon as we wake up. I feed her breakfast and then back she goes to the potty for our tooth brushing, singing, reading fun time, which she seems to love. But at some point I get busy doing things around the house, and an hour or more will pass before I think about the potty again, and by that time she’s got a wet pull up and doesn’t seem to care really and by lunchtime, or shortly after, the pull up just becomes a diaper substitute and we go on our day.
So it’s been three weeks without so much as a tinkle in the toilet. At least SHE is consistent.