Touch of Spice

Pee pee in the potty

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We've sort of started working with Katie on the skill of potty training, which probably explains why she only sort of gets it.

Everyone told me it would be a challenge. I said "I know," with a big sigh while secretly thinking that MY daughter wouldn't have any problems.

SHE would pick it up with ease.

Well, as reality hits I've got two things to contend with: It really is a difficult skill to teach, and my daughter is naturally stubborn and refuses to put any effort into something she's not totally committed to.

Which is why the closest she's come to filling the basin in her potty chair is when she takes it with her into the shower. I can't say that's a bad thing, because the only other things she uses it for are as a hat and as a drinking cup.

The chair itself is only useful as a step stool to reach things she shouldn't be reaching. She will drag it in front of the television and sit in while watching Barney, I just can't seem to get her to do it naked.

Sometimes she stuffs diapers in it, which I think is a start, but I'm probably giving her too much credit.

She's at a point right now where she'll tell us when her diaper needs changed. We'll not tell, more like scream and demand. But I think that's progress. Maybe she'll learn to use the potty chair because she's tired of wearing a diaper.

I'm not really convinced we're near that point.

I left her diaper off one night when we were working hard with the potty chair and had her sit on it every few minutes. That lasted about a half-an-hour when the joy of being naked got lost in the fact that she was uncomfortable without a diaper and wanted it back.

Not only did she demand to wear a diaper, she brought me her doll and had me diaper it, too.

I've already got two kids in diapers -- that is definitely not progress.

I tell you, it's one step forward, trip, fall on your face and start again about five steps back.

In a strange twist, she seems to be content to use the potty chair at the baby-sitter's house.

I'm confused.

So we start small. I made up a pee pee in the potty song and dance that amuses her to no end. I sing it for myself every time I go to the bathroom like a big girl, but it doesn't seem to influence Katie or nudge her toward accomplishment.

I should have known that wouldn't work. When we were working on counting, I'd count to 10 and cheer "yeah momma!" when I finished, thinking Katie would want to do it to get a cheer for herself.

Well, eventually she did it, but now she hits 10 and yells "yeah momma!"

So, I've decided I'm not going to be the kind of parent who pressures her children to use the toilet before they're ready (mostly because they don't respond well to pressure).

It'll happen when she's ready, but it had better be soon. I'm going to calculate the average age for potty training and charge her for every diaper used after that point. I'll add it to the "how my children who drove me to the poor house book" and use it to counter any guilt she lays at my feet later in life. Guilt, say, for sharing her most intimate and embarrassing secrets in this column.

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