Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Warning, this is a potty post

This will have to be quick; apparently Blogger has a scheduled outage in a few minutes.

OK, so Ada has shown some interest in the potty. By this I mean that she knows what it is and wants to sit on it sometimes. When she sits, she always goes, even if she's just had a diaper change and can only go a little. And when she does have a BM in her diaper (sorry, those not interested in diaper talk, which has got to be pretty much everyone) she often goes and gets a fresh diaper and brings it to me immediately, sometimes spreading the new diaper on the floor and lying down on it awaiting my attention.

So she's clearly got some control and some interest. Common sense seems to indicate that I should jump right on this and get her potty trained. But I can't bring myself to do it.

For one thing, she's 1! That doesn't mean that she's not ready, just that I'm not ready.

For another thing, I like changing diapers. No, I'm not crazy. It's just that with diapers things are much easier and more controlled for me. I don't have to worry as much about accidents, about finding clean and accessible potties when we're out, about when was the last time she went, etc.

But the big thing, the main thing, is that I'm just so burned out that I can't bring myself to do it.

Some of you might recall that Ellie started using the potty happily when she was 18 months old. That was 3-1/2 years ago. And the process is still ongoing. Sure, she's been potty trained for a year and only wears a pull-up to sleep (and is showing signs of eventually moving toward giving that up). But it's still a work in progress. And in some ways, things are worse. My frustration with the situation has become so obvious that Ellie now fights going to the potty, rather than being excited by it, even when I'm not around.

But I am frustrated. Really frustrated. And I try to deal with that, or at least hide it, but I've not been successful.

I know, from glancing back over this blog, that there was a time when Ellie took control of her own potty schedule. But I don't remember it - it was last spring, apparently, but it seems now like a figment of my imagination - and can't imagine it ever happening again.

Not only do I have to remind Ellie to go, I have to make her go, while she whines and sulks and tries to escape to "go play." And if I don't, she'll have an accident then come tell me about it.

And even if we get that back on track, where she realizes in time that she needs to go and takes herself to the potty, she'll still need help. She can't raise and lower her pants completely independently, and still has trouble navigating the turn around on the stool and sit on the toilet maneuver without a spotter.

Once she's on the toilet, she doesn't want to get off and will stay indefinitely. It's not like I was an early person before, though being a parent has definitely changed my perspective on how long it takes to get out the door, but it's nearly impossible to get places on time now. How do you budget for a child who "needs" to sit on the toilet for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes just as you're leaving the house, even if she just went a half hour before. (And, indeed, doesn't really go.)

It's all very parent labor-intensive.

I get that it's about control. I get that it's a battle that I can't win. I don't want to fight it, really, I don't. But I can't seem to break the cycle. I just get so frustrated by the situation, all of which is exacerbated by the fact that I hate bathrooms all by myself, and I know better than to spend longer than is necessary or touch more than I have to in there.

So, I'm not really potty training Ada, though I do let her sit on the potty when she asks, and praise her when she goes, and I talk to her about the process sometimes. But I can't bring myself to get all energetic about doing it because I haven't had a break in this potty process for three and a half years, and no clear successes or light at the end of the tunnel.

At every age, I say: this is the best age yet.

But now there's a worst, too. My hands-down least favorite parent responsibility is the potty. No contest. (Lo and behold, it has nothing to do with Down syndrome at all.)


Amanda said...

I think you'll find if you continue to encourage Ada when she wants to use the toilet, it will be easier when she's 2 or so to start training her. My second was much easier to train than my first. She would have been trained earlier, but a broken leg and full leg cast for a month put her back in diapers, but after that it was easy peasy. :)

Kristi said...

Potty training is my most hated parenting job too. Wait, no, taking a baby in for surgery is worse (but much shorter in duration!). 2nd most hated parenting job.

Charlotte's outright defiance lasted less time than Ellie's seems to be (she spent about 6 months preferring to wet herself rather than admit to needing to potty when we knew she was capable), and while she rarely has accidents now, we still argue. She also can hold her pee for like 12 hours at a stretch, which my post-baby bladder cannot comprehend. And she reacts violently to the suggestion to "try" before a car trip or bed.

Like Ada, Trystan is showing interest in going potty, and like you, we're trying to cheer for him when he goes and that's it. I am determined not to get into the power struggles with him that I did (do) with Charlotte. Maybe the potty gods will smile on us and allow our second children to potty train themselves...

Tracey said...

Your children are eager beavers at training compared to mine! E wasn't trained until he turned the corner to the 'big kid side' of preschool at 3.5. He could have easily done it sooner, but didn't feel like he wanted to apparently. A is following in his footsteps. At almost 3, she knows when she has to go, she can do both on the potty, but she chooses usually to use the potty ONLY when her brother announces that HE is going to go. Then she needs it now now now! I don't mind diapers either, oddly enough, though some days after I've wiped every bottom in the house (including pets!) but mine, I'm ready for her to handle that by herself. I think she's going to just do it in a day when she's ready to make that final adjustment.

And E is now managing his rear end all by himself FINALLY now that he's started kindergarten. PTL!

Sarahlynn said...

Amanda, here's hoping. But I'm very afraid that Ada will pick up on the ongoing tension with Ellie and learn - just like she learned to fight hair-brushing - to avoid the potty. Sigh.

Kristi, I did consider the whole baby-in-for-surgery thing when I was making my "worst" comment. I think in my case potty training wins out because Ellie's open heart surgery was an isolated incident so long ago that ended very well, unlike the current ongoing potty battle, which has no end in sight. The surgery thing came up fast and was over even faster, unlike the day-in-day-out, unremitting potty struggle. With a little more perspective, I'm sure I'll feel differently.

Tracey, my E was 3-1/2 when she finally ditched the diapers, too. She enjoyed going on the potty before that, but not with enough regularity for me to let her go diaper-free.

Ada is the same way as A about needing the potty when Ellie goes. (How did I never notice before that we both have an older E and a younger A?) Fortunately, she's happy to sit on the potty chair in the bathroom, so it works to have them both on at the same time.

I'm snickering at the thought of you wiping up after D and gasping at the idea of letting Ellie be solely responsible for her own rear end. The horrors.

Tracey said...

How funny, I didn't realize we both had older E's and younger A's until you mentioned it! I also wanted to name our A "Ada" but was vetoed. :)

My A no longer is content with the potty seat and turns her nose up at it, so when E is there and she decides she wants to go, she will only be happy with THAT particular throne. We have two others in the house, but those are clearly not options when her brother is using the one SHE wants to use. :)

No snickering at the rear wiping...karma will come back and bite you.

OneTiredEma said...

Miss M is totally going through a phase of "I will wait until the last second to take my tush to the potty, and if I pee a little in my underpants? Eh. So what."

Drives. Me. Crazy.

If I note that she hasn't gone in a while (3-4 hrs), I basically force her to try. She usually won't go, but within 5 minutes she's racing back to the bathroom. This is ok, if annoying, when we are at home, but out in the world? ARGH.

Somehow the first six months of potty trained were easier in this regard.

Sarahlynn said...

Tracey, I don't know what I'll do when Ada stops being afraid of sitting her tiny tiny skinny bottom on the big toilet, even with a kid seat perched on top. Probably have the same battle you're having!

OneTiredEma, I agree with you about the out-in-the-world thing! Also, the first 6 months thing. Perhaps it was the novelty of the experience, but I liked those months better. We all had more fun.

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