I don't know what made us get back on the potty training wagon. I think it was a combination of the cost of diapers and seeing how much waste they created, Hannah's impending 3rd birthday, and a heavy sense of Mother's Guilt that my child was some how becoming accustomed to sitting in her own excrement. So we tried again. This time, no Pull-ups, no sticker chart, minimal rewards UNLESS . . . unLESS she went poop in the potty. I promised her the WORLD if she would only poop in the potty. The world, in Hannah's eyes, consists of shopping, ice cream, and going down a slide. So of course those are the three things I promised her.
But the pressure was too high. For three days the two of us camped out on the
"Hannah, if you poop in the potty, we'll go shopping and have ice cream and go down the slide. Do you want to do those things?"
"Yeah! Let's go!"
"Ok, but first you need to poop in the potty."
"No thank you."
"But don't you want to go shopping and have ice cream and go down the slide?"
"Yeah! Let's go!!"
It was easy for me to lose my patience in what felt like this desperate situation . . . to the point of becoming cross with her when she either didn't deliver, or when she delivered in a paper diaper during nap time instead of in the toilet. Pressuring her with bribes she clearly wanted but didn't know how to earn put an enormous strain on our relationship, and on what little energy and sanity we mothers have left for potty training. More often than not these manipulative conversations would culminate in tears and giant sobs of "I caa-aaa-aaa---aan't" which would then reduce me to tears and holding my half naked toddler in my lap, rocking her and apologizing for being so manipulative and mean.
I took her to my sister's house, pink potty in tow, for a little change of scenery. Amy and I sat on her (very spacious) bathroom floor while Hannah ran around with no pants on, luxuriating in the air on her naked tush and the freedom to sit on the potty when it pleased her. I even brought along "Little Bunny Poo Poo," a puppet who talked to Hannah while she sat on the potty, and made farting noises to make her giggle. Now when Hannah plays with the puppet she does nothing but make farting noises. Nice one, Suz. We were in there for two hours, but no poop. I knitted a hat during this time:
On Sunday we rested, and feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, I gathered my creative faculties on Monday and made play doh poop. It was a delicate mixture of neon orange, hot pink and kelly green, but I think I got the hue and swirling just right. When I sent the photo of my creation in text messages to all my friends, a few replied that it was almost too perfect and could do with a few specks of indigestibles, but I thought that would be going a little to far, wouldn't you?
When she was otherwise occupied, I dropped the play doh in Hannah's (sanitized!) potty and set her favorite little doll on top and just waited for her to discover what "dolly" had done. I only wish I'd video taped the reaction.
"MAMA! WOOK! DOLLY POO POO!!!!!!"
"She did?!?!?! WOOOOOOW! Way to go, Dolly! You did it!"
" . . . . how 'bout . . . Hannah poo poo?"
And after 20 minutes of singing, reading books, and having a long conversation about all the people and things that poop ("And elephant poo poo? And tiger poo poo? And lady bug poo poo? And Uncle Kevin poo poo?") she FINALLY POOPED IN THE POTTY HALLELUIA!!!! It was one of the 50 most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life. Ever. My play doh replica paled in comparison. I'll admit I felt just as accomplished as Hannah did. Probably a little bit more. Yes, I thought, We did it! No one was more ready for shopping, ice cream, and about 50 rides down the biggest, reddest slide in town than Hannah and me. We. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!