Thursday, July 31, 2008

Potty Boot Camp

Is there such a thing as Potty Boot Camp? You know, a place where you drop your toddler off in diapers and they come back a week later wearing underwear, able (and willing) to use the potty? Up until now, I've never wanted to spend even a night away from Nourit, but at this point, I can make the sacrifice. I'll let her go for a week - as long as someone else will potty train her.

I can't say for sure how long we've been "training" Nourit. I wouldn't say we'd even begun, except we've had the potty chair for almost a year now, and we've watched at least 1,000 repetitions of 'Go Potty Go.' She's run the gamut from screaming and crying when we suggest sitting on the potty, to a few weeks of happily pooping daily on her little green seat with the cute frog on it. (And at this point, everyone who is not the parent of a toddler is allowed to stop reading, because it only gets worse from here.)

Now we're back to the screaming. And I would happily keep her in diapers until she turns 4. Let's face it, it's way easier on us. But she's started praying to the Poop God again, and she's started giving her dragon suppositories (yes, she can pronounce the word very clearly,) so I think the only option to combat her self-imposed constipation is to get her used to sitting on the potty regularly, which I think is referred to as potty hell. Sorry, potty training.

I really don't know why she's constipated at all, except she's been a weird pooper her entire life. When she was 5 or 6 months old, she went for 3 weeks at a time without pooping. It eventually came out, and she never seemed uncomfortable, so the doctor wasn't concerned. Then, as she got older, she'd spend days dropping to her knees, thrusting her head back, and pressing her hands together in a prayer-like position. Finally, she'd poop, and it would stop for a day or so, before she resumed her unique regimen. Still, though, she never seemed like she was in any kind of pain. And goodness knows, her diet consists of more fiber and dried fruit than, well, than any other person or animal I know.

Then, a few months ago, it really seemed like it was difficult for her, and at that point, I brought up the issue with the doctor again. He suggested mineral oil, and it was like magic! She would poop every day, on her potty, no less, and it seemed like it would finally be possible to potty train her without hysterics. But the mineral oil lost it's charm and she's refusing to sit on the cute little green seat, and so we've introduced her (and dragon) to the words 'suppository' and 'underwear.'

I have no idea if it will work, but at this point, what else is there? I've cut cow's milk out of her diet, and put her in underwear while we're at home. (Pull-ups are just a marketing scam, and training pants are just diapers without leak protection.) I ask a billion times a day, "Would you like to sit on the potty?" and get screams of "Noooooo! Can't want to!", followed by "Hey! I pee'd on the floor!" (or the puzzle, or the couch...) In those moments, I'm possessed by the desire to shame or ridicule her into sitting on the potty, but all the books say I shouldn't do that. (Does going to the pantry to get myself a cookie after I peed, and very obviously not giving her one since she didn't, count as shame?)

Anyway, there have been alot of things about having a child that I wasn't sure how I'd handle. But surprisingly, I've regularly maintained a calm demeanor with the get-my-child-into-a-snowsuit-boots-hat-scarf-mittens-then-out-the-door routine, and escaped unscathed from putting Nourit on a sleep schedule at 12 months, as well as weaning her at 16 months. (Well, she did that on her own. One day, she just looked at me and laughed when I offered to nurse her like usual. And that was the end of that.)

But the whole potty training thing is like going into medieval battle for me. And as Karen Carpenter so sweetly put it, "We've only just begun."

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