I wasn't the one who started the potty training experiment. It was Terza. She's a real self-starter like that. Mainly, it's because she's in day care part of the week so she sees her school friends using the potty and she thinks, "Hey, that looks fun. I wanna give it a whirl." And she comes home and says, reasonably enough, " wanna use the potty Mommy."
What Mommy would stand in her way?
But here's the problem with Terza's potty training. It's spotty. Really spotty. Her success rate at present is near to nil. Now, obviously, I understand this isn't a pass/ fail thing, I understand there's no "failing" that whatever she does is great and it's all a learning process and a journey and the journey is beautiful.
I get that.
Here's what else the journey is: messy.
You could nickname our apartment Urinetown. I'd be insulted but I wouldn't dispute you. Th skid pisses EVERYWHERE. Her favorite place to pee, though, is my bed. And her favorite time to pee in my bed is riiiiiiiiight after I change the sheets from the last pee accident. Those sweet-smelling, crisp linens must be a siren song to her, whispering, "Coooooome. Do you have to go pee-pee? This is the puuuuuurfect place. Just sit on down and let it all gooooooooo."
The best part is she will run to me, all proud, and announce, "I went POTTY Mommy!" My heart sinks and I ask, "Where, honey?" and she proclaims, 'On your BED! Like a BIG GIRL!"
Occasionally she will even clap her hands, gleefully, as if she's a prompter and I forgot my line.
Then I will sigh, suppressing the urge to reprimand her, because hey, she's a baby after all, and yes, it's all a learning process. And I'll strip the sheets and the mattress paid, AGAIN, and wonder how do you wash a quilt and calculate whether I have enough time to launder all the bedclothes before I have to go to sleep, and I will consider canceling potty training.
Because the Urinetown aspect of this experience isn't even the shittiest part, no pun intended.
One day last week, she was wearing her diaper and she said, "I have to go potty" and a minute later, she had - the stink was unmistakable -- and she rushed over and announced, "I DID IT!" and to prove it, she pulled down her underwear and showed me. I was confused, because I'd thought she was in diapers, just a minute ago, but she explained that she had changed into her underwear so she could poop in there, "Like a big girl."
That's when I said to David, "I feel like she's not getting this."
So, I've removed the underwear from the drawers and reverted to Pull Ups. I've run out of detergent, to say nothing of patience. I figure once I replenish both, in a few days, we'll resume.
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.