Oh, friends. I am exhausted. I am exhausted, and the floor in my living room is covered in scattered toys (many of which are painfully prickly to a bare foot) and beneath the toys, I am sure, despite my best efforts, is a fine layer of pee.
Potty training started off fine, I guess? P1 is 29 months now, so it seemed about time. We've had a little training potty taking up real estate in our bathroom for a few months now, and she would occasionally enjoy parking herself on it, taking some toilet paper to wipe, pretending to flush and then washing her hands with her special green soap. Missing from that sequence of events is the part where she would actually, you know, go.
Since the casual, "why don't you just sit there and see what happens" approach wasn't getting us anywhere, we decided to go hard. Two days, no diapers (except for sleep). The night before the big day, I had a hard time falling asleep, I had such butterflies and nerves. It's a big step! And I didn't know what to expect, except for the certainty of accidents.
The first two days were not bad. I stocked up on cute toddler underwear - Elmo and Peppa Pig and trucks and some plain colored ones with ruffles and bows. We read "Potty Time with Elmo" over and over and over. We watched Daniel Tiger learning to use the potty on repeat. P1 also discovered a video about a character named Potty Monkey - I find him creepy as hell, but she's fascinated, and this is her party, after all, so we watch the Potty Monkey video a lot, too. (One side effect: P2 is getting an unholy amount of screen time too - she hears the iPad start up and wanders over, craning her neck, to see what her sister is watching. I don't have the brain space to care all that much anymore.).
There was one accident, and P1 mostly only peed in the potty after she'd been sitting in it for so long that she kind of forgot why she was there, but it seemed like we were making progress. The test would come, we thought, when she went back to daycare. So, off we sent her that first morning, nervous but hopeful, with low expectations and four sets of dry clothing in her bag just in case. Her daycare teachers, by the by, are amazing (and definitely not paid enough). They were so enthusiastic and supportive, and she made it through the day with just one tiny accident right at the end. The second day, no accidents at all! Pretty good, right?
But this kid. I guess she likes to keep us on our toes. Or remind us who's boss.
She started crying for her diapers, and refusing to go potty, and when we finally wrangled or bribed her onto her potty, refusing to pee in it. She would get up and run away and then be twisting and dancing and jiggling and so desperate to pee with seeming no idea how to do it. And we tried everything.
Trying to tickle her or play silly games to make her laugh. Holding her hands to comfort her. Singing songs, reading books, playing videos. Encouraging her to blow out (supposedly it puts pressure on the bladder which makes it easier to pee), or just to exhale deeply and relax all the muscles in her body. Setting a timer, letting P1 control the timer. Running the tap next to her, pouring warm water over her (the pediatrician kept insisting that no one can resist this trick, even after I explained we'd already tried it to absolutely no avail), promising all of the rewards (forget your one m'n'm per pee trick - we were promising cookies, ice cream, whole bags of treats).
We tried in her little training potty, and we tried putting her potty seat on top of the big toilet and letting her go in there. (Priceless quote from P1 as she sat on the "big potty": "I like your big potty, Mama. It's cool. It's so cool.").
By the end of the week, she was getting so upset every time she had to pee, her daycare teachers suggested maybe there was some kind of irritation or something going on that her pediatrician should look at. While she was getting very distraught, she never seemed in pain once she actually started peeing, but she was trying to avoid it so much that we took her to the pediatrician. Exam revealed nothing, so it seemed more like a mental block (which apparently is a thing - babies are so used to peeing in diapers that they don't even realize what it means to pee on purpose; except she'd been peeing in the potty for a few days before all this started, so who knows?).
You know what's fun? When the pediatrician offers you every single suggestion in the book and you get to say "yup, tried it, didn't work" to every single one. (Except floating a cheerio in the potty. I'd read that as a tip aimed at helping boys, well, aim, so we hadn't thought to try it ourselves).
Will we come out the other side? Who knows. I mopped up four pee puddles Friday morning. I know she's not going to go to college still peeing the floor, but I'm not sure which of us is going to crack first . . . . We saw some improvement over the weekend, so I remain cautiously optimistic that the light at the end of this urine-soaked tunnel is near (at least until we have to ditch the bedtime diapers too).
Parents: are you potty training now? Do you remember potty training your littles? Please share your stories in the comments! And readers, thank you for sticking with us through this rather yucky saga.