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Friday, September 4, 2015

A tried and tested solution to potty training woes


Are you having problems getting your not-so-big boy or girl to use the potty - when it matters, that is?

Last Sunday I was babysitting my 2-year old nephew, who is undergoing potty training, and it took me back to one of the most trying periods of my almost 10-year motherhood.

My son Dominic never wanted to go on the potty. He just couldn't be bothered to stop playing, chatting or running about with his cousins. Bodily functions were simply a constant, inconvenient nuisance to him. Ironically though, he would get very upset whenever he had an "accident". He was obviously embarrassed.

Dominic's only interest in the potty was its appearance... it was cute (with the face of a friendly little hippo), colorful and he loved opening and shutting its lid - over and over, ad nauseum! He even used it as his personal throne - not in the way it was intended, but instead to watch TV and even at snack time! To him, it really was more of a toy than a toilet.

I eventually had to start hiding it from him whenever we had company, thereby avoiding the mortifying embarrassment of seeing him in the living room, waving it proudly in my guests' faces (who obviously assumed that it had been used more than once every 5 days)! They would cringe as he approached them, especially if the lid fell off! Oooh, Dominic!

I really was at the end of my rope. Pull-ups made him lazy and he used them as diapers. "Big-boy" briefs did no more to instill potty prowess - I always had to include 2 extra pairs in his kindergarten pack. Endless apologizing, mopping, scrubbing and washing, ruined carpets and going through 3 Glade Clean Linen 6-packs per week... it was hopeless! To make matters worse, for some reason Dominic had resorted to only doing this at home - his teachers said that after they started replacing his pull-up with a brief, he began going to the bathroom voluntarily!

After asking everyone's advice and combing the Internet for a solution, I finally came across a Sesame Street video called Elmo's Potty Time. I was skeptical but being a proud alumnus of the Children's Television Workshop myself and knowing how much Dominic loved Elmo, I decided - what the heck? Besides, it wasn't as if I had any alternatives lined up!

So I bought the DVD and did a pre-viewing for my own benefit, just to gauge its effectiveness. It seemed to live up to its promise, so I decided to put it to the ultimate test.

That afternoon, after picking up Dominic from kindergarten and giving him a snack, I invited him to come and watch "this really cool, new Elmo video I just bought!" (no mention of its ulterior motive). Being an Elmo fan, he came willingly and sat down to view it. As he watched I observed him, looking for that tell-tale trigger. At first he just immersed himself into the songs and dialog, as usual, but then something happened...

Suddenly, he darted out of the living room and down the corridor towards the bathroom - he had NEVER done this before. I was like, "Yaaaaay!" (silently, of course). I wanted so badly to run right behind him, cheering all the way, but I didn't want to jinx it... this was something that he had to overcome on his own. Instead I just sauntered down the corridor, stopping just shy of the corner facing the bathroom with my ears cocked all cat-like! I could hear tinkling... it was a wonderful sound! In fact, I meditated on the sound so deeply that I had to do a little "wee-wee" dance myself!

After he flushed, it was finally safe to confirm the success of my covert operation. "Did you use the potty, sweetie?", I asked. "Yes, mommy." was the reply. Right then and there I dropped to the floor and cried like a baby - I think my bladder transferred all that "liquid" to my eyes! Finally able to round the corner, I waited patiently for him to finish drying his hands and then ran to him, squeezing him so tightly that he was gasping for air!

I was so relieved, yet proud at the same time... I never experienced such intense emotions again until the Cook's Badge episode.

So if you're going through anything like this right now, take heart - there is hope!

Potty Training that Really Works!
Potty Training That Really Works!

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Potty Training That Really Works!

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Until next time


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