Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast

Yes, this is potty training a toddler. Only the strongest will survive. Hank is now 3 years old. We introduced him to the potty back when he was about two and a half. He wasn't too interested, just thought the flushing thing was pretty cool. About two months ago, we started sitting him on his little potty a bit. Bought him some big boy underpants (Spider Man, that really sweetened the pot), and gave it a go one weekend. I think it was about the time that I was mopping up the sixth river of pee pee on our wood floors that I decided that he just didn't seem ready yet for full scale underwear trial. So, we bought some Pull Ups thinking that he would feel it more when he went, and gave it some time. Well, I'm afraid we got a bit complacent. Because, to be frank, potty training sucks. I work full-time, so I tend to want my off-time at home to not suck. Keeping the suck factor low is a high priority in my world. So potty training got pushed to the side.

Mike and I talked about it the other night, and we agreed that Hank seems to be getting a bit too big for his Spider Man britches. He's started to take advantage of our complacency, and has become even more obstinate than usual. When I tried to get him to sit on the potty the other day, he flat out refused and threw a noisy fit. Thus, the big guns had to come out. Hank is king of the roost no longer... :)

Starting yesterday, Hank has to sit on the potty first thing in the morning, after school, after he eats, and before bed. Or anytime he needs to or otherwise appears to have to go. But he was really used to us not making a big deal about this potty business. So, yesterday morning, the following transpired:

Hank: I want to watch Blues Clues!
Mike: You can, but you have to sit on the potty.
Hank: I NO WANT to sit on the potty.
Mike: You're going to anyway. Otherwise, I'm unplugging the tv.
Hank: *shocked silence*
Mike: What's it going to be, Hank?
Mike: Fine, the tv is unplugged.
Hank: WAAHHHHH! I want MY MOMMY!!!!!

The child is a master manipulator. Well, most toddlers are, I suppose. When I came down and reinforced the potty thing, he looked dazed. Within two minutes, he was unhappily sitting on the potty, sniffling as he watched Blues Clues. Nothing was produced, but we're determined to stick with a routine. Day after day after day. Eventually he will have to submit.

This morning started off similarly. The announcement that he must sit on the potty was met with stunned and righteous indignation. A multitude of hostile protestations followed, concluding with a tearful plea for mommy. Mommy too turned against him, and he was forced to realize that his morning was going to be cartoon-less unless he complied. He did, with much huffiness and bum squirming. No production, but we are far from deterred, much to Hank's chagrin.

This is a battle we're determined to win. He's ready; he knows when he's going now, and he has the control to hold and release. He actually told me - triumphantly, I might add - a few weeks ago: "I pooing in my Lightening McQueen Pull Up!" I'll keep reporting in, beleaguered, from the battlefield, and update on our progress...

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