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April 27, 2011

It's Cramping My Style...

…this whole potty-training thing…

…and I’m not just talking about my style, as in, “I’d like to venture outside the four walls of our house one day again…

…I’m actually talking about my style of discipline.

It doesn’t always hold for every situation, but when possible, I like to enforce consequences-based discipline. The girls need to understand that their actions breed consequences, and I try to do that in a very matter-of-fact way.

I try to take the emotion out of the situation, and – as much as I can – live by the words, “Never let ‘em see you sweat.” (Of course that’s much easier said than done sometimes!)

Throwing a toy over the baby gate means that toy goes bye-bye. I verbally reprimand the toy-thrower, “No, we do not throw toys,” and I set the toy across the gate, within her sight (so she doesn’t just forget about it).

Playing during mealtime means mealtime is over. I issue a warning, “If you play, it means you’re all done.” If the play continues, I remove the playful partygoer’s plate and allow her to sit in her highchair. I will give the her a second chance after a couple of minutes, but not a third.

I feel like this is really effective for our girls, and it’s something I can manage pretty well, too.

Where I’m getting hung up is with Baby A seeming to turn potty-time into a game.

In hindsight I made a big mistake by playing up the fact that she would get to help Mommy empty the potty chair into the toilet. In turn (I guess) she breaks her potty activity up into as many mini-sessions as possible. She will easily make five or six trips to empty a small amount of waste.

Occasionally I’ll put my foot down and tell her, “That’s not enough to empty,” but I feel like I have to tread so lightly.

My gut instinct is to use a familiar phrase and tell her, “If you play, it means you’re all done,” and put her undies back on and return her to the den…but I certainly don’t want to clean up the ramifications of her going in her pants. (With the handful of accidents she’s had, she hasn’t seemed too upset…so I don’t think the risk of a mess would be a big deterrent for her.)

As it is, I try to make the trip from the potty chair to the toilet as uneventful as possible…”Go directly to the toilet. Do not pass ‘Go’. Do not collect $200.” I am trying to be very matter-of-fact during these many trips, and only praise her when she’s actually finished.

And I’m trying to maintain my cool and “never let ‘em see me sweat”…even when I work up a true sweat from all the exercise.

I am plowing ahead, knowing that this phase, too, shall pass. I know that the novelty of a potty trip will eventually wear off, and Baby A will want to consolidate her business there so she can get back to her work at hand…like reading books, and playing puzzles, and building towers...

...or maybe she’s exhibiting early signs of a career in industrial engineering…the lure of the flushing toilet being far greater than any toy she’s ever seen.


Johanna said...

The newness of flushing will soon wear off... until Baby B starts to potty train! You're doing great. Potty training is a constant test of patience.

Zoo Mommy said...

Yes, I try to discipline like that- and it gets more difficult as they get older, that's for sure! Keep it up!
And personally, I like to skip little potty chairs and go straight to the toilet. Maybe that would help.... or maybe she would just go and flush 6 times!

James said...

I am anti-potty chair, too. Do you have a timer you could set? Maybe a minimum of two minutes sitting on the potty and no repeat visits? Use some pull up diapers in the interim to keep your sanity?

reanbean said...

I am not anti-potty chair, although it is so great now that mine are both consistently using the regular toilet. But in the beginning, I felt that having the potty chairs were really important for their learning. Especially after Tiny was trained and I was working on Buba. She could get to the potty and use it all by herself while I was helping him and could not have done the same thing by herself with the big toilet.

This may totally disgust you, but could you leave the tiny bit of urine in the potty and only empty it when there is an acceptable amount in there? I think if she's really got the concept down and is just game-playing it's okay to set up some "potty rules" that might reduce the number of trips to the potty chair and lean to more efficient toilet use.

But you're right too about it all being a phase. Hopefully this one will be short-lived. :o)

Amanda (The Lily Pad) said...

My girls are also turning potty training into a game- but I feel it is such a fragile issue I don't want to discipline and have them loose their motivation. They want to use the big Potty then when we get into the big potty, no the little potty, then one doesn't need to go until she sees her sister sitting on the potty and she suddenly has to go on that same exact potty! They know they have some control when it comes to this whole potty training business and want to take full advantage! I can't wait until mine are fully tained but know that is still along way off!

Andrea said...

You are doing an fantastic job Mommy! It will get easier because it has to, right? Take care!

Lauren said...

I used the potty chair for just a short time. All for the same reasons, they liked to play. The important things to remember is
1.Kids play, they dont have boundaries as to where their play happends. They play in the tub & they dont understand why they cant play doing other things in the bathroom.
2. The potty thing is all new to them. kids dont know what it means to sense a full bladder and do something about it, especially, at night (that part can go on for years).
In the matter of the potty is where I had to shed some of my rigidity in my "this is the way it is for survival" style. Your right, this too shall pass whether you stress over it or not!
Ps. Wait till they find out stores have potties too and visiting every stores potty on your route home becomes and obsession!

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

"Industrial engineering?" ick

Do you see now why I am dreading this???

Hang in there (God, I hate when people say that, but whatever)...this too shall pass and I just read Lauren's comment...the public bathroom thing is going to freak me out. I'm sure I'll lie on more than on occasion about a store NOT having a potty! LOL

Lauren said...

Lol I just remembered i once got a ticket for speeding through a national park! It seemed the officer didnt CARE that i had a set of twins and that there are only certain public bathrooms that we can stop at and it just so happened that the national park bathrooms was one of them and they had to go! So yeah the use of public bathrooms is a major factor in our lives!

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