It appears that I forgot to potty train my child. My youngest child, that is. Rest assured that the older one is totally set for sleepaway camp and out of state university but the youngest? Well, it’s just too late. I guess we’re going to have to buy stock in Depends.
I didn’t realize that three was the point of no return. Books like Diaper Free Before Three could have clued me in had I bothered to read them, but I prefer to source my parenting information from the internet. That’s where I found this quick and dirty version of the three day potty training plan that I can’t use because, as the author explains, “[t]he closer you get to age 3, the less likely it is to work.” Great.
Part of why I missed the boat is that I deluded myself into thinking that we were getting somewhere. She’d had a few early successes and I figured the rest of it would just sort of happen. Wrong. She stopped showing any interest in the potty and I…well…sort of…kind of…forgot about it.
That’s when I decided maybe it was time to try the same trick my mother had used with me. According to family legend, my mother was able to potty train me at age two by handing me a pair of new underwear and delivering the following ominous warning: Now, you don’t want to mess up your pretty panties, do you?
I know. Pretty panties? In her defense, it was the 70s, but if I ever have a complete mental break I suspect it will involve me rocking in a corner and muttering to myself over and over again — mustn’t mess up the pretty panties!
Still, I am potty trained so…the other day I handed my daughter a new pair of underwear and gave her a more current version of the speech — Hey, check out these super cool gender neutral underpants! What do you say we keep these clean and dry?
Well, my daughter delivered a prompt reply — right in said underpants — and it was kind of the opposite of clean and dry.
So what’s left? It seems like all of the methods essentially boil down to naked-time-all-the-time or bribery. I’m not opposed to either. It’s just that in practice neither has actually gone so well. She doesn’t really want to hang out naked and she loses interest in the bribes.
The answer seems clear: we need a better bribe. Or awesome-er underpants?
I’m not going to give up. Actually, I’m pretty sure I can’t give up. Legally, I mean. That’s probably neglect. Or un-parenting? Wait, un-parenting is a thing. Do they just let their kids shit all over the house? I actually don’t know what to do. If you were hoping for a lesson at the end of this post, you can keep on hoping. I am at a complete loss. Off to buy stock in Depends.
p.s. If you’re wondering why I trained the first child and then forgot how I did that by the time I had my daughter: (1) There are 6 1/2 years between them and (2) I tend to block out things involving poop.