Get this potty started

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Despite her very early interest in all things potty, our original plan was to wait until Maddi was 2 to start potty training. This would allow her potty training to be unhindered by stressful events such as a move, or the inability to competently remove her pants and underwear and sit (she still hasn’t quite figured out how to back into a chair). But Maddi had other plans.

My hypothesis on her finger-painting hobby has always been that she does not like being in dirty diapers and was trying to get the poop far, far away from her bottom. However, I talked to Maddi ad nauseam about how we don’t take the poo-poo out of our diapers, and after about 50-odd such post-painting discussions, she finally acquiesced and simply played with her toys when she was done with her morning poop. But for the past three days, she has been removing every stitch of clothing by the time I enter the bedroom, and she has very nearly removed her diaper before my eyes a time or two, so I knew it was but a matter of time before she took off her diaper in the crib and made a mess. (Technically, in Maddi’s head, this would be perfectly allowable since she is not taking poop out of her diaper!)

And today, far, far before I was ready for this doomsday scenario, it happened. My bleary eyes were greeted by a completely naked toddler covered literally from head to toe in poop. I won’t even describe how literally.

OK, I lied. Misery loves company and I would just like to share with you all that I pulled a prune-size clump out of her hair and washed poop out from between her fingers and toes. I also removed no fewer than five midsize pellets from the floor (along with a lump the size of a small rodent and many small “crumbs”), shook yet more pellets and another, slightly smaller lump out of the sheets, de-doodooed and disinfected the walls and the crib, laundered (and extensively Spray N Washed and OxiCleaned) a sleeper, a zip-top sheet, the bottom of said zip-top sheet, the mattress protector (might I add that the mattress protector indicated she had taken a nice little pee with her diaper off, which I initially missed because of the mass casualties), the freaking dust ruffle and no fewer than three unfortunate stuffed toys. Oh, and bathed aforementioned head-to-toe-poopy tot, and then de-poopified and disinfected the tub. There, I feel much better having listed all that, because it’s not like many people know what all is involved in cleaning up these kinds of messes and I feel kind of alone in my misery here. Just be glad I don’t detail it for you every time it happens!

The above, by the way, was in lieu of my relaxing gym appointment, for which I was 40 minutes late. By the time I got there, the day care girl had given up and gone home. I drove the 15 minutes back to the house, just about in tears, and took a hasty shower in a bathroom still reeking of Maddi’s latest masterpiece.

Today’s little incident did not precipitate our decision to buy Maddi a potty, as I had planned to buy one after the gym appointment anyway, but it certainly illustrated Maddi’s readiness to be done with diapers once and for all. I noticed that most of the big clumps had been thrown on the floor, and I think my hypothesis has been proven. Maddi does not want poop anywhere near her (although the unfortunate result of her removing it from her presence is that it gets on her hands and, thereby, everywhere else).

Maddi has also been getting angry when I go to the bathroom, perhaps because she feels excluded. Sure, I let her sit on the toilet occasionally, but we’ve been promising her a little potty of her own “when you’re a big girl” for many weeks now. Apparently she thinks she is a big girl and that she should be using the toilet as well.

We headed down to Sweet Peas, a local purveyor of fine baby goods, and I let her choose from among four different colors of Baby Bjorn potties (the toilet I had previously decided on after much research; this is the only toilet sold at that store, so although she was “picking out a potty herself,” any choice was the right choice!). She wavered at first, but settled on a blue potty. Then we went to the bookstore, where we chose a book about using the toilet. We took the potty home and she managed to pee in it twice between 4:30 and 6 p.m. She was so delighted to finally be flushing her own pee-pee goodbye instead of Mommy’s!

In fact, Maddi was a happy little camper all evening, insisting on sitting on her potty for 20 minutes at a time until she went (sitting still for 20 seconds is quite a feat ordinarily, let alone 20 minutes) and carrying her potty around lovingly. (Unfortunately, she tried to do this with one shoe on and one off, tripped and split her little lip; thus necessitating her first ice-cream sandwich, as that was the only way we could keep anything cold against her mouth long enough to stop the swelling). She was happy as could be to sit on that pot with the Play-Doh she’s allowed to use only while on the potty, plopping it in and out of the can and pausing every once in awhile to grab a piece of toilet paper and haphazardly “wipe” her posterior.

We’re not sure how quickly the potty training will go, since supposedly children who start before 18 months of age take longer to train, but it’s better than the alternative. Maddi seems very happy to have her own potty, as she’s been waiting for this moment for what probably feels to her like years, and we’re happy that she is so enthusiastic about it. We’d have been just as happy if she’d wanted to wait until we were prepared for such a time-consuming undertaking, but it’s not as if disinfecting an entire room and an entire toddler (and then the bathtub) isn’t time-consuming either.

Coming soon: Pics of Maddi’s first ice-cream sandwich!

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