Lucia is doing extremely well with potty training. She has #1 down, and had no accidents after the second day of training (though we haven’t attempted going out without a diaper yet). “I have to go pee-pee,” she announces authoritatively. We hurry to the bathroom, she sits on the potty seat, sing-songs “I’m goooiiing…,” and then says “That’s it” when the trickle stops. Then she gets a few chocolate raisins. She knows the system, and how to work it: This weekend, as Andrew was giving her a bath, she announced, “I want chocolate before bed.” “Do you have to go potty?” Andrew asked. “Umm…yes,” she hedged, and eeked out a few drops.
She’s having a harder time with #2. She’ll do it—but it takes a long time. Today it took all day. She has to go—desperately has to—but when we run to the bathroom, she’ll sit for only a second before saying “I don’t have to go.” Yesterday, it took all morning before finally she went. Today, she didn’t go until after dinner. She was so excited when it finally happened that she ran screaming with joy out of the bathroom to announce the news to Andrew, who was home by then.
All this would be no problem if I had only one child. But this have to go / don’t have to go ritual happens again and again and again. Today it must have happened more than ten times. Fifteen, maybe, over the course of the day. Fifteen times of happily playing outside, then herding Lucia and Greta into the house, putting a screaming Greta on the floor of the kitchen, helping Lucia onto the potty, picking Greta back up, situating us in the bathroom doorway with a book or my iPhone with a video (yes, I’ve resorted to this)—and then one second later (“No I DON’T have to go”) undoing it all, going back outside, playing for five minutes, and doing it all over again. It’s even more complex if Greta’s in her highchair eating. I don’t feel comfortable leaving her alone since she’s eating finger foods now, so I have to haul her out of her highchair, covered in food, only to then resituate her, etc etc etc.
I’ve tried everything to get Lucia to sit and just go (like the aforementioned videos on my phone), but she just won’t give it the time she needs. And I can't very well force her to sit there--I'm trying to make this process as stress-free (for her) as possible. So if she wants to sit for only a second, I don't feel like I can do anything about it. Besides, she can get down by herself--it's not like I can duct-tape her to the seat.
The bathroom is also very old and tiny and dirty, so I have to squeeze onto the floor near the toilet to read books. I try to keep Greta from crawling in, so what Greta ends up doing is pulling herself up on a bookshelf we’re using for food storage in the hallway outside the bathroom and trying to pull canned goods down on herself. Or just screaming. She’s currently cutting two teeth.
I feel like I’m losing my mind. I was already insanely busy without the potty training thrown in, and now things are kind of out of hand. Though my children are adorable (most of the time) and precious…I find myself looking enviously at families at the park or the pool whose kids are school-age. Life is busy for everyone, of course. But I trust crouching on the floor of bathrooms, asking about the potty a gazillion times a day, pulling down a child’s underwear while balancing a screaming baby on one hip, ending every day covered in sticky banana-ness from holding that same baby for so much of the day—well, I trust that all of this has an ending point. Really, it has to. It just has to.