Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Potty Talk

“YAY!!!”  Cheerful applause echoes from the hall bathroom.  Privacy is overrated.  The toddler has triumphed yet again at the toilet, and we have cause to celebrate!  Elizabeth is my sixth - and most likely last - child to potty train. In response to the many questions I receive: "Yes, it does seem to get easier." "I'm not sure if girls are easier than boys." "Yes, every child is different...every potty training experience is different."

I trained Landen by myself.  The onset was effortless in an instant. He was in the bath. Supper had settled, and he had a need. I opted to set him on the potty instead of strapping a diaper on. He delivered. He purposed in his heart that this newfound method was preferable. And so it was: Landen's #2 training.

Oddly, the typical first phase of training took years for Landen. He had a small bladder and though he controlled it all day, he couldn't remain dry all night until he was in elementary school. We knew it wasn't willful disobedience. We allowed no drinks after 6pm. We even woke him to empty his bladder on our way to bed. The only thing that worked was patience and growth.

As in most things, Luke's experience was directly opposite of Landen's. He was "tee-tee trained" by two years old, but poo was another story - a private, sordid tale of dark corners and stinky rebellion. We would constantly and consistently allow him to sit and try. Yet he demanded to wait. He had self-control. It was just aligned with the wrong method. Typically, we would find him behind a recliner, grunting through a red-faced scowl. Those few months were far worse than the years we waited with Landen.

I don't really remember any drama associated with Ardyn's potty training. For a week, she ran around naked, back and forth from her potty chair to whatever struck her fancy in the following moment. With only the usual fanfare, she accomplished that week's goal, and Voila'!

I give all credit for Ashlin's successful training to Luke. His three favorite things are a schedule, candy, and being bossy. We set the timer for 20 minutes, and when it chimed, he hollered, "C'mon Ash-Bash!!! Go Go Go!!! Let's try to tee-tee and then we can have a skittle!" She was completely trained within the first big bag of skittles.

I had similar assistance with Mari Alice. But by eighteen months, she was articulate and believed she could train herself. She seemed bothered that we offered supervision. She just wanted to do it herself. She verbally walked herself through the process..."Tee-tee, plop, wipe, flush wid thumb, gittup on stool and washa hands with soap!" We had a LOT of torn toilet paper on the floor, a LOT of over-squirted soap on the counter, and ALWAYS drips of water down the hallway. And sometimes she would forget to go. Out of all the kids, she cried the most.

With Liz, it's been a team effort. This time I offered fruit snacks - equal reward for trainer AND escort. I had folks hurdling sofas to take her to the potty. And since everyone seems to have personal investment and confidence in her faithfulness, she is the youngest Johnson to wear underwear into public. (Super-safe, control-freak, crisis-averter Momma has been known to stick a diaper on a kid for a grocery morning...just because.) Liz is just 26 months old and has been into town SEVERAL times in big girl panties.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." – Hebrews 12:11

·        The easiest thing in life would be to just live in diapers. Gross, but easy.

·        Disciplined living is hard work.  Unpleasant at times, but progress is peace.

·        Sometimes it just takes time. You can do all the right things, but patience is the discipline.

·        Self-control is a powerful tool. Make sure it's aimed in the right direction.

·        For some who are willing to throw aside all that entangles, and just enjoy the adventure, training comes happily and with ease.

·        If you have someone committed to live the process with you, moment by moment, you are almost guaranteed solid success.

·        If you demand to go it alone, the road may be long, difficult, lonely, and sad.

·        Submitting to the wisdom and discipline of others who've gone before can be sweet success.

·        When you take the time to invest in the lives of others, there is shared confidence and great reward.

·        Privacy is overrated.  Triumph in the tiny things is still cause for celebration!