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Katy England Katy England
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One of those parents

February 24, 2015
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This whole column is about potty training so don't say I didn't warn you.

My kids are 3 1/2, going on 4, and they aren't potty trained. That's right. They're still wearing diapers during the day and at night.

And I've heard about it. I've heard that I'm apparently doing it wrong ('it' being potty training). I'd be the first to agree with you; I probably am doing it wrong. So far, no one has volunteered to come to my house and show me how to properly potty train three kids at the same time. No one has gifted me with a free laundry service, and my fairy Godmother is mysteriously absent with the disinfectant wipes.

Things I've tried so far:

Bribery: That's right. If they sit on the potty, they get chocolate chips, which they enjoy immensely. Unfortunately, this hasn't so much motivated them to use the potty so much as sit on it until they get rewarded. They get a couple for sitting and behaving, and then a couple more if they use the potty for its intended purpose (which does happen). But not everyone likes this arrangement one of my kids (and sometimes more, if they think they can get away with it) will lie to try to get more. If someone uses it, there's a general announcement and then chocolate chips.

But I'm no fool. I check first, and it's a good thing I do, because now, more often than not, they just want the damn chocolate chips. And do you really blame them?

Complex bribery: Also known as the 'Poop Chart,' with this method they have to go Number 2 on the potty, they are given a sticker to place on their chart and when they fill it up, it's toy time! I don't know if it's just because they can't visualize that far ahead, but outside of the sticker, they don't seem to care.

Pull-ups: These intermediary diapers seem cool in principle, but in practice they kind of suck. Since the kids already don't care if they poop in their pants theystilldon't care when they're wearing pull-ups. But there is no good way of taking a pull-up full of crap and taking it off. Well, actually I found out there is, it's called 'scissors.' Works like a charm except for the whole poop thing.

At least there issomesuccess when the potties are in use. But there has been no proactive use by the kids. None of this, 'telling us they have to go' nonsense I've heard about. They arewaytoo busy playing with trains, or out in the snow or reading to actually communicate their internal and silent needs to us.

Someone helpfully suggested I start shaming them into using the potty. And though I suppose I could get all indignant about that notion, if it worked I probably would try it. But they don't really have a sense of shame. Maybe I was supposed to instill that into them early, but they seriously don't seem to care what I think unless it's about dinosaur names or the proclivities of certain sentient train engines. I've told them big kids use potties, I've demonstrated that Mom & Dad, the biggest kids they know, always use the potties and don't need diapers.

They. Don't. Care.

But I still have hope. My sister-in-law says there are no college kids who haven't been potty trained.

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