Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
My rambunctious toddler, Hallie, has been vaguely potty training for some time now. She showed interest over a year ago and we have let her coast along, using the potty as she was comfortable but not pushing anything. I did test the waters a few months ago as Hallie was showing signs of readiness, but we weren’t quite there. Cleaning up pee off the floor every 15 minutes in my third trimester of pregnancy wasn’t fun, so I called it quits.
I had no plans of attempting another round of clean-up duty with the recent birth of our second child, but Hallie began to insist that diapers were for babies. The diaper changing mat lost it’s appeal pretty quickly once she realized she was way too big to be changed like her brother, and something in her mind clicked.
What really sealed the deal for me was the $100 in diapers and wipes that I spent that would last these two poopsters maybe a month. Yeah, we were done here.
The last couple weeks have gone great. We’ve been able to go out in public with no accidents, and for the most part Hallie has gone through the transition without problems. She was definitely ready and I’m very proud of her progress.
What I wasn’t ready for was her attitude. My child is not dumb by any means. Hallie is intuitive and things tend to happen on her terms. So, why she looks me dead in the eyes and pees on the floor is a mystery. No one else gets this special treatment. It’s all for mom.
We have gone the rounds with potty alarms, stickers, prize boxes, candy, and insane celebrations for every drop of pee that hits the toilet, or at least in the near vicinity. I’ve tried prompting every 15 minutes to every hour, wondering if Hallie was feeling pressured to go too often or not being reminded enough. But it’s not about that.
This, my friends, is a power play.
I will know for certain my child has to use the bathroom, and that it is by no means an emergency. Situations where we have gone 20 minutes prior and I just want her to try. I’m being excited, offering her to fly her to the toilet like an airplane, with promises of rewards after she has done her business. “No, thank you.” “In a couple minutes.” Those are the responses I get, if I get a response at all. When I insist that I need her to at least try, Hallie’s eyes lock with mine.
It’s the moment of truth.
Hallie lets loose and pees all over the floor, with a smile on her face. “I wee-weed on the floor, mama.”
Yes, Hallie, I’m very aware.
I take whatever toys she was playing with or turn off whatever show she was watching, with a gentle reminder that if she can’t pull herself away to use the bathroom she won’t be able to play with it right now.
Sigh. Hallie clearly doesn’t give a shit. She knew what she was doing.
Now, with every accident Hallie is helping me clean up the floor. With every accident, Hallie is reminded that she doesn’t get to choose anything from the prize box. With every accident, I remove whatever was keeping her so busy that she had to get an attitude with me about using the bathroom. I keep it neutral. I don’t give her the response she is begging for, which is my irritation.
If you don’t know my child, Hallie is a BIG fan of getting a negative response. She happens to find frustrated parents hilarious. Just ask her father. He’s an easy target, bless his heart, but for him she’s not peeing on the floor. That one is special just for me.
With every successful potty trip, I am losing my shit with excitement. I’m acknowledging that it’s hard to do and that Hallie should be very proud of herself for learning. I’m talking about what a big girl she is and how awesome using the potty is.
There’s no point in challenging her, because this is a battle I can’t win on her terms. It’s just another boundary to push, to see where she and I stand, and my willful child flexing control where she has it. To remain in control, I must be the calm one. This is not about me. At some point, my child will grow tired of soiling herself. Not being able to watch Frozen is a big kicker for her, too.
I’m assuming we will continue to go the rounds. I will have to tweak my methods to win this war, even if I’m losing the occasional battle and have to wipe pee off the floor. My daughter has an attitude, to put it lightly, and one day I will be thankful for the fire in her soul. Potty training is not one of those times, so say a prayer for this mama and wish us luck.