Recessive Genes

I’ve decided that both of my kids inherited the recessive gene for potty-training, or perhaps I’m just really, really bad at it.

A few weeks ago, the girl’s Montessori teacher informed us in no uncertain terms that “She is ready for potty-training.  If we miss the window it will be too late.” Read that to yourself in a severe Eastern European accent and you’ll understand why we couldn’t say no.

We went and bought a few packs of training underwear.  We  had a training seat and potty at home and had, up until this point, treated them like bathroom decor.

On Monday, she went to school for the first time in underwear and we sent the extra pairs with her. She returned with a two pounds of wet underwear and clothing and wearing some other kid’s training pants.

We went out and bought more training underwear.  She seemed to prefer the potty seat, so I bought another one so that we wouldn’t have to cart the one up and down the stairs a million times a day.  The new one has Elmo on it, and she refuses to use the old, plain one.  We now cart the Elmo seat up and down the stairs a million times a day.

The week went by and she did a bit better, but the laundry load was getting to be unbearable.  I was about to give up. I tried to mention it to her teacher, who looked at me with widened eyes and said forcefully, “There’s no going back now.”

The next week she started to use the toilet a bit more, and was dry as long as you remembered to put her on the toilet.  I felt heartened.

Every single one of my friends with a 2-ish year old proudly exclaimed, “He/She is potty trained!!” Some online, some in real life.  Some even said things like, “She was just dry all the time in her pull-up so I put her in underwear and she’s even dry at night!” I was jealous.

Then all of a sudden, she suddenly has realized that I want her to use the potty, and therefore she no longer has any interest in it. Just this morning, I tried to get her to sit on the potty seat about 3 times in an hour.  She refused every single time, and eventually just peed on the floor.

Sigh.  Who needs to be toilet trained, anyway? Don’t they now make diapers in adult sizes?

4 thoughts on “Recessive Genes

  1. Gizabeth Shyder says:

    My daughter didn’t train until she was over 3, and she was in pull ups at night until she was 4. I see now that she used the pull-ups at night to be lazy – and she started wetting the bed when I weaned her off them to create night-time, sheet changing chaos in order to stay up later – I finally realized after a couple of weeks of indulging and coddling. I started threatening her with no dessert in her lunch if she didn’t stop – and she finally quit (it was obvious that the bed-wetting was not pathologic when I looked at the timing – it always occurred 15-30 minutes after bedtime – she was still awake).

    Jack trained at 2 3/4ths. Standing up (on his tip-toes – it was sooo cute!). Never introduced him to pull-ups, and we didn’t need him. It was a little bit of heaven after the weeks and weeks of floor and panty wetting we went through with C, then above. Sounds a lot like what you are going through – I feel for you! I remember having the oven timer go off every fifteen minutes on (gulp) more than one weekend – carting her to the potty. Ugghh.

    Your garden looks wonderful. Yes, I know this comment is belated – but better late than never!


    • sajbat says:

      Thanks for the words of support. The boy is still in a pull-up at night, though this can be avoided only if we take him to the bathroom ourselves once or twice during the night, which results in less sleep for us. Not fun. He’s not wetting on purpose, since he’ll be dry if we take him to the toilet at midnight. I’m only hoping that it won’t be another 8 months of wetting before the girl is finally done.


  2. Deirdre says:

    So I know that if I start giving advice on this, I’ll be struck down for hubris and will awake to two soaking beds in the morning. But you’re a good friend, so here goes.

    There are two things we’ve done with both kids that I think were key to the potty learning:

    1. We didn’t use any kind of a diaper replacement like pull-ups. I think it’s just too confusing for them to go from diaper to diaper-like garment and be expected to suddenly understand the feelings they feel and the bodily function that follows. In fact, we didn’t even go to underwear until they were consistently going without accidents. With Nora we tried putting her in underwear about 5 days into the process, and she immediately wet them. We went back to long dresses with nothing underneath (just like her mama!) for another few days and then tried underpants again.

    2. Never ever ever ever ever let it turn into a control battle, because you won’t win. My feeling is that I’d rather have an accident than an all-out potty refusal, so when she goes through those stages where she pitches a fit at the very mention of going potty, I don’t engage. I suggest it, and if she says no then that’s the end of it. It needs to be her idea and her responsibility, and if she feels that I’m emotionally attached to a certain outcome, she’ll choose the other 9 out of 10 times.

    It’s also entirely possible that my two brilliant tenets have absolutely nothing to do with anything, and I just happened to luck out with two early potty learners. Good luck with Lu, and if you need Nora to have a heart-to-heart with her, drill sergeant style, just let me know.


    • sajbat says:

      You are a brave woman and a generous friend to risk your toilet-training success to a blog. Perhaps I am hoping that since children seem to do the opposite of what we blog about them doing, this will be the impetus for the girl to suddenly want to be trained? We’ve been much more consistent about underwear not diapers this time, but it’s still tough–we had to leave Lu with a friend for a few hours last weekend and didn’t want them to deal with it, so into a pull-up she went. Did you just go to underwear at night immediately, too, or did that come later? And you’re right about the control issue, but that’s hard when I’m the one who doesn’t like ceding any ground. 🙂


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