“I guess, I am going to give up now!”, I heard R saying from the bathroom. What was she going to give up already, at such a tender age? you wonder.
I had sent her to pee on the potty, before bedtime, even though she had told me that she has done it a little while ago. My “…” is empty!, she tried explaining me. Still, my mommy mind was sure, she could do some more.
When I had my triplets..I always used to fear as they grew out of infanthood, how I was going to potty train my kids. Studiously, as soon as the calendar showed they were a year old, we had bought 2 potty chairs for them. The musical kind. The ones that sing when one pours something in it. That would surely impress them..enough to pee into it, we had thought.
Why 2 potty chairs? Why not 3? I had guessed, not all may want to go potty at the same time, and the fear of bumping into potty chairs when I have to go to the restroom at nights was terrifying! As it is, walking around at nights, without stepping on any of their toys had been difficult to cope with. As first time parents, we didn’t know an alphabet of what Potty training really meant and its complications.
We had set those 2 chairs on the counter top of our bathroom. Our bathroom had this convenient long counter without a wash basin. Why such a HIGH setup, you ask?
To keep them at eye level of course! Be reasonable, you say?
Can you imagine a 1 year old, who listens, when spoken to? My toddlers were no-where close to that. They just did what their mind told them to. Picture this! I just brought P to the chair, then I go to bring N to the other chair..by then, P would have walked away. And, potty chairs don’t come with seat belts right! The only way to lock them on their seat was to place the chair such, that, they couldn’t escape! The first 10 seconds were so heartening. P and N tried to gossip with each other. We were already feeling elated that this is not going to be difficult after all, that the kids are understanding the fun of this exercise, so soon!
No sooner we thought that, they started to fuss about being on the seat, I got one down. Then, it was K’s turn to get on the potty, I put her along a sibling of her’s who was willing to stay on the chair. I stood there, so she could be close to my chest..Suddenly, K started screaming and crying as if the whole world was going to turn apart or the gravity that is keeping us to the floor is going to fail and we are going to be thrown into the atmosphere. So, I got her down and calmed her. Then, I tried putting her on the chair again. Same reaction. Days turned to weeks, she screamed the same. I kid you not, I could feel the walls behind her…shake a little bit. She was this tiny little thing, a literal feather weight, but, she had this cry that could move a mountain.
Without giving up..(like I had a choice there!), I continued this everyday. Soon, P and N were comfortable to stay seated on the chair..they spoke with each other, while they sat on their chair. It had become their gossip spot. And one fine day, one of them ( I think it was N), PEED into the bowl for the first time ever! I hadn’t felt this thrilled even when I had trained my dog to roll on the ground, on command. Actually, that’s so much easier.
She had gotten scared and excited to see me scream like I had, out of joy!! It had felt more like my achievement, than the kids’. I had achieved something that no mom had achieved so far. (Well, it felt that way!), I had gotten one of the triplet to pee in the potty, after weeks of seating them on the potty!
Soon, they were able to pee in the potty consistently, for at least one time of the day. The first pee of the day..The morning call! After that, I couldn’t track when they wanted to go and they couldn’t tell me that. They were left in diapers for the day. When they were about 17 months, we went to India. I had loaded about 3 suitcases of diapers because, we were planning to stay there for more than a month..for almost 2 if we could. Since, we didn’t have carpets over there, I took the liberty of leaving them without diapers. They peed on the floor sometimes, but soon, they were trained to pee in the potty at least during the day.
Eventually, K also got accustomed to sit on the potty chair. By the time we returned from the trip, I had kids that didn’t need a diaper during the day. Can you believe, our diaper costs dropped so much? But, this turned into another problem. Being first time parents, and watching the pressure that fellow parents put us through…
“Are your children trained? … Have you started potty training them?” and being a little excited ourselves..we sure had gotten them trained but, they were tiny toddlers with a tiny bladder. They needed to go every so many minutes. We were to learn this lesson of the day too!
Once we had ventured out from home for more than 2 hours. We had even used the pull ups on them, just in case they had to go! Soon, the kids did have to go. The kids cried that they needed to go in a potty, and they refused to pee in the diaper. I can’t forget the way we had rushed home that day. We were a good 20 minutes away from home.
After that incident, we started to carry a potty chair with us when ever we went out. In this excitement of being good parents, we had potty trained our kids before they were ready.
So, when it came R’s turn, I was wiser 3 times over(At least I thought so!). Even though, I did feel the pressure as she was crossing the 14 month and then 15..month mark. I had not done a bit to let her know this basic manner we humans use to Pee. But somehow, she had watched her elder sisters do their potty on that big bowl. She wasn’t scared of it. She was willing to sit on it. She also tried to repeat this chore, (the sitting part) after her sisters.
Soon, without any input from me she started clearing her bladder on the big POT. Then, it came time to train her for the nights..During the time she was turning 2…Hubby dear had taken on himself to get her to be trained for the nights. R had got so scared of this pressure that she started to wake me up at nights to go potty. I realized that it had made her so nervous and was disturbing her sleep somehow. I asked Hubby dear to back off and didn’t pressure her as much after that.
Now, she is going to be 4 next month and she still wets her diaper now an then, at nights. She is so ashamed of this in the morning that she removes her diaper herself, disposes it and comes down dressed to greet me, nervous that she’s going to be asked that horrendous question..
“Did you wet your diaper?”
If she did, she is all “I’m sorry Mama…I’m not going to do that again!”
“I can make silly faces for you Mama”, she says trying to placate me, trying to make me forget it.
That’s one reason, we insist that she empties anything in her bladder before she goes to sleep. She for her part..gives in to this rule. For if not, she knows, she’ll not able to keep her diaper dry at night.
There’s another problem of kids getting independent with their nature calls. They would go potty themselves, wipe themselves and we wouldn’t even know they went. The triplets used to help each other too, during potty times. I wouldn’t have a clue, they had gone potty. Later, when I see the messy underpants, I realize, she went and I needed to clean her up.
I had made it a rule for the triplets that they always call me, when they need to go potty. I’ve made the same rule with R too.
This is one part of parenting, I’m still nervous about. That I’m never going to conquer, even if I had to train a dozen kids. Each kid is unique and has their own way at it. Now that this is said…Shouldn’t it be me who should be saying…
“I Guess, I’m going to give up now”!!