Friday, February 3, 2012

The Potty Saga

She knows she has to go. It's not like it just comes out. She's gone on the potty enough times to know what's going on.

Recently, she's been going poop in her diaper (and underwear in Ms Polar Bear's class - to the extent that she had to cut the underwear off of Bunny) right around the time scheduled to go on the toilet. Yesterday, we came inside the house from going on a walk. I had to go, so I told her that I would go then she would go.

Big mistake.

I came back a couple of minutes later to find that she had pooped in her diaper. I could tell that it was fresh, as it hadn't been smashed by sitting down on it.

GRRRR! I did not hide my displeasure.

Reality check, Daddy, Bunny is all of two years old. Okay, she's 2 years, 8 months, 29 days old. The fact that she is, in general, on her way to being potty trained puts her nearly a year ahead of her brother's progress.

Perhaps that's consistently one of MY problems as a parent. Once I set an expectation in my head, I have a hard time allowing for age-appropriate setbacks.

You're able to go poop and pee on the potty? Then you should be trained right now. There's no gray area in my head. It extends to other places: getting dressed and undressed, cleaning up, using please, thank you, and you're welcome.

Chill out, Daddy.

I was just thinking about whether I should find a motivational tool like treats. In general, I am against rewarding "good behavior," as opposed to rewarding hard work, which I strongly favor. Saying, "Please," and, "Thank you," are things that we do because we respect other people and we're a polite family. Pooping on the potty is a basic function of being human.

Which takes me to another argument: does the end justify the means? Could I point to rewarding good potty usage as the cause of my success? First, at some point, Bunny will be potty trained, treats or not. Second, would treats in this arena lead to expectations for treats in other places?

I NEVER, EVER promise treats for good behavior at the grocery store and similar errand running. Nor for saying please and thank you. And not now for going numbers 1 & 2.

There was a time when I tried using "potty treats." Now JD, 5, asks for one when he poops. Forget it.

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that patience and realistic expectations are the keys to success. Expecting JD to poop and pee on the potty every time is realistic. Expecting Bunny to do so is not. She's going to have setbacks and this week may be an example of that. (A bit of a "Duh" moment. Yes, I have been accused of being a Master of the Obvious many times before.)

One thing I have learned from dealing with JD's developmental issues is that we often see plateaus and even setbacks juts before a long string of success. While always difficult in the moment, if I can be future Downtown Dad, I would tell present Downtown Dad to chill out, that success is just around the corner, even if that corner is a month or two down the line. Keep being consistent with communicating expectations and scheduling and it will work out sooner than later. Getting angry will only hurt her self esteem and make me question my ability as a parent.

No comments:

Post a Comment