Monday, March 26, 2012

Potty Training (yes, I'm back)

Yikes! It's been forever since my last post. Boo! DowntownDad! Keep up your blog! This is no way to have the material you'll need to someday write your book. But, as always, I digress.

Here's what's happening:
-potty training
-lots of cooking
-summer camp sign ups
-mortgage refinancing and the ramifications of decisions
-self improvement, growing up, and wondering where your old friends have gone
-when wife's on trial, I'm on trial

Wow, that's a lot to cover! So in this installment, I will take it from the top, starting with my proudest achievement that had almost nothing to do with me.

That's right, potty training. Bunny has been two weeks without diapers. Two full weeks of days, one full week including nights.

How does a person simply wake up one day and decide that she has figured out how to control her bladder? She went from being able to hold out for 60-90 minutes, requiring reminders and still having accidents to being able to control her bladder for three, even four hours at a time, not to mention full nights?

I had been working with her for weeks. Somewhat consistently putting her on the potty, talking about the potty, using every gimmick, praise, and punishment for stretches of time. I was always looking for the magic bullet.

About a month ago, maybe six weeks, I realized that it really didn't matter what I did. I realized, as I think I mentioned in another post, that all of my hard work was really a matter of suggestion. You can recommend that a person stop smoking, stop eating poorly, exercise more, or engage in other healthy or productive habits. The person has to decide for him or herself that she wants to engage in that new habit.

From another perspective, it is disruptive to one's routine. Let's say you were used to working all day at your desk or cooking or whatever it is that you do with your day. You could, whenever your bladder or colon required discharge, just let it go into absorbent material that was bound to you. Then, at some point, a higher authority would come along and deal with it for you. Sounds like a pretty good deal. Now they're telling you to completely change what you wear and then to schedule this activity that did not take up any of your time. The act of having the diaper changed is disconnected from the act of discharging stool and excrement that realizing that using the toilet is actually more efficient takes some time to accept. Then, it's cold, it's big, if you sit wrong you could fall in, and it makes a lot of noise, taking all of its contents into an unknown place (could it take me if I somehow fell in?!?) The hazard and discomfort seem more than some people would want to accept as a new routine.

But, after some time, Bunny realized how much better it is. I think she likes the control - the ability to decide when she goes and when she doesn't. After all, she is a control freak. She's had a couple of accidents, but maybe one of them was her fault. She still requires some reminding, but she's not on a short clock.

I mentioned that a week after going without diapers during the day, she began going without at night. This caused a minor communication glitch with Wife, but it was quickly settled.

She had been dry in her diaper for a week or two, even on and off for a few months leading into this new phase. I decided to give it a try, so last Sunday night, I asked Bunny, "Would you like to wear underwear to bed instead of a diaper?" Wife was walking by, overheard, and said, "I don't think that's a good idea." I replied, "I didn't ask you." Now, you're reading this, so, on paper, it sounds really bad. It wasn't the best choice of words.

I meant two things. First, that I was asking Bunny if it was something that she wanted to do. Second, the reality is that Wife has nothing to do with the consequences. If Bunny had not been able to go dry at night, I would have been the one changing the sheets at night or in the morning.

However, I should have engaged Wife in conversation instead of being curt. Fortunately, she didn't take offense and Bunny upheld her side of the bargain.

Last night, she even asked to go potty in the middle of the night for the first time. And wife took her. It was a nice moment.

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