Thursday, January 20, 2011

which of us is really not ready for potty training?

I blame it on Burrito.  She isn’t potty trained yet.  She is almost 2 ½.  I’ve definitely been careful not to push her too hard since I’ve heard that can backfire pretty easily.  And she is still pretty young.  And she doesn’t wake up dry, as my mother in law told me to watch for. 

She is pretty finicky about cleanliness lately though (how this co-exists with her tremendous ability to make a huge mess, I do not know).  A little speck of dirt or dust ends up on her hands and she’ll gasp, “Oh!  Dirty!  Clean it off!”  More over-reaction I have never seen in someone in regards to a bit of fuzz.  I hope she is not gaining a sense of scrupulosity and over-attention to germs from me.  I’m trying my best not to overreact to things like the time she left some suspicious objects in the tub, but I wonder if I failed at that since she is now scared to death of “messing” in the tub.

But then I suspiciously forget to set her on the potty throughout the day.  I remember diaper changes and everything.  I remember to feed the child and dress her and get her up in the morning, but I have trouble remembering to give her a chance to try to learn her potty skills. 

I’ve wondered lately which of us is really not ready for potty training.  I think it might be me.

Is it that I want to keep her little?  That might be part of it.  She’s already growing up too fast.  I look forward into the future and see her in school and then a teenager and getting married…  I just want her to stay home with me and giggle a little more and say, “I love you too, Mommy” some more.  Yeah, that might be part of it.

Is it that I think I can’t do this whole potty training thing with her?  I think I’ve mentioned that I am a bit change resistant at first.  We’ve got a nice system going, and I don’t care what anybody says…diapers are easy…well, at least they are if you’re polluting the environment like I am with disposables (I know, I know…but I just can’t deal with washing out those soiled diapers every day…I hope you can forgive me…you cloth diaperers are saints, and I mean that from my heart!).

Yes, (disposable) diapers are easy.  It’s weird because when I was about to become a mom, changing diapers was like the thing I was most worried about.  I mean totally gross, right?  I had no idea that diapers are the easy part of parenting!

But getting a new routine going, figuring how to find a clean toilet out in the wide, wide world when we go places, dealing the inevitable messes that will result (God forbid on carpet!) when Burrito begins her potty schooling, ah…it just makes me want to collapse in an overwhelmed heap.

When you think about it, potty training is one of the major transitions we go through in our development.  They totally should cover it in developmental psychology (or do they?).  In the big stages of life, it goes something like this:
Getting born
Learning to walk
Potty training
First date
Getting married
First grey hair (in my personal list that comes after potty training but before first date)
Earthly departure

Just the ability to go to the bathroom under one’s own power is such an epic life transition that I shudder before its power.  How will I adjust to this new stage of life?  Will I be able to handle the new life challenges that will emerge?  Will I be the same person I have always been?  Will Burrito?

In coming to transitions in life, I have found it useful to grieve the past before moving on to the future.  As Elizabeth Kubler-Ross taught us, we must embrace the grief cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, depression…and finally moving to acceptance. 

Ok, I admit it.  I’m resisting the change.  While it’s true that Burrito might not be quite ready for this new change in her life, I know I’m having a tough time with it.  But life moves forward, whether we’re ready for it or not.  And sooner or later, we have to accept that.


  1. This is fantastic.

    When we started potty-training Miss (the first time...long story) we realized just what you did. Diapers are easy. And you already know I meant to use cloth and didn't.

    Potty training is terribly inconvenient. We had a good system going too, and then - suddenly - I have to add potty time to the list of things I have to schedule around.

    Sure, when she can disappear from the room and come back with clean bum, washed hands, and pulled up pants, her independent toileting will be AWESOME. But this transition period really stinks.

  2. THANK YOU...someone understands! It's the transition situation that is so tough...I always say, "I get things figured out and then Burrito changes the game!"

    I love that you call her "Miss." She's 2 also right?

  3. Yes - two and a half, I guess, if you want to be technical. Which apparently I do.


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