Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not port-a-potty

The most remarkable thing happened today while we were out at the airshow, a public place with no particular accommodations for potty-training toddlers. Especially if you don't know they're potty-training.

Katrina's been doing great at home with going to the little potty on her own, but she won't touch a real toilet. She finally will "flush" my arm, that is, push on my arm while I push the lever, but she won't touch the lever herself. Sitting or being held over a real toilet is out of the question. So she's not ready for full-time underpants, but, no problem. I'm very happy with her progress.

So today to go out to the airshow, we put her in a diaper, as usual. After the hour-long drive, and then another hour of being at the show, she was getting increasingly difficult and grumpy, and I was thinking this trip was a lost cause. She kept saying she wanted to go back to the car and that she wanted to go home and shrieked if anyone talked to her or looked at her.

After settling in to watch the aerobatics, I sent Dave to get some popcorn, hoping that the treat would improve her mood. As soon as he left, she cried, "I want to go pee in the potty!!!"

What potty? We're at an airfield -- all there is is Port-a-Potties. I picked her up and tried to distract her, not sure what to do. I didn't want to tell her to go in her diaper if she didn't want to, but what else to do?

After about 5 minutes of increasing distress on her part, I decided to carry her to the Port-a-Potties, hoping an idea would present itself on the way there. Dave wasn't back yet, so the boys would take care of themselves, I rationalized (and they did, the angels). I tried to get her to go in the grass, she refused. How about here on the gravel? (right next to the potties). No, more crying and furious outraged refusal. I looked around for a bucket or something I could persuade her to sit on, but nothing presented itself. She kept crying for the little potty.

Then I took her into the port-a-potty, all the while calmly telling her there is no little potty, then tried to tell her this is a little potty. Uh-uh, not buying it. I took her diaper off -- completely dry. No wonder. She must really have to go, it'd been hours.

I sat down on the toilet seat and put her on my lap, quite willing to let her pee all over me if that's what it took, but she was outraged. I tried to hold her up in front of the far less intimidating urinal -- she doesn't know who it's for! -- nothing doing. Desperate, I tried to get her to go pee on the floor in front of the urinal -- countless boys already had -- nope. I tried again to get her to go outside -- a good life skill for girls to learn anyway -- nothing doing.

Defeated, I put her diaper back on and figured nature would take care of itself in a few minutes anyway, but I was sick about how upset she was. She didn't want to pee in her diaper, a really good thing, but she was out of options. When we got back to the boys, Dave was there and I tried to tell him what was going on, but suddenly Katrina's crying changed to, "I want to go pee in the grass!" I quickly took her diaper off, but it was too late, she'd started to go in it. I held it up to her while she finished -- it was loaded.

She cried for underpants, but I didn't have any with us -- after all, we're not potty-training outside the home yet, how can we if she won't touch a real toilet? I put another diaper on her, and after getting over that in about 5 minutes, she relaxed a lot. She was in a much much better mood. No wonder!

This is a huge step forward with potty-training. She wants not to go in a diaper, and waits, yay! But we have a big hurdle with what to do when there's no colorful baby potty for her. I know there are all sorts of portable devices, but she's got to learn to use real toilets. I can imagine carrying a potty ring, maybe, for a while, but she won't have anything to do with those either. She also shrieks in horror if I try to hold her in front or over the toilet or to sit on it facing backward. I've tried everything.

Tonight I tried to pretend the potty ring is a motorcycle, sitting on it and pretending to be accelerating and banking and making vroom sounds. Clever, huh? Not clever enough. She was rolling in laughter, but refused to sit on the "motorcycle" with me. Absolutely, positively, no way, not.

Conquering her fear of real toilets -- which is in great part due to her remarkable clumsiness and inability to climb -- is potty-training hurdle #1. I think our best bet is to learn to go on the ground. That's always there. Potty-training hurdle #2 is....well, #2. But today's upsetting episode says we've definitely turned a corner.

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