the pause that refreshes

I flopped down, exhausted. Maybe, just maybe, I would have a few minutes before it all started again. Potty training three at a time wasn't part of the plan, it just happened that way. When the time came to start potty training, life was upside-down with the move. And by the time things had settled down enough to start training one kid, suddenly all three of them were ready. Ready... and unwilling to wear diapers.

All three of them caught on quickly. It was a breeze. They knew when they needed to go, just went straight into the bathroom, used the regular toilet, washed their own hands, flushed the toilet five times, unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper... basically everything you could ask. All that was left for me to do was hand out the "potty treats."

Problem was, even though they were doing everything else, handing out those potty treats was becoming a full time job. Suddenly my children, whose bladder and bowel habits had heretofore seemed fairly normal, all developed a strange disorder requiring them to use the bathroom at least every five minutes. It was a fiasco.

So I put away the potty treats... but if there was no candy involved, they couldn't be bothered.

I was okay with this. I put them back in pull-ups, and we were just half-way there for a while. Sometimes they would use the potty, sometimes they wouldn't. I thought I could live with this. They'll learn eventually, we can just take our time.

There is just one problem with "half-way potty trained," however. You see, there are two important parts to the process. 1. Taking down your pants, and 2., sitting on the toilet. For my kids "half-way there" means that they have 1 down perfectly, just not 2. And that's pretty much a nightmare.

No, as a matter of fact, half-way there is most definitely not something I can live with. I've got to make this thing happen. So I have the timer running, and when that timer goes off, they are sitting on the potty whether they like it or not.

By the time I've prodded the third toddler through the bathroom routine, it's almost time to start all over again.

Almost. But there were a few precious moments left before the buzzer went off again. And oh, I needed them bad.

"Mama, I want sit on you lap."

No. Not right now. Absolutely not. Mama needs a break.

But then she gave me that nose-squinchy smile of hers, and I melted.

Yes, baby-girl, climb right up on my lap. A few minutes cuddling you is exactly the break I need.


slowlane said...

That is a much better ending than the one I anticipated. One of my difficult-to-potty-train children would refuse to use the potty and then climb up into my lap... and wet himself.

Those are the days of nannying I don't miss.

Elena said...

Gracious! How did I not see that coming when I wrote that?

Aye-yi-yi, I'm glad that hasn't happened to me yet!

Laura said...

A variation on potty treats - treat them when they stay dry. That way YOU initiate when they can have treats (as long as they're still dry), and they still have the desire to earn treats (by staying dry and using the potty by themselves). This comes from the text "Toilet Trained in Less Than a Day." We did this with Peyton and it worked well - we only had to do treats for a day or two, slowly extending time between each "Are you dry?" treat.