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Potty-Training: The armpit of summer.

August 18, 2014

Everywhere I go, I hear mother’s saying, “The summer has just flown by.”  For some reason, this has not been my experience.  Our summer has crawled by on little turtle feet.  It has been nice, though.  Just sittin’ around eating peaches mostly.



And, unfortunately, potty training.  Potty-training never gets easier.  It is terrible terrible terrible every time.  The method I use is particularly harrowing, as it requires never putting a diaper or pull-up on, once you’ve begun.  (Except during sleep times).  This was not so bad with the first few children, because we were at a stage of life where we could stay home for three or four days.  But with number four, that is just not possible.  I could use pull-ups, but the method has worked every time, and in less than a week, and it is hard to deviate from the plan.

So, we more or less go back and forth between sitting and staring at Annie’s bottom waiting for action, and careening around town in our big van hollering, “Hold on! Hold on! We’re almost to the potty!”

It’s like driving around with a lady in labor.  By the time we arrive we are all exhausted.  And sweaty.

While sitting very still, waiting for potty action, we’ve all had time to reflect on Annie’s appearance.  Charlie commented, “Annie’s head is very large.”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Charlie: “Would it take a mouse a long time to walk across it?”

Me: “Probably.”

Charlie: “Dad’s head is much bigger.  Imagine how long it would take a mouse to walk aaaall the way around Dad’s head!”

I can’t.  I can’t even imagine. Deep.

Annie has by far been the quickest of my children to catch on.  But she has also been the most unpleasant to train.  For three days, every time I cheerfully announced, “Time to sit on the potty,” I was met with a blood curdling scream, “Noooo!”  I would have considered the possibility that Annie just wasn’t ready, except that, unlike her predecessors, she got the hang of it on day one with nary an accident.  But for three days she continued to scream bloody murder every time; then sit down, quickly take care of business, and turn to me with a nervous laugh, saying, “Now let’s put my diaper back on.”

Historically we have potty trained in the yard.  But I have discovered a new and preferable venue.  The playroom at Children’s hospital, where we spent two days last week on Annie’s ears and Miss P’s speech therapy.

I had forgotten Annie had an appointment at the ear doctor on day two of potty training (follow up from tubes). I was initially concerned, but once we got there I realized that if Annie did have an accident, within minutes a crew would be on the scene to clean it up.  We spent all of Monday and Tuesday afternoon in the playroom, where the other kids were entertained and I could focus on the task at hand.  Not only did I appreciate the thought of a cleanup crew (we didn’t end up needing one), but it is not half bad to potty train with a flock of helpful adults clucking sympathetically. It’s preferable to chickens…who do cluck sympathetically…but do not clean up accidents.

By the end of day three, I took to my bed, crying that I could not potty-train one more day, due to all the screaming, and crazy driving, and lack of getting anything else done. But it is always darkest before the dawn.  On day four I nervously suggested Annie come sit on the potty, and was greeted with a cheerful, “Okay.”  And just like that, potty training was done.  I’m glad we did it.  I’m glad it’s over.  I’m glad to return to purse carrying after a week of potty carrying.

Below: Annie giving it a little try at the park on Thursday.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig MacIntosh permalink
    August 18, 2014 12:24 pm

    Thank goodness the Peppers’ blog is back in action. Missed a goodly part of the summer waiting for the next installment. Was not disappointed when the latest episode appeared. Hilarious! Great pictures, too. Someday these shots will appear in full color at the subject’s wedding reception. The crowd will howl, the bride will blush and the parents of the bride (or groom) will shed a tear remembering “When” this little one took another giant step for mankind. Keep sending these posts. They lighten every reader’s day.

  2. August 18, 2014 2:56 pm

    Me thinks Children’s Hospital should install a plaque in honor of one very creative Mother. (When all are too old for the clinic you could anonymously present a little folder of posts showing just how wonderful a resource they were for you!)

    And “good job Annie!”

  3. August 18, 2014 10:47 pm

    I know where I’m sending Hallie when the time comes. Across the street.

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