This is Part Two of the author’s adventure in teaching his child to go potty using Janet Jackson’s “Control” album as a guideline. Read Part One here.
Track 5: The Pleasure Principle
Day 2 began with us trying to get Olivia to go potty, figuring she had a full bladder from the previous night, but she refused.
As the morning progressed we noticed that every so often she’d hold herself, shift her shoulders from side to side while simultaneously bringing her knees together, then throw her head back and whip her hair, which looks something like this):
We’d ask whether she just had to go potty, or if she was figuring out the dance moves to her next music video, and she’d always say the latter. After about 2 hours of this she finally acknowledged that she had to go, placed her aspirations of winning the video music award for best choreography on hold, and ran into the bathroom.
Upon completing her first transaction of the day, Olivia obtained enough stickers for another prize. As she picked out her loot we high-fived her and reminded her about the big girl she was well on her way to becoming. We also noticed that her motivation for telling us when she had to go was heavily dependent on how close she was to getting something from the mystery box. If a prize wasn’t involved she couldn’t be bothered, much like my own ideas on what going to the gym should be like. I’d be so much more motivated to work out if I received a new book, action figure or a cupcake afterwards. Wouldn’t getting a cupcake defeat the purpose, you ask? I’d just have to go back in and work out again … to get another cupcake as a reward for burning off the last one. I’d better trademark this before someone else steals the idea.
Track 6: When I Think Of You
As Day 2 continued, Olivia gradually went from paying attention every 20 minutes when we checked in with her to flat out ignoring us. We needed her to notice when she felt like she had to go potty, but all she wanted to pay attention to were the toys she was playing with. In fact, after her first accident of the day I asked why she didn’t tell us she had to go, and she said that she wanted to play. Basically, she didn’t want to interrupt her playtime with something as frivolous as evacuating her bladder. So when the feeling came up she’d do a little dance, will it back into submission, and then carried on with what she was doing. With that kind of dedication, and some practice going pee in a bottle, I’m fairly certain that our child will make a fantastic NYC cab driver some day.
Track 7: (S)He Doesn’t Know I’m Alive
We hadn’t left the house since beginning the potty-training regimen, so we decided to go on a brief walk to get some air and a change of scenery. While out we ran into our neighbor and her daughter, who goes to the same daycare as Olivia. They joined us for the stroll, and upon returning to our building we invited them in for some play time and conversation. The minute we got inside we prompted Olivia to try and go, but she was too busy worrying about which of her toys her friend wanted to play with.
I tried getting her to focus on the task at hand, even waved my hand in front of her face, but she was completely distracted. It’s funny how a toy that’s been neglected for months by your child can suddenly turn into the most important toy ever, ever when another child comes over and picks it up. Olivia rushed over and did her best to try wheel and deal her friend into relinquishing the item, offering her things like every single one of her other toys, all of the savings in her piggy bank ($1.82) and a month long use of Jodi and I to cook, clean or do laundry whenever it was needed. Our child was willing to loan us out so she could get a purple plastic tea cup with a smiley face on it back into her greedy little hands. I don’t blame her though because that thing is both functional and completely adorable.
Track 8: Let’s Wait Awhile
As the impromptu play date continued, we noticed the tell-tale signs that Olivia still needed to go potty pretty badly. Every time we asked if she had to go she’d stop for a second, then say, “I don’t have to go,” or “in 10 minutes,” as if we were supposed to believe her and set a timer. The focus of Day 2 for us was to try and reinforce Olivia recognizing when she had to go and telling us, but her focus was doing everything in her power to silence both us and the beck and call of her bladder.
Unfortunately, our child’s willpower didn’t last much longer, and the play area got hit with a flash flood of urine. Maybe next time she’ll answer her bladder’s call instead of sending it to voicemail.
Track 9: Funny How Time Flies (When You’re Having Fun)
Day 3, and those following it, showed signs of improvement from our child. In fact, we’ve now been at it for about a month and while some things have improved, others have remained the same.
She’s gotten much better about recognizing when she has to go, and only has minor accidents here and there. Unfortunately, she still seems to be holding off until the last possible minute to tell us. We’re also struggling with getting her to go potty when we’re out in public. We practically have to drag her into a restaurant or store bathroom and plead with her to try. Although to be fair, some of the public restrooms in NYC are horror filled nightmares to begin with, so I can’t blame her much there.
We’ve got less than two months left until Olivia starts pre-K, and I’m confident we’ll have her ready to go potty on her own by then. She’s still struggling with certain things, like cleaning up after herself, pulling her pants up and down and lighting a match after she does a number two, so we’ve made those our main focus with each visit to the bathroom. My worry is that she won’t be completely able to do everything and her new school won’t let her attend. It would be devastating to both her and us if they won’t let her in, and I’m not sure what we would do if that would happen.
As a parent, I’m willing to do just about anything to make sure Olivia is happy so I’m already thinking about backup plans. Mainly, convincing my boss to let me work remotely from the school so I can help Olivia in the bathroom until she’s capable. If that’s not an option, maybe I can become the school janitor. I’ve always wanted a cool key-chain with a retractable cord that I could attach to my belt loop. It’s a small price to pay, but I’ll do it for my child.
A version of this first appeared on Our Little Mixtape.
Gif: via GIPHY