Monday, June 27, 2011

Diary of a Twin Potty Trainer

I've been potty training LoLo since they were 8 months old.  I ordered two Baby Bjorn potties on – one pink for Lola and another blue for London. Armed with patience I decided to start the process. I read somewhere, that at such an early age, “it” will become a mechanical rather than a cognitive deed. I was fine with that, as I was envisioning the diminishing orders, the ease of moving about without lugging a bag of supplies and doing my part saving the environment.

My mom prides herself by having potty trained her only daughter (me) at the tender age of 18 months. Upon her every visit to New York from Europe she observes children in diapers at the age of about 3 plus and comments “What a shame, such a big girl/boy in diapers! I hope you’ll train LoLo at an appropriate age!”.  (No pressure!)

So, yes, I started early. I couldn’t wait to put LoLo on the newly acquired plastic chairs with high backs for special comfort – a far cry from the white steel kind with a single side handle inherited from one of my cousins, or the outhouse with rotting wooden seat and a world of spider webs we had in Slovakia. The basic idea was putting LoLo on the potty after every meal and before nap and bedtime and whenever we were at home. 

The first time those little tushies sat on the potties, LoLo looked at me with surprise not knowing what this new toy was about. After a long enough wait and my persuasion speech to stay sit, I heard a tinkle – it was Lola and I rejoiced with “Yay, hooray (and a series of claps) thus signaling to her brother not to stay behind and enforce such behavior in the very near future. He didn’t. In a few seconds, I felt warmth dripping down my ankles as I sat on our green bathroom mat. By the time I realized that boys need special handling in this department, the rug, the vanity and the floor were soaked. This tiny peepee had a capacity of an industrial water sprinkler, it seemed. I now recognized that I needed a new design for boys with not only high back, but also a protective front shield. I found Scotty, the Potty online. So many great reviews can not be wrong! They weren’t, though the shield worked only partially at times.

The training went well and despite what the common knowledge is about boys, showing less interest, it was London who was starting to make a grunting noise when he needed to go “kaka” (“kaka” – a cumulative word for #1 as well as #2).  There were results of all kinds and potty training became a part of our daily bedtime routine. I bought a lion that made a roaring noise and only made it roar when there was something in the potty for positive reinforcement. Not sure if the lion made any difference, but surely provided entertainment. LoLo also loved sitting on the potty and read books or the Time Out, available at short reach from the magazine basket in the bathroom.

Needless to say, we were all very proud and impressed. That is until LoLo got diarrhea ... we didn't mention the potty for two weeks. After that it all went down the hill (I mean the toilet) ... (pun intended). So, now we were at 21 months. LoLo wasn’t trained, but they were well aware of the potty and the fact, that mommy can be hoaxed into taking them anytime out of the crib if they mention the word "kaka", which also became their mantra when they wanted out of any situation.
“Let’s get dressed!”
“Let’s go out!”
“Let’s go to sleep!”
“Kaka, kaka, kaka, kaka, kaka”

The multi-language household was also mixing it all up; as much for me as for them. The way LoLo pronounced “kaka” was very same to “kuka” (garbage in Hungarian), “kuki” (a small penis in Hungarian) and “cookie”, of course, their favorite desert and character. To make matters worse, they started fighting over which potty they wanted to use.  London insisted on both – he’d often pee some in one and pee or #2 in the other one pushing Lola off her warmed-up seat. Lola wasn’t easier. At times she preferred the pink potty, another times she would insist on the blue one backside forward or vice versa. They played musical chairs (I mean potties) every night while I played "save the potty and it's contents from spilling" or took a position of defense, trying to retain the status "dry" quo - carpet myself included.      

When they turned two years old, I decided that was “it”. I bought big boy and girl underwear – a set with Sponge Bob and another with Princesses and Fairies and explained LoLo that now they were “big” and there should not be a need to use diapers any longer. I was terrified. I put them on the potty so often, it felt like our days evolved around those two plastic chairs and the smallest room without a window. London and Lola had just discovered numbers (2 being the favorite) and so they would do a count down “Mamma, big kaka, two!!!” … I would nod and we’d carry on sizing up and counting the “stuff”. Three days into demanding training, there was no need for inside diapers, but I still haven’t tried to leave the house without it!

It was probably one of the most nerve-wrecking days of my motherhood. Despite the fact that the weather was good and I had a change of clothing and a set of diapers in my bag, I was worried. We walked down a block and a half when London turned to me and said assertively “kaka”. I panicked! What do I do now, in the middle of 5th Avenue? I stopped the double stroller pulling into the closest parking lot of a bank, proceeded to pull down London’s pants in a hurry, to which he reacted with a puzzled cute little look of “What’s your problem mom?” sorts, then pointed “KAKA!!” .. We were standing just a few steps away from a garbage truck (“kuka” – garbage in Hungarian” ) …

We are now fully trained! With a few accidents enjoying the diaper-free, but travel potty and Elmo toilet seat covers-full life. I am still being hoaxed into many WC trips, LoLo still splits their potty time between the blue and the pink seats, we still count the results, fight for flushing privileges and clap and “hooray” for results. I am impressed! Too bad, being potty trained at 2 is not a resume builder, although I wish it was - I'd be a star by now!

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