March 15, 2011

Potty Training - The Ugly

We went to a park with some friends today. I knew that H had yet to poop, so I was a bit nervous about what we would do if she decided that she wanted to go at the park. Not being one to be locked in the house, I threw an extra diaper in the bag and set out. We’re doing pretty well with potty training, but the idea of going someplace other than our house has not caught on. She wants to go, but she seems to have developed a preference for the little potty. Attempts at the big potty produce anxiety and tears. Any suggestions are welcome.

In the middle of a rousing game of chase Mommy, H gets that look and announces she needs to go. I ask frantically of the other moms, “Is there a bathroom?! Where is it?” They point, I scoop her up, and we walk very quickly to the bathroom.

This is a county park set up, so it’s an outdoor-type bathroom. The mirrors are actually shiny stainless steel sheets screwed into the wall. It’s clean enough, and there’s a changing station in the handicap stall. We head in. The toilet is also stainless steel with no seat. It reminds me of the type that might be installed in prison. I can already tell that this will not go well.

Regardless, I decide to give it the old college try. I pull down pants, strip off diaper, line the seat with tissue, and set her up there. After several attempts, it is clear that H wants no part of this strange metal potty. I can’t really blame her. But she does really want to finish her business. What a bizarre fix to be in—the best option is actually to tell her to just go in her diaper. Not that she understood me when I told her that. She understands a lot, but given these esoteric elimination options, her response is crying.

Finally I set her on the floor to set up the changing table. I feel that things might have gone better had I not been so supremely frustrated at that moment. Nothing to be done for it now—I set her down, half-turned, and she promptly tripped over the pants around her ankles and sat down, bare-assed on the county park, public bathroom floor. (Full body shiver of disgust.) My child is probably now infertile because of the germs on that floor. Goodbye grandchildren.

I scooped her up and wiped her quite thoroughly. She also got a good washing with nice hot water when we got home. The whole thing unnerved her enough that she didn’t finish her business until hours later—in her diaper.

I can only hope that in addition to completely traumatizing me, I have also traumatized my daughter and set back our potty training. In sum—I hate public restrooms.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no!!! When I read the part about her sitting bare-bottomed on the park bathroom floor - poor both of you!! Don't worry though - everyone has setbacks. I think Helen will get over this pretty quickly. I don't know if this "technique" will work for you, but here's an idea we've used. (The whole paper on the potty has not worked well for Evan - too many options for things not going well - and we may have experienced them all.) Try holding her with your hands under her thighs, her back to your chest, so that she's in a sitting position in your hands. Then you can stand close to the potty so you're actually holding her over it. Try to relax and sing a song or something to help calm her. I can't guarantee it will work, but it's an option for no-touch pottying in public! :-) PS - I'm so glad things are going so well!


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