For a kid who was wearing undies at 19 months, and who was dry most of the time until she was almost two, Aurora has been, shall we say, a bit reticent to use the potty for the past 16 months. I’ve also been a bit reticent about posting a blog entry about toilet training, because it’s been feeling more like toilet failing to me. Since Aurora started putting her foot down (in a big puddle of pee) almost a year and a half ago, we’ve tried everything from talking to rewards to total non-intervention to get her back on the potty. Okay, not everything – we never tried beatings for obvious reasons. Non-intervention was really fun, with plenty of puddles and diaper rash.
It’s not that Aurora would never go on the potty, she just didn’t want to admit that she needed to. If I caught a certain expression on her face, or a whiff of something unpleasant, and she was in a good mood, I could get her to sit down on the potty and pee or poo, but it was really unpredictable when she would go along with it.
So, January 1, 2011 rolled around, and we decided to get ‘tough’, as in, “You’re going to wear undies now, and go on the potty, like all other people your age and older do.” This involved a lot of screaming and “I WON’T!!!” for the first day, but then inspiration struck. I asked Aurora what it was about going that she didn’t like, and she was finally able to verbalize that it wasn’t the potty she hated, it was me or Daddy telling her to go and do it. “So, what if somebody else, like a duck, told you when it was time to go?” “I want a frog to tell me.” Hmmm, no frog sound effect on my iPod timer. “How about crickets?” Bingo!
So now, when I think Aurora might have to pee or poo, based on her fluid intake, time of day, and amount of last pee, I set the timer on my iPod to one minute (sometimes more), and let the crickets do the work for me. I mosey over to the kitchen or somewhere out of the way, and when the crickets start chirping, Aurora yells for me to come and help her go to the potty because the crickets say it’s time. Lovely!
Of course, this is just a baby step in the long road to toilet independence. Two summers ago, I felt so relieved and grateful that I was almost done with diaper changing (and washing, and folding, and carrying everywhere, along with a change of clothes, etc.). Now I am just happy to have a kid who doesn’t throw a temper tantrum when I try to change her. I don’t know how long the magic of the crickets is going to last, and I don’t know when she will eventually be able to tell herself that she has that “funny feeling”, but for now I’m just going to enjoy the peace and tranquility that the sound of crickets has brought to our household.