When I visit Honduras every year, I play the role of nanny to my little Preston. Let me first say that Preston has a fantastic nanny who has been with her since day one. She comes three days a week when Hollie is at the clinic, and I am very grateful to know that Hollie has such competent help. But when Nana is in town, Karina gets to take the time off and Nana steps in. It is one of my greatest joys to be there and experience Preston in a normal day, as she goes about the house playing, laughing and "doing what she do." We read books, put together puzzles, paint, color, and have tea parties. It's a time I put a very high priority upon, and I find myself laughing uncontrollably more than once in a day at some of the things this smart, funny, two-year-old says and does. Since my little P is quickly approaching the age of three, I had told Hollie I would be glad to help potty-train her when I was there. She had introduced her to the idea of putting her pee and poo in the potty and had had several successful attempts, but nothing consistent so far. So I was glad to help. After all, I've trained three children, and helped with two grandchildren. I am a potty-training expert (ha!).
I was about to experience a grave disappointment in my potty-training abilities. On my first day alone with my precious angel, I took her straight to the potty after breakfast. After all, what goes in has to come out, right? I was armed with all the ammunition I needed: Books to read, Goldfish for sheer bribery purposes, my iphone which always distracts her, and one Nana's extreme will to potty-train her granddaughter in two weeks' time. But much to my dismay, things took a turn for the worse. Preston informed me that she did not want to sit on the potty and that turned into a much more direct response to the cute potty sitting on the floor: I WILL NOT sit on that potty! As I tried to convince her, she turned into what resembled the tiny spawn of satan and I knew I was in big trouble. She did a 180-degree about face from "wanting Nana," for everything to "I want my mommy!" And it was right there in the middle of the bathroom floor in the throes of a classic two-year-old meltdown that I had an epiphany: I was not going to be able to train her while I was there. I had failed. But this is the true epiphany. No way, not for one second ever, was I gonna let anything make me the bad guy. When you only get to see your grandchild three or four times a year, you refuse to do anything to make her hate you. Bottom line. So I reluctantly turned the potty-training duties back to her mother, and it was never mentioned again while I was there (well, maybe once but I tried to avoid the subject). The rest of our time was spent doing only the things that Preston wanted to do. Nana was at her beck and call.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do discipline my grandchildren when they're naughty. And that's because I love my own children enough to not make their lives miserable after Nana leaves. That's not to say I don't spoil them. There is a huge difference. Do I give them my undivided attention? You bet! Do I buy them things? Absolutely! Do I crawl around on the floor on my aging knees with them? Yes, indeed, I do! Am I guilty of giving them an extra cookie if they ask? Well, heck, yeah! Do I tolerate disobedience and disrespect? Never, ever. Like I desired for my own children, I want my grandchildren to learn a healthy respect for authority when they're young so they hopefully won't go to jail one day when they're older. It's part of my tough-love philosophy for child-rearing in the 21st century. But I sincerely hope by the time my visit has ended with any one of my three grandkids, they know beyond the shadow of any doubt that Nana loves them to their sweet little cores. Grandchildren are the best.
So does this story have a point? You know me better than that. My stories always have a point. And this is it: If you have a normal, healthy child, they WILL be potty-trained. I have never heard of any child going away to college still in diapers. It might not be the week you have chosen or the best timeframe you would choose (after all, we'd like them to be trained by the age of one if that was possible, right?), but there will come a time that they will be ready. It will be on their terms. Not long after I had returned home, Hollie informed me that they were successfully potty-training. The key had been putting the big girl panties on and trying not to pee on Princess Sofia. Who knew? But there is apparently a key component for the potty-training of any two-year-old and the hardest part is to find what works for your child. For your little girl or guy, it might be M&M's (I won't judge) or another treat; it might be stickers or a stamp or another kind of reward. It might be the little game of not peeing on the character on the undies. Voila! Every child is different.
One last note...Hollie informed me that the night before potty-training officially commenced, she had one final act of her own will to deter the process. In a mad-two-year-old-induced meltdown, she ran around the house shouting for Mama to just put a diaper on her so that she could do her business. The next morning, it was as though a light switch had gone off in that little curly-haired head of hers and she was ready to potty-train. Go figure.
Which brings me to realize...she knew exactly what she was doing all along. She was gonna potty-train when SHE was ready, and not one second earlier.
Well, all righty, then. You da boss on that.
Posted by CC
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