Let me start off by saying I am very blessed. I have two healthy, beautiful, and thriving little girls. They embody all of the goodness that exists in this world. They are truly special and unique little specimens that amaze me with their ability everyday.
They won’t, however, go on the potty.
Before you ask, yes, I’ve tried everything.
First, it was raisins. It may seem strange, but my little ones love dried fruit and they seldom get to consume it. Plus, honestly, what better a way to reward them for a job well-done than something relatively healthy that feels like a treat? I am well aware that the “authorities” tell you that you’re not supposed to use food as a reward. But, I can say with confidence that 99% of the people I’ve spoken with (including my own mother,) used M&M’s as a potty training bribe. With that in mind, I was not about to feel guilty about offering some natural sugar to two, very active toddlers. The biggest problem I anticipated was having one who deserved a reward, and one who didn’t. Based on their maturity levels and their proclivity for tantrums, I decided that we would celebrate each success together with rewards for everyone. Despite not being a huge fan of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality, I really felt there was no other option. In this house, if someone goes potty, everyone is getting raisins.
The raisins would have been the perfect solution if my children at ALL responded to food as a reward. Turns out, they couldn’t care less. This is especially strange because my daughters positively worship food. If you spent a day with us, I have no doubt in my mind that, at some point, you would incredulously say, “wow, they’re eating AGAIN?” But alas, my tiny foodies quickly decided that they would forgo raisins for all eternity if it meant not spending another second sitting on the potty.
Naturally, my next thought was to up the ante. Enter the gluten free cookie aisle. Have you ever seriously looked at this section of the store? All I can say is, I’m impressed. Whatever you crave is available gluten free, dairy free, nightshade free, grain free, and nut free – free of everything, basically. Well, except the mommy guilt I felt when I carefully selected a box of GF ginger snaps that seemed enticing enough to encourage elimination. Plus, 32 cookies per box? At that quantity/cost ratio, I’d buy multiple boxes per week if that guaranteed potty success. In fact, I bought two boxes right away.
So, I bribed. And, I bribed again. Turns out, my little mostly paleo, cave-kids love cookies! Who knew? If left alone for a second with the 2 boxes I purchased, I’d bet confidently that both would be rapidly consumed and licked clean of crumbs. So why, I ask, do the cookies DO NOTHING to motivate them to go potty? I asked the pediatrician about why my kids are (seemingly) the exception to the rule. Why wasn’t food working? She simply explained that some kids do not respond well to the “reward” mentality. Ok, then. Now what was I supposed to do?
I had to try something else.
So, we moved on to bigger and better crutches of modern-day bribery. The included my old iPad equipped with unlimited amounts of Daniel Tiger themed potty training vignettes. Despite memorizing the words to every brain-washing lyric + getting a cookie when they coincidentally happened to potty, we were still as unmotivated as ever. In fact, one twin decided she was just going to get a free ticket to the show by just sitting next to the potty with no pants on. Great.
I put a smile on my face and tried again. This time portable desks with coloring books. That has got to excite a 2-year old, right? Markers, crayons, the world has never seen so many art supplies! It captured their interest for a day. A day that I spent approximately 55% of sitting on the floor next to two potties while my twins happily made pictures, and seldom relieved themselves.
I was desperate.
Next onto the store, where I purchased stickers and tag board. Yes, a sticker chart, at last. Turns out, not only are they not super excited about stickers, but they’re also not really mature enough to understand earning a sticker and then not getting to have it on their person. Instead, they spend the majority of their time trying to peel the stickers off of the chart. Epic fail.
Currently, the most common response to suggesting they go potty is, “I don’t like the potty…” As if that’s a choice you get to make in life. I wish I could explain to them the joy that is getting to the use the restroom alone once you are an adult who successfully procreated, but I digress.
We wear pull-ups instead of diapers now, although I have no idea why. I do far more changing than rewarding. The gluten-free cookies are going stale next to the bathroom sink, and I’ve been giving stickers out for no apparent reason. I’ve tried real underwear, but I fear they are just not ready yet.
I finally realized, after all of the interventions that I imposed upon my sweet girls, that they are very stubborn little creatures. In fact, they are just as stubborn as their mommy (and let’s be honest: daddy, too.) Their adamant minds and bold personalities have started an anti-potty campaign that is far too well-managed. I’m actually impressed. Plus, we all know two is better than one. My efforts have been outnumbered from the start.
So what’s the plan? I’m not sure. Lately we’ve been running to the potty urgently only to find out that “potty” has already happened. We still “don’t like” the potty. The truth is, I don’t need more time – but they do.
I read a statistic somewhere that in the first year with twins you change 4,000+ diapers. After 2+ years of that and approximately 8,000 diapers, I am more than ready for a little change of lifestyle. But they lack maturity, and maturity takes time to develop. I need to dig deep, channel Michelle Duggar, and find my long-lost patience. I have such a “type A” personality that it is difficult to not impose a deadline on a milestone likes this. But this accomplishment is not mine, it’s theirs. It is not my job to force them to potty; it’s my job to guide them as they navigate through toddlerhood and learn to understand their bodies.
Until then, I’ll put the cookies in an airtight container, and we’ll buy ourselves some more time to learn to potty.