Most of the last 4 years, I’ve been a bag lady. A potty seat bag lady.
That’s right, everywhere I go, I have to carry not only a giant diaper bag and a baby and hold two bigger kids’ hands, but I also have to carry a potty seat. In a bag. Just like people do.
My first two children had strong public toilet phobias and refused to even try sitting on a toilet without a portable potty seat ring. I have tried every conceivable method to get Rose to go in public without a potty seat, including letting her have an accident, but nothing has worked. She would act like she was dying whenever I tried to hold her on the toilet without a seat. It was a battle too messy to fight.
A few months ago, we stumbled upon a Cinderella bike that was perfect for Rose and didn’t want to wait for her birthday to give it to her, so we decided to use it as a potty seat bribe. We bought that bike in July because we thought for sure it would be the perfect temptation. I mean, if I were a little kid with a Cinderella obsession as large as hers, I’d do just about ANYTHING to get that bike, but we were a no go. In fact, Rose started saying she didn’t want the bike at all. She would walk up to people, show them the picture of the bike I carried for bribe reminders and say “See this bike? I don’t want it.” She even stopped riding the bike she already had in an attempt to show how much she didn’t want a Cinderella bike.
Which, of course she wanted a Cinderella bike! Who wouldn’t? I want one! The bike is AMAZING.
All along, Rose has said she wouldn’t go potty without a potty seat until she was 4. She said “people” COULDN’T until they were 4. I assured her that most kids DID and pointed out all her 3 year old classmates at preschool who used the potty without a potty seat. She was the only kid using a potty seat at school!
Then last week Rose was in a bind. She had to go to the potty really badly while we were at gymnastics. She had left the potty seat in the car and I have a hard and heavy rule with her that if she wants to use the potty seat, she is responsible for carrying it wherever we go. This “responsibility” was put in place to encourage her to stop using the damn seat, but of course it didn’t work and half the time I still ended up carrying that stupid potty seat bag.
When Rose said she had to go potty, I said I had no potty seat so she was going to have to go without because she was almost 4. She would be 4 in 2 weeks so she could do it.
I have used this line many times before and it has never worked before, but for some reason it worked that day. Rose used the potty without a potty seat and was SO proud of herself. She hasn’t used the potty seat in public since. I told her we would wait a week to give her the bike, but on Monday she came home from preschool and announced that she had gone to the potty without a potty seat. We hadn’t even reminded her to try to go without the potty seat at school and we hadn’t asked her teacher to encourage her to do this! She thought to do it all by herself! As we drove home from school, Rose said “I’m so proud of me!”
Me too, kid! Me too!
But the real happy ending here is that I don’t have to carry a potty seat bag anymore.
Not for another year at least.
And we did get to give Rose her bike before her birthday like we wanted. One whole week before her birthday. When that kid said she couldn’t use the potty without a potty seat until she was 4, she really meant it!