Tag Archives: potty training

“I Don’t Want It”

We recently bought Lily a new bike. It’s one of those fantastic princess numbers with a carriage and streamers in the front. She lucked out and got the bike for no reason at all. We discovered Rose was big enough for Lily’s old bike, which triggered our “should-be-a-birthday-present-but-we-need-it-now” purchase of Lily’s new princess bike so both girls could ride bikes at the same time.

Lily’s old bike is a pink number with ladybugs on it. I bought it at a garage sale and the previous owner had pasted Hello Kitty stickers all over it. It’s a perfectly cute bike, but it truly doesn’t compete with Lily’s new princess bike. Lily’s new bike is especially appealing for Rose, the little girl who is so obsessed with Cinderella that for most of the past 18 months she wouldn’t wear any color but blue. Rose was pretty jealous when we bought home Lily’s new bike. She’s ridden it a few times. Actually, she’s ridden it more than Lily has because Lily is scared of the oh-so-tall height of the new bike. We’re working on it.

I felt bad about Rose not getting her own new bike, but hand-me-downs are an important life lesson. If there’s something perfectly good available for you, you need to use it. Just because your sister gets a new bike doesn’t mean that you also get a new bike. Still, I felt a little guilty that this other bike was so appealing to her. I promised to jazz up her old bike, but then I discovered that this bike existed.

Damn you, Disney. Are you trying to kill me? You just want us to go flat broke, is that it?

When we saw this number, we decided Rose MUST have it. We were worried it was limited edition and ordered it right away. We figured we could give it to her for her birthday, but we didn’t want to wait that long. Her birthday is not until October and my husband and I are SO excited about this bike that we want to give it to her now.

So, we came up with a plan. Rose still uses a portable potty seat in public. It’s driving me crazy, but she refuses to go potty without it. I am still carrying a freaking potty seat bag wherever we go. It’s extremely inconvenient. Any attempt to get her to go potty without it is met with hysteria. She has a real phobia about using the toilet without the potty seat because she once tried to go without it on her own and fell in. No matter how much I promise her that I won’t let her fall in if I’m there to help her, she is still terrified.

I’ve been trying to bribe her with various Cinderella items for months now, but now we have the ultimate bribe. If she stops using the potty seat in public, she gets the Cinderella bike.

We showed her a picture of the Cinderella bike and told her the plan. At first she was very excited, but when it came down to it she was still too scared to use the potty without the seat.

Now she walks around with a printed picture of the bike and shows it to everyone she sees. She goes on and on about how cool the bike is. She asks people if they want the bike. The fact that she loves and wants this bike is undeniable. It was made for her little Cinderella soul.

But here’s what she says “See this bike? Isn’t it beautiful? Look at how it has Cinderella all over it? Do you want this bike? I don’t want this bike because I like my potty seat to keep me safe.”

Come on, Rose! I really really want to give you this bike! It’s sitting at Walmart for Site to Store pick-up RIGHT NOW. Use the potty without a potty seat so we ALL can enjoy it.


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Cinderella Wants You to Go Potty

Lately we’ve had a major potty training problem, but then when DON’T we have a potty training problem around these here parts? I know there will be a time in my children’s life when trying to prevent accidents and cleaning them up when they occur will no longer be the norm. Right now that time seems so far in the future that it’s on the verge of being fictional.

Anyway, ever since Rose was apparently mortally wounded by the sound of the toilet flushing at the park, she’s refused to use public toilets. Often she can get away with this, but sometimes she can’t. Lately she’s had a streak of bad luck and bad timing with her attempts to only go potty at home. Keep in mind, she is refusing to use pubic toilets even though I’ve gone to the trouble of carrying a potty seat with me wherever I go, have promised to NEVER flush the toilet while she’s still in the stall and have promised to protect her and make sure the potty would never ever hurt her.

No dice for forever. Rose was getting so upset about the prospect of having to use the potty in public or have an accident that she didn’t even want to leave the house. We’d have massive blowouts just to get out the door. It was absolutely ridiculous.

Finally after one particularly bad public accident, I had absolutely had it. I was ranting on and on about how public potties were FINE and she would be safe and what else could we do to make this better when it occurred to me that my thoughts on the matter had no effect on her. Who cares if Mommy wants her to go potty? I’m just nobody. There’s somebody in Rose’s life FAR more important than me.

So I called in Cinderella to help me to convince Rose to use the potty in public again.

“Cinderella wants you to use the potty!” I said. Her potty seat is actually in a bag with a picture of all the Disney princesses on it. I made the bag move to have Cinderella talk to Rose in a high-pitched voice. “Please use the potty in stores, Rose! I’ll be so proud of you! In fact, I’m going to give Mommy chocolate to give to you if you go to the potty in the store.”

Rose was intrigued and agreed to use the potty at the next store we went to. Even though we raced across a giant store to get to the bathroom, when we finally got there she was still apprehensive. Cinderella had to speak to her several times, but eventually she finally sat on her potty seat.

Unfortunately, it was too soon after her massive pee accident. Rose’s bladder was completely empty! She burst into tears and refused to leave the toilet!

“It’s ok! You can get down! You still get chocolate just for sitting!”

“NO! I HAVE TO STAY HERE!” Much wailing followed.

We were in that bathroom a LONG time before Cinderella and I finally convinced her that it was ok if she didn’t pee just now. The important thing was that she TRIED to use a public toilet again.

Then Cinderella slipped me some money and we bought her a big bag of Hersey’s Kisses.

“Cinderella is so proud of me!” Rose triumphantly announced when we got back to the car.

Though public potties haven’t been all sunshine and roses since this event transpired, she hasn’t had another accident and is using public potties again. She even admitted to me that maybe the flushes weren’t so scary after all.

“Flushes can’t hurt me!”

This has been your second public service announcement that even though it seems totally safe to send your two small children alone into a single stall bathroom while you stand right outside the door with a sleeping baby, you WILL pay for it. Shortcuts never pay.


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Pee Patrol Woof Woof

Last night out of nowhere, Lily announced that she wanted to wear underwear to bed. She was really confident that even though she’s never ever ever woken up dry in a pull-up, she would wake up dry if she wore underwear. She’s 5 years old and is overdue to learn how to stay dry at night, so we let her go to bed in just her underwear.

She peed the bed, of course. Luckily I’d put MY waterproof mattress pad on her bed. Stupidly, I hadn’t bought one for her yet. She’s never had a diaper leak and showed no sign of being ready to get rid of pull-ups, so I never got around to it. Not so luckily, Woof Woof got pee on her. We had taken all of the stuffed animals out of Lily’s bed, but she would not bargain about Woof Woof. Woof Woof HAS to sleep with her.

Woof Woof still vaguely smells of pee tonight and I’m going to odor eliminate the hell out of her tomorrow, but tonight she needed further protection from possible pee. As did Lily’s bed. I spent $50 in sheet and mattress protection products and sheets today. I keep telling myself that it’s as much as a month’s worth of diapers we’d no longer have to be buying if she stayed dry at night, but it was still $50 extra the week of Hanukkah. Potty training continues being stupid and costly 3.5 years after I started trying to get this girl on the potty.

We thought about putting Woof Woof in a plastic bag, but that seemed like it could suffocate Lily. Then I thought about putting Woof Woof in a diaper, but that didn’t seem to cover enough ground. In the end, my husband had a brilliant idea. If a space suit could protect Woof Woof in outer space, surely it could protect her from a little pee.

We won’t know until morning how well this suit protects Woof Woof, but it’s pretty well padded and has a vinyl feel to it, so we’re hopeful!

Whether exploring other galaxies or protecting yourself from pee, you can never go wrong in a Buzz Lightyear costume.



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On Pants

Every children’s museum gift shop needs to equip itself with the following items:
*emergency diapers in size 3 (most versatile diaper size EVER)
*pants in at least sizes 2T through 4T with a museum logo
*size 3T or 4T underwear

I’m guessing I don’t need to explain why this should be, but today our children’s museum had NONE of those items. There were shirts that could pass as dresses on a toddler, but no pants. Actually the rest of the items I listed we could live without, what we really needed were the pants, but all four of the above items could come in handy at a children’s museum I’m guessing on a daily basis.

She started the museum trip appropriately dressed for winter, but it didn’t last.

Today Rose’s public toilet phobia got the better of her. She peed all over herself and the play grocery store at the children’s museum. I have an extra pair of underwear in the car, but our car had been valet parked. It would cost me $7 and two tips to get to that pair of underwear. I refused to leave the museum at that point because I’d paid about $25 to get us in and we’d only been there about 45 minutes. We drove almost that long to even get there! I was not leaving until we got our money’s worth! I don’t care how miserable everyone was, we were getting $25 worth of museum fun out of our trip!

Luckily she was wearing a dress, and the dress was relatively dry after her accident. However, the dress was pretty short and she’s prone to lifting it up because she’s 3 years old and has zero modesty. The girl couldn’t be walking around commando because she’d surely flash half the museum.

Where did Rose’s pants go?

Just yesterday I switched little Violet up to size 3 diapers. Thank goodness I put them in my diaper bag this morning. They just barely stretch enough to cover Rose’s girl parts. She thought it was hilarious. We rushed down to the gift shop to see if we could get some pants, but no. The shop did not sell pants. They sold t-shirts, but not pants.

I’m guessing based on the average age of their weekday child-aged clientele, that museum could easily sell at least one pair of emergency pants per day. Considering how much museum gift shops seem to mark up their merchandise, they could be making a pretty penny on these emergency pants AND get some advertising out of these kids running around with a museum logo on their butts.

The pants wouldn’t be labeled as “emergency pants” but as “museum apparel”. I mean, t-shirts are great, but what I (and probably many, many other moms) need in that gift shop are pants! If Rose had been wearing a shirt and pants when she had her accident, we’d have to leave that minute. I’m sure there are a lot of moms out there who have emergency diaper/wipe situations going on too. Establishments catering to kids should probably have these things around.

But they don’t. I wonder how much money they lose on a daily basis over this issue? Not only do they lose money on the pants they could have sold, but they lose money on the moms who have to leave with their wet kids instead of sticking around to buy lunch at the museum. So they lose pants AND lunch money.

Get some pants in the gift shop, museums!


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When Good Plans Go Bad

Our city has a beautiful garden park that my kids love more than the playground. If I were a kid and I had the choice between a playground and a garden park, I would choose the playground every time, but when I asked Lily what she wanted to do on her birthday last week, she immediately yelled “GARDEN PARK!” And who can argue with going to a place filled with flowers on a kids’ fifth birthday? It certainly aids in the whole “Here’s a picture of you on your fifth birthday!” department.

Here’s how I thought the garden park would go: The kids would play in the sandbox. We’d go for a walk and I would take a lot of gorgeous, frameable pictures of them. Everyone would have a great time. We’d leave and go for ice cream. This was my plan. I did everything I could to stick to this plan.

Rose had other ideas.

It started out so lovely, but this trip was about to go wrong.

Right before we went to the park, I asked her to go to the potty. She “tried”, but didn’t go. Five minutes after we got to the park, she had to go. The restroom was inconveniently on the other side of the park and across a giant parking lot. We hurried over there. The door was horrendous and heavy, especially with our giant stroller, which was carrying all of our gear. I was wearing the baby. Anyway, I put on her potty seat and… nothing. Really? Fine.

We left and walked half a block away when she said she had to go. Repeat the previous paragraph. She still didn’t go. We left walked half a block and she started CRYING that she had to go.

Just as I was shooting this picture, Rose started wailing about the bathroom. She obviously does not want Lily to have pretty birthday pictures.

OMG. I know she’s newly potty trained and I should be patient and I’m TRYING, but I was pissed at this point. We only had about 45 minutes to spend at the park if we were going to make it to ice cream and we were about to waste 30 minutes of it. This was not a pleasant birthday trip. Lily started crying “I’m so tired of going to the bathroom!”


Woof Woof was tired of visiting the bathroom too.

The third time she finally went, but our trip to the park was ruined. We had to leave right after that. I promised Lily we could redo her birthday garden park trip the next free day we had.

Violet drove us home. She was tired of going to the bathroom too.

Two days later we returned to the park with the same intentions: climbing, sandbox, pictures, walking. It was going to be beautiful.

Um yeah. I should have known better.

The exact same thing happened. Twice in one week. SERIOUSLY? Only this time, she kept saying she wanted to go home to go potty.

Which. No. NO.

I’m sure the park employees, who were talking in the adjoining warehouse both times we were at the park and I could HEAR them so I’m sure they could hear me, thought I was evil. I angrily said things like “NO. We are not going home. NO. I said NO. We aren’t going home. You are going potty here. We go to the potty where we are. NO. GO POTTY. This is your last trip to the bathroom while we are here so it’s now or you can hold it or you can have an accident. Those are your choices. NO. You can not sit in the stroller if you have to go potty and you haven’t peed yet! NO! Just go to the potty!” Um, yeah, the park employees could hear this from me twice in three days. They probably think I’m the worst mom ever.

It was awful. Even though I really wanted to go home, Lily still wanted her park trip. Lily was crying too saying “I just want to go to the park! I’m so tired of going to the potty!”


And they were supposed to be having fun.

After the second bathroom trip, we walked around the park while Rose burst into tears randomly. She had not used the potty and I was sure she would have an accident at any minute.

It was supposed to be a cheerful fun trip, but it was 90% awful. The last 15 minutes, Rose was finally happy (Lily was happy most of the time we weren’t in the bathroom.).

Totally smug about being the "good sister" two (actually THREE, but that's another story) trips in a row.

Not only did Rose not pee at the park, she didn’t pee for THREE HOURS after we got home. So why we were traipsing back and forth to the potty and ruining our park trip, I’ll never know. I do know that if you REALLY want to have a fun special day with your three kids, one of the three will make sure it doesn’t happen. You would think the troublemaker would be the needy, fussy, hungry baby, but nine times out of ten it’s someone who can talk.

You're looking at the two most likely suspects of our next failed fun trip. They look sweet and innocent, but trust me, it will be one of them and not the baby.


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The Bag Lady Returns

Lily was temporarily a potty training prodigy and started pooping in the potty at 15 months old. From that moment on, I became a bag lady. She only weighed about 17 pounds and had such a tiny little butt that she found sitting on a real potty terrifying when we went out in public. I could try to hold her on there all I wanted, but that girl would not sit on the potty without a potty seat.

I was forced to start carrying a potty seat in a bag (along with a giant diaper bag AND Rose) for two years.

Here’s a cartoon I drew of it back in the day.

When Lily finally agreed to sit on the real potty, I vowed I would never carry a potty bag again. Rose would be forced to sit on public potties.

Famous last words. I didn’t know how good I had it carrying just a potty bag. For the first month of potty training, Rose refused to sit on a potty seat and insisted on using a potty chair.

For those of you who don’t know the difference, this is what I consider a potty seat:

It fits on a real toilet and allows your child to make a deposit directly where such deposits should go. There is no clean up with a potty seat. It’s a pain in the ass to carry one with you, but it’s semi-compact and not too horrible. (Before you even try to recommend it, I’ve tried collapsible travel potty seats. They are awful– unstable and unsafe. We will not be doing that again.)

This is what I consider a potty chair:

The child deposits its deposit in a plastic bucket. You empty said bucket into the real potty. It can be pretty gross and it’s not exactly something that’s easy to take with you.

That exact potty chair was the only place Rose felt was acceptable to receive her pee and poop. For the first few weeks, when we went out I had to carry this potty chair in the back of our van. She peed in several parking lots. My husband was absolutely horrified by this, but really, if you can’t carry a huge potty chair like that with you. If a newly potty trained kid says they have to go and you are lucky enough to make it out of the store and to the car to get the potty chair, you probably don’t have enough time to take the potty chair inside for the pottying.

It was really really inconvenient and gross. We dumped pee in the grass near several parking lots and begged and begged Rose to consider sitting on a real potty.

She wouldn’t do it. Every time we tried to get her to try it at home with a stepstool, potty seat and our hands to make sure she wouldn’t fall in, she’d start crying that she was too scared and “The potty is too afraid. That’s afraid.”

Her WONDERFUL preschool teacher was willing to let her bring her little potty chair to school to see if it helped with the transition. She told me she didn’t think it would take Rose long before she’d sit on a real potty. Preschool peer pressure is a wonderful thing.

Preschool peer pressure did nothing to rid us of our first potty bag, so I was skeptical of it solving the potty chair issue.

It took TWO days.


Preschool peer pressure is the best.

Rose doesn’t use a potty chair anymore. Since the second day of school, she has been peeing on the real potty on a potty seat!

She’s still too scared to try hanging on to public potties without a potty seat. I am carrying a potty bag again, but this time the potty seat bag is actually a relief. I never thought I’d be happy to be a bag lady again. Thank goodness we don’t have a potty chair in our car anymore!



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Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, this child is potty trained. Dr. Toy Warden worked some kind of voodoo Daddy is better than Mommy potty training magic and within a few days Rose was potty trained. In fact, after only a few days with Daddy, Rose is better potty trained than Lily was after a few YEARS with Mommy. Every single pee event is making it into the potty. And she TELLS us when she has to go, then saunters over there slowly in a “there’s no emergency here” fashion and pees on the potty.

Lily was still leaking every single time she had to use the bathroom as recently as 6 months ago. Almost every time she uses the potty, she runs there as if she might not make it.

One or all of the following must be true: 1) Dr. Toy Warden is a potty training genius; 2) Rose has amazing bladder control; 3) Lily sucks at potty.

I’m not sure which part is the most true or if any of it is false.

We have two problems: 1) Rose is terrified of the real potty. She puts it all in a potty chair. 2) Rose sometimes has poop accidents, which is actually something we never experienced in underwear with Lily. She had that part down. It’s the pee she can’t handle.

Today Rose actually pooped in the potty, but we learned something about her that we hadn’t really realized before.

Rose always says she’s pooping when she’s peeing. She’s confused. We’ve explained to her a million times that pee is pee and poop is poop, but she always calls pee poop.

We assumed she was just calling all toilet functions “poop”, until today when she announced she had to “pee”. Then she sat on the potty, pooped and proudly announced she’d gone “pee.”

That’s right, the girl thinks pee is poop and poop is pee. She’s got them mixed up.

She can call it whatever she wants, as long as she puts it in the potty.


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I Only Threw Up a Little

Dr. Toy Warden, also known as The Berated Professor, has taken over potty training Rose because I’m utterly incompetent. It took me more than 2 years to potty train Lily and I couldn’t get a drop out of Rose on the toilet. I don’t think I have a good personality for potty training. I’m way too easily annoyed and the kids can tell even if I fake not being upset that they’ve had their millionth accident of the day.

I’m not sure what’s happened or how he did it, but after two days with Daddy Rose is doing much better with the potty and may even make it to preschool on time (2 1/2 more weeks!). Dr. Toy Warden may blog about how he did it later, but one moment of potty training will forever stick in my mind as a moment of comedy even though I wasn’t there to witness it.

Rose had two really bad poop accidents while in underwear early on. Apparently it made the hugest most disgusting mess Dr. Toy Warden has ever seen. Poop was all over the floor. He has a really wimpy gag reflex and still gags every time he changes a poopy diaper after FIVE years of having this duty. While diapers are pretty awful, I have never once gagged.

Dr. Toy Warden has a notoriously weak stomach. He was known for his vomiting exploits after running in college. When he runs a race, he always pukes afterward. He doesn’t think throwing up is a big deal. He goes to work with stomach flu and has actually neglected to tell me he’s sick with food poisoning or stomach flu in the past.

This is baffling to me because to me throwing up is pretty much the worst thing that can ever happen. I hate every single part of it. I always think I’m going to die when I’m vomiting.

Which is why it cracked me up when I learned that he threw up while taking care of one of Rose’s horrible accidents. My mom was in town visiting and both of us were horrified for him that the poop made him throw up. He didn’t even make it to the toilet. He threw up on the floor right next to the toilet. I haven’t not made it to the bathroom since I was a little kid.

“But I only threw up a little,” he said.

Throwing up “only a little” clearly makes the incident far less horrible somehow.

Whatever the case, it’s possible that the drama of seeing that her poop made Daddy throw up MAY have triggered Rose into putting her next poop in the potty. I suppose a little throw up was worth it if that’s what’s getting Rose potty trained, but I’m glad I’m not the one who had to make the deposit.

In fact, I’m “not allowed” to potty train anymore. Dr. Toy Warden will be potty training Violet. Man, am I ever disappointed.


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Potty Princess

At a cousin’s wedding nine years ago, my mom, sister and I got very bored. We had to go to the wedding at least two hours early in order to take some family pictures. We weren’t even going to be in these pictures, but they wanted some shots of my grandparents and my dad was my grandparents’ chauffeur an airplane ride away from a world where we had our own cars. The wedding was at a secluded mansion on a mountain. There really wasn’t much to do once the pictures were taken. We didn’t even get to visit much because everyone else there was in the wedding party and busy.

In our boredom, we got a little bit loopy. We were all dressed up and we had a camera. For some reason, the OBVIOUS choice of entertainment was to take formal pictures of ourselves in the various mansion bathrooms. We thought we were hilariously clever and giggled hysterically while we did this. The pictures turned out hilarious. It was pre-digital so I don’t have a copy, but my mom has them prominently displayed in her bathroom to this day.

And a tradition was born. Every wedding since then we have posed in our formal wear in the bathroom. Or we’ve at least attempted to do this. At another cousin’s mountain mansion wedding on the opposite side of the country, all that was available was a portable potty and we didn’t all fit in there, especially because I was pregnant with Rose.

Naturally when it came to my own wedding, I HAD to use the professional photographer to get formal pictures of us by the toilet. It wouldn’t be a real wedding without such shots.

This is the most elegant bridal picture you are ever going to see.

I have the pictures from this photo shoot framed and hanging in my bathroom. Right now, we are attempting to potty train Rose (note the word “attempt”) and she is obsessed with these pictures while she’s in the bathroom.

“Mommy! You wore a white dress! You are a princess!”

Any picture of me in my wedding gown elicits such a response. If I am wearing a dress (which is rare), I am a princess.

Lately she’s fixated on this picture.

My mother is elegantly displaying a roll of toilet paper next to my wedding gown. You know you wish you had a picture like this from your wedding. What? Doesn’t everyone pose by the potty?

THEY SHOULD. These pictures are seriously my most treasured wedding souvenir even though my husband is not in them.

What does Rose think is happening in this picture?

“Mommy, Nonni is making you a princess!”

That’s right, folks, she thinks my mother is making me a princess by making my dress out of toilet paper like at some wedding shower game. Now, I’ve actually seen some toilet paper dresses made by designers that are quite beautiful, but this was not one of them.

She also comments a lot about how my sister’s husband is NOT in this picture. My sister’s husband wasn’t even at our wedding because they’d only been on a couple dates at that point, otherwise he MIGHT have been in on the potty photo shoot. Why Rose notices he’s not in this picture when my father and husband are also not in this picture, I don’t know.

So, I’m a princess who wears toilet paper wedding dresses made by my mother, then poses by the toilet on my wedding day.
I thought everyone should know.



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It’s a Sign

It might be time to potty train when…

your diaper is the same size as your baby sister.

Rose’s Size 6 Pampers Cruisers could eat Violet. As I said yesterday, it’s clearly time to potty train. If only there was an easy way to have a nursing newborn around AND potty train at the same time.

If only potty training was magical.

All I know for sure is that if your diapers are so big that you could hide your sister in them, it’s clearly time to stop wearing diapers (and go to preschool in the fall so Mommy can nap in the afternoons again).


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