My Strong-Willed Child

by Kristi Van Dyk in

** No fears, I'll keep this disgusting potty talk free ... it's far more about my daughter's personality than it is her bathroom habits. So Kayleigh's potty training (PT for purposes of shortening this post) adventures began several months ago when she began talking about Mommy and Daddy's bathroom tools. After bath time she'd say things like, "Mommy's potty over there." Or "Paper for the potty, etc" It was clear she was interested in what goes on there. I bought her a potty chair and she has been sitting on it many times while I'm using the potty as well. She always felt quite independent and occasionally would say, "Sit on potty, no pants," So we were casual about it. This past week I decided that it was time to try an actual method. So, during nap time I do what I always do when my child hits a new phase/trend ... search the internet and read mom-blogs. I narrowed it down to two "free techniques" (I'm not into paying for a book, etc) and began a conglomeration that worked with our lifestyle.

Kayleigh did BEAUTIFULLY yesterday. She had no accidents and managed to do "both" kinds of business in the bathroom. She also made it through Meijers with a completely dry diaper (holding it for over an hour and half), and was THRILLED to get some "big girl underpants." (aka pull-ups.) I went to bed last night feeling quite confident about our path towards potty training. Then, this morning dawned ... I swear a different child woke up ...

She wanted NOTHING to do with the potty. She wouldn't sit on it, she wouldn't touch it. She screamed bloody murder each time I suggested it. I tried to use MMC as a motivator and here's where life got interesting. Mommy said, "If you don't sit on your potty you may not watch Mickey Mouse." Kayleigh said, "NO POTTY. WATCH MICKEY." So, I put the remote next to me, guarded for safe keeping and went about feeding Benny his morning bottle. I heard some activity in the bathroom, but since she had previously "made the potty sing" without any reminders from Mom or instruction on what to do, I let her be. Very shortly, she comes trotting her bare bottomed self into the living. "Here ya go Mommy." And she hands me the toilet lid. I shake my head and say, "You're not watching Mickey until you sit on the potty."  "NO POTTY! WATCH MICKEY! I GO AWAY! I GO AWAY!" And off her naked behind scampers. A few short moments later, she's back, this time with the inside basin of the toilet in her hands. "Here ya go Mommy." We repeat our earlier conversation, ending the same, "...I GO AWAY! I GO AWAY!"

The next she returns with plenty of thumping and bumping, grunting and yelping. She is dragging her potty behind her. She places it squarely in front of the television, replaces the basin, and snaps on the lid. She opens up the lid, grabs her book, and places her naked behind on the toilet seat. "Mommy, I sit on potty. Watch Mickey Mouse now!" There she sat for 30 minutes, watching Mickey Mouse. She did NOTHING to make the potty sing. That is, until, I told her she could get off of the potty. She promptly returned to the kitchen, grabbed her snack and peed on the floor. I might consider this a sign that she just wasn't quite ready were it not for the patterns that began to emerge.

(1) She peed only on hard surfaces, never the carpet ... (2). She always had her "accidents" immediately after I asked her to sit on the potty chair (3). Any previous success she had had was completely unprompted and un-pressured. (4). The more I talk to her about it the less interested she becomes in trying ...

I put her down for her nap and again consulted the literature. It would seem that she's exhibiting tendencies of a "strong-willed child." Why it never occurred to me that my independent spirit, my precocious little girl would have a mind of her own, I don't know. I can't believe these past few months I was chalking it up to her not being physically or intellectually ready ... when in fact, it might be just that she doesn't want to because it's the very thing Mommy wants her to do ...

We'll see what happens when I stop asking and stop pressuring and simply leave it up to her. If it doesn't work, I'm still a little on the early side, so I can abandon and try again later ... I don't want to make it a power struggle though, and I won't fight with her over something like this. I have plenty of teenage years to worry about "battles," I might as well start picking the right ones now.

Here's some pictures from this mornings "battle of the wills."

[caption id="attachment_775" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Daddy said, "I'm jealous" ... potty chair and tv would be his paradise :)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_776" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This is cuter with her "cheeks" not blurred, but I don't want to be charged with child pornography"][/caption]