The mind of a preschooler

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One of the things in life that isn’t fair is that we have, for the most part, no recollection of what it was like to be three years old. Sure, we may have little snatches of remembrance here and there, but no real recall of our motivations, our thought processes, etc. It’s really too bad because I’m sure the memories would come in handy when we became adults and wound up with three-year-olds of our own.
John-Zachary, for example, has recently decided to become potty trained. Now, we’d been working on it for several months and he had the #1 aspect down pretty well although accidents (around the house) were a pretty regular occurrence. #2 was the problem. What it boiled down to is that if he disappeared from the room for more than ten seconds it was a guarantee that you’d find him with an unpleasant surprise in his undies. We tried bribing, begging, cajoling, praising, threatening dire consequences, stickers — you name it, we tried it. He wasn’t having it. I even completely lost my sh*t one night (no pun intended) and, in hormonal flux, broke down bawling after he’d done it yet again. He was horrified to see me cry but even that didn’t convince him to try to make it to the potty the next day. We basically entered a holding pattern. I didn’t think it wise to revert to diapers/Pull-Ups again since he had made progress in the #1 department, and yet I had no idea what else I could possibly try as he seemed determined not to respond to anything — positive, negative or in between.
Therefore you can imagine my surprise when it suddenly clicked one day a couple weeks ago, out of the blue and for no apparent reason. We were not trying anything new. Things were status quo, and yet, one morning, instead of disappearing into the other room to do his illicit business he, instead, hung around the living room acting oddly. I asked him if he had to go and, instead of the usual denial, he owned up to it. I sent him off to the bathroom and, lo and behold, the desired results were performed. I heaped on the praise but was privately dubious, as he’d done it a couple times in the past but then gone right back to his old ways the next time. However, the next day he allowed me to see he needed to go and, again, I sent him to the potty where he took care of business like a pro. Two days later he started telling us when he had to go instead of us having to ask. 14 days later he hasn’t had a single alfresco toilet incident (the #1 accidents have also ceased) and I think it’s safe to say he’s nailed it. Which leads me back around to my original thought — what on earth finally convinced him to cooperate? It certainly wasn’t anything I did; it was purely within his own squirrelly little mind. What finally clicked? If I knew I could write a book and make millions.
Now, I guess, we move on to the next step: convincing him he no longer gets a piece of candy every time he performs. If anyone has any ideas how to wean him off that, I’m all ears. Because, you know, that could cause some awkward and embarrassing situations if he’s still expecting a Tootsie Pop for pooping when he’s a teenager.

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About msmaryb

I'm a native Californian who lives in Oklahoma. I'm a full-time student, pursuing a Bachelors in Anthropology, following which I hope to attain a Masters in Archaeology. I have three kids, one husband, no pets, and a lot of friends - most of whom live inside my computer. I love to read, write, watch tv (shut up, we can't all be brain surgeons), shop, and travel. I'm trying to set foot in all 50 states before I die. I have 38, so far. I love the Beatles and Maroon 5, and if you think those two things are incongruous, well, they are. But that's me. When I love something, I love it 100%. I don't do anything halfway. I want to know everything there is to know, so I'm trying to cram as much into my brain as I can in the short amount of time I'm allotted in this dimension.

One response »

  1. If you had the answer to that, you’d have answered one of the mysteries of the universe. I’ve had three kids potty train so far (Erika and Sam trained literally overnight), and I never knew what it was that made the difference. Lots of kids are slow to #2 train, though, I know that much. We kept Matt in Pull-Ups until we stopped finding him grunting and hiding behind a chair, even though he had the pee thing down.

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