Every so often, Chris has a different perspective on something and I tell him to write a blog post. In the midst of potty training Abbie, he had a victory all his own, so you get the treat of reading his writing today. So here we go with potty training tales: Dad edition.
The latest in our journey in parenthood was getting Abbie potty trained. With baby number two on the way, we wanted desperately to make sure we didn’t have two in diapers (and of course, to get a brief break on baby poop).
Naturally, I followed Jess’s lead on how to proceed with this process and both of us have followed our awesome daycare provider’s lead. She only has about three other kids at a time, two of whom are infants, so she was really able to focus on Abbie during this process. Both of her first breakthroughs, number one and two, if you will, have come at daycare. Since then Abbie has been great peeing at home and Jess was the one who got that going. She’s did very well with that at home, but she still struggled with number 2.
Like many kids, Abbie liked to run and hide when she needed to poop, in a corner behind her doll house or behind the side of the couch. She was actually really sneaky about it – if we looked away for a second, we’d miss our chance. For instance, one day I was working from home with her. She sat on the potty and went number one. I jumped on a work call not five minutes later and I looked over at her. Boom goes the dynamite. So frustrating.
What was really frustrating for me as the Dad is I felt like I was the third wheel on this process. I ceded this process not only to Jess but also to daycare so I felt like nobody was really listening to me, Abbie included. Jess really is super mom, and the only downside with that is I have to often be extra forceful with what I think we should do with Abbie because, as I often joke, I’m at the bottom of the totem pole. It’s not always fair, but oftentimes it is what it is. I was super motivated to get her potty trained.
Let me now take a moment to step back and give you a little insight into me as a Dad. Just as Jess has this blog community, I have a group of friends, affectionately known as The Squad, that I have known for a while through my various jobs. There are four of us at varying stages of fatherhood and we chat all day on WhatsApp. In the hierarchy of how long we’ve been Dad’s, I fall third. So with potty training I’ve gotten a lot of advice about how to do it, everything from letting Abbie run around bottomless to making sure she drinks a lot of water. They are my avenue to vent about my frustrations to mostly snickers and trolling, which is reciprocated. But they are a great outlet.
And what was I telling them? Like I said above, I was feeling left out of the process. I’m sure other Dads feel this way with kids this young and the decisions on what to do with things like this. Abbie is an incredibly stubborn girl, she was sitting on the potty for an hour to two hours just crying and fighting us. She was crying, screaming, begging and charming. This girl is dangerous. We tried bribing her with snacks, playing outside, electronics … really anything. She gets both of us so mad, takes us right to the brink, but then she can charm us right back from the edge.
This brings me to the morning of May 15th, and Jess and I were determined to get Abbie to poop. The peeing breakthrough had happened a few weeks ago on Jess’s watch (of course). So we sat her down on the potty and it begins – crying, begging, pleading and trying to play us off each other. She had not pooped for two days, by the way, so I just think she needs to no matter how because it can’t be healthy. I was ready to just let her put a pull-up on, but Jess said no and we were getting frustrated with each other. Jess then went out for a few hours and I was at home with Abbie alone. I wastired, annoyed and didn’t really know what to do.
So I just decided to give up. I gave Abbie her Kindle so she could play games and relax and I decided to put Super Mario Bros on and play. Just so you know, Abbie LOVES Mario Bros and one of the carrots we dangled in front of her was to let her play it. She said to me about forty minutes after Jess left:
Abbie: “Daddy, can I play Mario?”
Daddy: “You can honey, but you need to poop first.”
Abbie: “Okay Daddy, I have to poop now.”
She then gets up and walks to the bathroom. And she poops.
If it wouldn’t have killed me I would have done a backflip. What made me really happy is that she did it for me, not anyone else. She listened to me this time, not anyone else! It was a proud moment for me.
We definitely won’t forget this one, and thankfully the potty training battles have seemed to end since then. Any fights with your little ones during potty training?