Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Girls are easier than boys..."

I have always heard throughout my motherhood that girls are easier to potty train than boys. I believed the statement until about eight months ago when I found that my girl refused to have any part of the potty. Her preschool teacher was the first one to sit her on a potty. All the other kids in the class were showing interest and would go from time to time at school. So she took it upon herself to sit Madalyn down. I recall the teacher's words clearly: "You would have thought the seat was on fire!" Well, I could have told her what the response would have been if she had asked me before hand and saved her and everyone else's eardrums in the general vicinity.

This past summer, after all attempts to have her just sit on the potty had failed, we made a special trip to my favorite place to pass out money - Walmart. I let her pick out a special potty and made such a big deal about it and how nice it was and how it made a little flushing sound. I thought certainly this would be what would make her want to go. Something she could take pride in. A potty to call her own. She would sit on the potty this time, at least, but only fully clothed. And she would sit and smile and hop right up and say, "I did it!" Needless to say, we abandoned all efforts at that point.

A couple of months ago, the blessed soul finally peed in the potty for the first time. And you would have thought that we had won the lottery in this house. I don't know who was more proud, me or her brother. He always makes such a big to do about all of her accomplishments. But no such luck with the #2, if you catch my drift. But Madalyn had always been plagued with certain elimination issues, and at an unrelated office visit, I discussed it with the doctor and she recommended Miralax. This undetectable powder was quite the miracle drug for Madalyn (hence the name, I suppose) and it really got her moving. Just not in the potty.

But last week, an amazing thing occurred when I least expected it. Last Monday, I was getting Madalyn ready for her bath and took off her diaper and it was dry. So, knowing that she had not wet for two and a half hours, I asked her to sit on the potty. She was in one of her (usual) moods and just flat out refused. And I refused to back down. On this particular night, I was just not having it. And we had the most massive stand-off in the history of the Blair family. Forty-five minutes later, Madalyn was still sitting on the potty, naked, tears streaming down her face and slight hyperventilating. Please do not feel sorry for the child. I am sure she will never remember the traumatic event. If she does, I will gladly pay for that session with the therapist. Her father arrived home from work, and I looked at him and said, "You can handle her for the rest of the night. I am afraid to touch her. I think I might hurt her." Surely I am not the only mom who has to excuse herself from the room for what her mind envisions she might do to her own child. I leaned into the bathroom and looked at her poor little face and said, "Fine. You have gotten away with it tonight. But tomorrow, we are putting on the big girl panties and if you want to tee-tee and poop all over yourself, you just go right ahead."

If I had known how effective this angle would be, I could have tried it eight months ago. She had maybe one real accident; a couple of times, she just barely wet in her undies. And she actually has been fine ever since. Truly a miracle. Maybe it is true after all. Maybe after you cry and scream and hyperventilate and threaten hell and high water, maybe girls are easier than boys.

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