Success! I feel like we should have our own one-man band following us around after Chuckles went all day with NO potty accidents! We even left the house in undies and the kid stayed dry!

It wasn’t all a cake walk though. At library story time she kept interrupting the librarian with “Pi-ot, Pi-ot” (which means “potty.”) And as we got up from the circle carpet THREE different times, she held the saggy crotch of her too-big panties and waddled to the restroom giggling. I think the first adventure sans-diaper out of the house was quite the novelty to my little imp! Her enthusiasm makes my heart happy, though, as I have had a few reproachful remarks from well-meaning meddlers, warning that she is still too young to actually be potty trained. You should see the mouths drop when I mention she has been pooping on the potty since she was 8 months old! Despite the doubts and the very true fact that 18 months IS too young for many kids, my kid is ready. And doing a mighty fine job, I might add!

I decided when we started slowly introducing the potty for number ones earlier this summer that I didn’t want to do any kind of food reinforcement. We have enough problems with C eating healthily, shoot…eating, period! So, using m&m’s or skittles was not the right choice for us. I bought shiny smiley face stickers thinking that would be a good reward, but after I caught her trying to eat those, I quickly revised my approach. Chuck is very receptive to all kinds of verbal interaction. She loves to “have conversation” even if I have no idea what her response means and she is constantly searching mine and Hfoe’s faces for approval or disappointment. So, I thought just maybe my kid would actually respond to something less tangible than stickers or candy. And she did! Our go-to for a potty well done has become, of all things, HIGH FIVES! Now, when she finishes and tosses her paper in the water, after waving bye-bye to the pee pee, she throws her tiny pixie hand up for mama to clap! And then she squeals and my heart melts again.

How is it that when we become parents, the whole giant world, all the things we’ve done, things we thought we would do, things we have seen and heard and things we have wept for are instantly wiped away, made unimportant, when our toddler smiles with pride in herself? Really? It’s that simple. In that moment, government shutdowns and health care reform take a backseat to enjoying the site of her self-esteem growing and imagining the confident adult she will hopefully grow into. Maybe my high-fives for her going tinkle on the toilet will help her develop into the self-assured woman who SOLVES health care issues. Too grand a target? Perhaps. But, today, I don’t care! We got to high-five lots of times!
Side note: The Top 5 Things I have learned About Public Restrooms in this process
1. Public toilets are disgusting. If there is a stray pubic hair on the back of the flush handle, the kid will find it. And pick it up. Every. Single. Time. Blech!
2. How do I teach her to hover? This is a very important skill I learned as young adult, but with 14 inch long legs, I am thinking this a skill she will have to work around for awhile. Which leads me to number three…
3. Toilet seat covers are dumb. By the time I get it unfolded and the little center piece ripped out enough to make a hole, she has found the stray pube mentioned in #1, touched the floor, and flushed the toilet twice. Then, when I get the seat cover in to place, the second her tiny tush brushes the wispy paper, it falls IN THE TOILET….rendering it pointless. And infuriating.
4. Non-handicapped people and people without children should be banned from using the big stall. Because they will, usually right before you head toward it with your potty-dancing toddler who you now have to figure out how to hold on the potty in the tiny stall next door, without flashing her baby lady parts to the world, with the door open and your tush hanging out. Exhausting.
5. Washing my kid’s hands after tinkle time at a public restroom is a dance all it’s own. Do I wash mine first while she continues to touch every disgusting thing in sight and THEN hold her up to balance her on my knee trying not to drench us both? Or do I just wash both our hands together hoping I manage to do a good enough job during the balancing act to actually kill all the germs she acquired from #1-4? Conundrum.

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