I don’t know whether it’s by design or a fatal flaw, but I don’t remember much about the time we spent potty training the boys. To be specific I recall vividly the endless hours spent perched on the edge of my bathtub wishing that the kid in question would hurry up and finish his business because sitting on that bathtub was uncomfortable, and boring. But I seem to have blanked out on us taking the boys out into public while they were still learning.
With Kaylee, it’s a whole different story. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the time we spend away from the house as the moment, because it’s filled with nothing but public restrooms. Kaylee is still learning, and has both good days and bad days. There are days she can get through the entire day without having a single accident, even keeping herself dry during her nap. Then there are others (like Friday) where she will go through 7 different outfits over the course of the day and no matter how many times we send her to the potty she’ll pee her panties in between trips.
While we seem to have the basics of potty training down, and make it to the potty 85-90% of the time we are still lacking in the ability to tell anyone we have to go. So Matt and I watch the clock like a hawk and send her to the bathroom every hour on the hour. We’ve tried letting her go longer than that, but it seems that inevitably that just leads to more accidents so for the time being we stick with every hour.
It also means that when we go out we always make her go potty right before we leave, and the first thing we do whenever we arrive at any location is take her potty again. For a while this was a real pain in the neck because she would not sit on the big potty. She had some trouble transitioning from her little potty chair to using the big potty with her little seat attachment, and we pretty much stuck to the house during that time knowing that if she needed to potty while we were out we would be in serious trouble.
Once she finally made the transition we started taking her out places, but had to drag her potty seat with us whereever we went. Not really wanting to carry a potty seat with me through every store and restaurant it usually stayed in the car unless we were using it. But that also meant that when we needed to stop and take a potty break I had to leave the store, go out to the car, get the seat, take her potty, leave the store again, and put the seat away. Not too awful when there is a second adult shopping with you, but a right pain in the butt when shopping with three kids alone.
So we slowly began to train her to go potty without her little seat. And now we can travel anywhere without it. I still prefer her to use it while we are at home because the little potty itself transitions into a step stool and with the combination of the two she is able to get herself onto and off of the toilet all by herself. Which means I no longer have to drop everything and take her potty when we are at home. I just check for accidents and send her on her way.
The biggest issue we have with her potty training is the chain reaction that taking her potty causes. Generally speaking, if we ask Kaylee if she needs to go potty the answer will undoubtedly be yes (even if she went 5 minutes ago). Assuming Matt and I are together this means that I take her to the bathroom while Matt stays with the boys. Meanwhile, Cameron will wait until we are just out of earshot to declare that he needs to go potty (and yes, generally if we’re already taking her to the potty we ask the rest of the crew if they need to go as well–which they never do when we ask).
This means that Matt has to either try and get my attention, or drop what he’s doing and take the boys to the bathroom. Once there Brendan will wait until Cameron has completely finished what he’s doing and they are ready to leave the bathroom before declaring that as long as he’s there he might as well try to go. Adding yet another 5 minutes to our trip to the bathroom.
In restaurants it’s even worse. The kids will be so engrossed in their coloring that they won’t hear the first child ask to go to the bathroom. Depending on which child it is, Matt or I will step away from the table to take that child to the bathroom. Inevitably when they’ve been gone for a minute or two another child will look up and ask where the first has gone. Once you answer that they went to the bathroom the cascade effect begins. Soon you’re making multiple trips to the bathroom at every meal.
And it doesn’t always start with Kaylee either. No matter which kid needs to go to the bathroom first, the other two will invariably follow suit within just a few minutes. It’s almost like a knee jerk reaction. They hear the word bathroom and it sets their bladder into motion making it impossible for them to get through the conversation without needing to go themselves.
This means that eating dinner out has now become a mutiple hour ordeal. Prior to potty training Kaylee my kids were infamous for taking forever and a half to eat in a restaurant. They have been known to take more than an hour eating at a fast food restaurant. Now with the time we add going to and from the bathroom dinner can take close to two hours to get completed.
And before a bunch of you send me messages saying that I should take all the kids to the bathroom at once to save myself multiple trips, that technique doesn’t work with this crowd. Firstly because you just end up spending three times as long in the bathroom as you would if you only took one of them, and second because 10 minutes later they are going to have to go again, even if they went the first time. There are days I wonder if I gave birth to three children with bladders the size of a grain of salt.
Someday Kaylee will grow out of this, and we can begin the process of slowly forgetting how horrible the entire experience was. But in the meantime it’s about time for me to take another kid to the potty.