Thank You Daniel

It is amazing to me how much difference a week makes.  Kaylee has been completely dry for more than a week now.  She only asked to sleep in a diaper one time after having an accident in her bed.  But I feel like that was more due to her being scared about waking up in a wet puddle than actually wanting to regress into wearing diapers again.

But it’s more than the lack of diapers that make this week so different than weeks past.  Up until this week when Kaylee needed to go an adult would have to go with her because she wasn’t tall enough to get herself up onto the potty by herself.  Evidently she’s had a growth spurt recently because she realized a few days ago that she could get herself up onto it alone and wiggle her way into the correct position.  And as long as I put her into pants with an elastic waist band or a dress she can get herself dressed and undressed for the potty by herself as well.

Even that though isn’t what is really hitting me as different.  What really caught my attention was how suddenly it seems that she GETS it.  Prior to this week I would have called her semi-potty trained.  She could go all day without any accidents, but she wasn’t the one dictating when she went to the bathroom, I was.  As long as Matt or I remembered to ask her if she needed to go every few hours she’d be clean and dry for the entire day.  It was rare that she would actually ask to go herself, and couldn’t really be relied upon for consistency.

Now she makes sure she tells us when it’s time to go and has made it to the bathroom in time all but once.  Not only that but she knows that once she’s finished she needs to flush the toilet and wash her hands, something that still eludes certain boys in my household.  And I can pinpoint where her indepth knowledge and understanding comes from.  It comes directly from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Wait, you’ve never heard of it?  Yeah, neither had I until recently.  It’s a show that was (or perhaps still is, I’m not sure not having TV coming into the house any longer) on PBS.  It was created by the company that made Mister Rogers Neighborhood and is loosely based on the characters from that show.

Daniel is in pre-school and learns life lessons in every episode.  There’s one about sharing, eating new foods, dealing with anger, and of course one about going potty.  With each episode there’s a little song that they sing over and over again to reinforce the lesson.  They’re short (about 2 lines each) and catchy so that you can’t help but sing them over and over and over and over and over.

At first, I found the show rather irritating.  I was only catching snippets here and there as I’d pass through the room where she was watching it.   She had a tendency to watch the same episodes multiple times which meant that I heard the same short songs played again and again.  But after a while I’d find myself humming the little songs to myself, and eventually wanting to sit with her and watch the episode to see how the problem was resolved.

Not only that, but Kaylee started applying the situations she learned about in the show to real life.  When she’d find herself in a similar situation to one she’d seen in the show she would start singing the song and applying the lesson she’d learned.  Like when she was learning to buckle her own seatbelt, I’d hear her start to quietly sing, “Keep trying, you’ll get better.”  She’d just keep singing it until she’d succeeded in getting it buckled.

So when she started potty training last summer I would sing her the potty song, “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away.  Flush and wash and be on your way.”  I was hoping it would encourage her to apply the situation to her life.  As I’ve already covered in a couple of previous posts it didn’t.  At least not back then.  But now that she’s showing so much progress she’s finally applying it.

As soon as she tells us she has to go, she’ll run into the bathroom to do her business.  Once up on the potty I’ll hear her sing the first part of the song.  And after she finishes she’ll jump down and remind herself that flushing and washing come next by singing the second line of the song.  It’s completely adorable to listen to her sing her way through her bathroom routine, and it really works.  She manages to get the entire routine done without any help.  Once in a while she will forget to flush and all it takes is a quick little burst of song from me and she gets right back on track.

The funniest part is her taking care of her washing.  She’s not quite tall enough to reach the sink without some sort of assistance.  We have foot stools that are supposed to be placed in each of the bathrooms and one in the kitchen.  However, Kaylee recently insisted that all three of them need to be stacked together in the kids bathroom.

When she has to go to the bathroom we just take her to whichever one is closest at the time.  This means that if she goes in our bathroom she’s stuck without a foot stool.  Does that stop her?  Heck no.  She does her thing, flushes the toilet, then toddles across the house to the other bathroom to wash up.

Any way you look at it I love how quickly and completely she’s embraced her potty training in the last couple of weeks.  It doesn’t really matter why things have changed, but I will always have to believe that this hokey little cartoon had something to do with it.  And if that’s the case, then thank you Daniel.  Thanks for everything.



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