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My Girl Likes To Potty All The Time (Sort Of)

Yesterday we hit a milestone in the potty
training – a full day without using the pull-ups.

And just in time, too, because we’d hit this sort of plateau
– Maddie pees like a pro at home, but shows no interest
whatsoever in trying to potty in public, and will use her diaper
without discussion at church or the mall or even a friend’s
house. Once she tried to go at the roller rink, but that’s
the closest we’ve gotten and I’ve said she has potty
training ennui, too lazy and bored to go any further. Apparently
the lure of lollipops only gets you so far.

We’d promised Maddie a toy of her
choice (within reason) when she’d gone a whole day without
using a diaper, and this morning she was quick to point out
she’d done it yesterday, with no fanfare or announcements
whatsoever. She’s stopped asking for sugar treats after every
pee (thank goodness) and so we just don’t notice it as much.
And Maddie even woke us up a couple hours after bedtime to ask me
to take her to go pee at night, so odds were good she’d
actually made it the whole day. After a quick huddle with all the
adults in the house – Did you change a wet diaper yesterday?
No, did you? No! – we agreed Maddie had hit the 24-hour mark.
A quick breakfast, and we piled into the car to hit the toy store.

When we arrived at Mecca, I realized this was the first time Cora
had ever been to a toy store, and my chest constricted in fear. The
C Monster loose on the Elmo aisle was not something I could
contemplate without crying for my mommy, so lucky for me my mom was
along for the ride and we could do some man-on-man defense.

What to choose, what to choose? Truthfully, I’d thought the
choice would be much easier than it was; Maddie’s got a doll
house she absolutely loves, and was dying to add a room of
furniture to her collection. Ironically, the bathroom was the top
of her list (complete with training potty, if you can believe it)
but they were sold out so she settled for the nursery instead.
Abruptly, though, she changed her mind and marched off to browse
the riches before her.

Cora, meanwhile, was crying, “Ehmo!” at every turn of
the corner because, well, he was at every turn of the corner.
Remembering that she has never watched television, I once again
must thank Uncle Daniel for introducing Elmo to our household that
fateful Christmas two years ago, since we now have eight of them
(well, nine, but more on that later), so Cora knows him well.
Equally entrancing, though, was the entire Crayons section of the
store, and Cora spent several minutes frantically trying to crack
open a gigantic tub of chalk while Maddie boogied to a music
sampler on the end of an aisle. Cora then discovered the
four-foot-tall Crayola plastic banks, which she thought was a giant
crayon, and sat down to cry bitterly when she couldn’t make
it write for her. The sight of that tiny body, determinedly wrapped
around the giant crayon, doggedly dragging it back and forth over
the linoleum as she tried to draw something, made me stand and
smile deep in my belly.

In the end Maddie chose something completely unexpected – the
Elefun game a friend of hers has, where an elephant blows
butterflies out its trunk and you try to catch them in a net. Go
figure. But it was what Maddie wanted, and she had a great time
playing it over and over that night, while Cora loved being allowed
to clean all the butterflies up afterwards and shove them back up
the elephant’s nose for another round. Ah, teamwork. And as
for Elmo, well, I couldn’t let Li’l Bit leave her first
toy store empty handed, so her eyes were shining as we walked to
the car, her clutching tightly a beanie Elmo (already named
“Bitty Elmo” by the powers that be) and stopping
occasionally to rest her head on his. “Ehmo,” she

We were so happy with Maddie’s one day of success that we
jumped ahead and promised a bigger toy if she could make it a whole
week. As we rode home in the car she said dubiously, “I
don’t know if I can do that. But I’ll give it a try.
But don’t be disappointed if I can’t, ok?”

And sure enough, I spent all day asking if she needed to potty,
only to be reassured in an almost teenager-like way that
“I’m FINE!” Then that night, after playing her
new game, I asked again and she said nonchalantly, “No, I
already went in my pull-ups. It’s ok, Mommy,” she
added, as if she were worried I’d be mad.

So, baby steps, and back to celebrating each victory. Meanwhile,
we’ve got a darn fine butterfly game if you’re in the


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