Who is responsible for the invention of pull-ups? Wherever you are, I have a bone to pick with you. These objects of modern convenience are the bane of my existence. They are the limbo of toilet learning—not quite diaper, not quite big girl underwear, they do nothing to promote pooping in the potty.
1. That pull-ups would allow Sophia to be more independent as she learned to toilet—pulling them up and
2. I would avoid the unpleasantness of “accidents.”
1. It is much much harder to clean a child who has pooped in a pull-up than one who has pooped in a diaper. It has to do with removing and containing the hazardous waste. In fact, I am contemplating writing up a step-by-step process to post for first timers as a public service.
2. A friend related this story, which basically sums up my main beef with pull-ups. Her two-year-old daughter, who is quite verbal, would ask before she eliminated: “Am I wearing a pull up or underwear?”
Yes, pull-ups allow our children to wallow in their own filth as long as they please, which, in the case of my daughter is “until I’m three,” as she announced yesterday. Once again, I assert, if a child can tell you when she is planning on being toilet trained, he/she is perfectly capable of doing it.
So, I bit the bullet. I went to Target, and—against my better judgment and all my principles—I bought the damn princess panties. I am very tempted to go into a princesses rant here, but I’ll save it for another day. Suffice it to say that I have nothing against royalty in general, I do have an issue with Disney marketing their products to my daughter from infancy and that she, along with every other girl I know, is able to recognize the brand pre-lingually. But I digress. She carried her precious princess panties all the way to the register and set them down gently on the conveyor belt. The whole time I babbled alongside her, “Now Sophia. On Wednesday we are DONE with diapers. That’s it. No more pull-ups. You are going to wear your princess panties from here on in. And there is a rule associated with wearing princess panties: We don’t pee or poop on princesses!” I was rather proud of myself. This seemed fairly straightforward and sensible. Sophie repeated what I said, internalizing the rule: “No Pooping on Princesses!” “That’s right,” I reinforced. “Very good. Starting Wednesday, we are just going to pee and poop in the potty.” “I will do my poops in the potty like a big gurl!” Sophie declared.
If this does the trick, it will be worth the sacrifice.
Of course, she wanted to put them on right away when we got home. I thought it was wise to build the suspense a little. “Nope.” I said, “we’ll start on Wednesday.” A tantrum ensued. “I want my princesses!” “Wednesday,” I repeated. “You know what you have to do.”
The next morning, she woke up dry, peed in the potty, and told me, “Mommy, no pull-ups. I’m done with pull-ups.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes!” She said. “I want my princess panties.”
“Okay,” I relented. Pulled them out of their hiding place. She chose Cinderella. The blue-eyed blond. I felt another pang of liberal guilt.
Sophia donned the panties. She stayed clean and dry throughout the morning, her nap and her time at the babysitters, gleefully whipping her pants down to display her hidden treasure for anyone with a pulse.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
I picked her up from her babysitter and announced that we were going to the Discovery Museum. “Hooray!” she said. I reminded her that no matter what we were doing, if she felt the urge to go, she needed to tell me. “There will be plenty of time to play, but we also have to make time for the potty.” “Okay,” she old me.
I tried when we got there. She obliged, but she didn’t have to go. I checked in with her at multiple points. Each time she insisted, “I don’t have to.” We were in the diner and I was serving her a strawberry milkshake when she assumed sumo position.
“SOPHIA!” I shouted. “WE DON’T POOP ON PRINCESSES!” Oh yes. I did.
But it was too late. There was no stopping her now. “I’m pooping! I’m pooping!” she cried, as I lifted her, still in squatting position, and ran with her to the girls room. As I pulled down her pants, one errant poo dropped down and rolled across the floor.
“Damn it!” Whoops. Did I say that aloud? I did my best to contain the mess and myself. I silently cleaned her up. Sometimes, it’s best not to say anything at all. Still anti-pull-up, Sophia went commando.
As with all things, there are many roads to the same goal. I suppose I could keep her in pull-ups until she turns the magic number of three. I could allow her to soil the princesses, one by one and then tell her that’s it, there are none left. (And then improvise, because I have no plan for what would happen next.) My plan should be based on the function of the non-pooping in the potty behavior. Only, the function eludes me.
Is it a control issue? Is it a fear? Does she want to keep herself a baby a little bit longer? She’s clearly uncomfortable when she does it. She talks about wanting to be a big gurl.
Someone said to me that there comes a time when it feels wrong to be changing your child’s diaper. For me that time has come. Perhaps what it boils down to is Sophia has to feel it too.