Maggie and her Ferocious Peeps, Part Three

We’re on about week seventeen of potty training at our house.  Maggie is much closer to three than she is to two, perfectly capable of big girl underwear, and we really should be done already. But to paraphrase and slightly blaspheme the words of Jesus Christ: her flesh is perfectly willing, but her spirit says, No freaking way. 

I’ve been trying everything, sometimes all at once, which is probably part of the problem. I’ve proffered M&M’s just for sitting on the potty (with diaper on), read books and screened videos on the topic (the “Bear in the Big Blue House” potty episode is a favorite), promised a “swimming Barbie” (her request), had her brothers sing her a song of celebration improvised just for the occasion- all to no avail. 

Maggie is my third child, and most third-time parents know well enough to wait until their kids are good and ready. But Nursery School is less than eight weeks away, and patience is not my strong suit, so this week I forced the issue a bit. It was time for the big guns: stickers.

MOMMY: Look, Maggie! This is your new potty chart!
MAGGIE: Why you call dem “chart”? Dem just paper.

As you can see, she is a tough sell. But once the chart was taped to Maggie’s wall, proved irresistible enough that she sat on the potty and WENT, once on Saturday, once on Sunday. Behold!

The “poop” on there is from back in April, when Maggie announced she would sit on the potty one day, did her business, and then completely stonewalled on the entire notion for the next three months.

But now, we were ready. “It just goes to show you,” I told my husband. “When they’re ready, it’s a total breeze.”

48 hours have passed. The chart has lost all power of persuasion. Maggie is back to refusing any potty conversation whatsoever. 

But the chart idea has caught on with another member of our family.

As you can see by his “Spotty Chart,” Seamus has given himself stickers for eight peeps and one poop since Sunday. He will be six tomorrow. He hasn’t worn a Pull-Up since mid-2007. My God, I’m so proud.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

onthenightyouwereborn July 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Amy, we had terrific success with our older daughter who was just shy of her second birthday when we potty trained her using the three-day potty training method. You have to scroll all the way down the page to where it says "Getting Started is Easy" before it tells you how to order and download the e-book. I would say that we pretty much followed her book to the T – except our daughter still wears pull-ups at night b/c we went for three days with her peeing in her bed. We decided she was just too young to wake up at night. But during the day she's in "big girl" underwear all day and poops and pees on the toilet. She'll still have an occasional accident if she's too busy playing. Good luck!


Mari July 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Your Maggie sounds like my Ruthie. It's not about ability; it's about whether she wants to do it. There was no amount of stickers, ice cream, M&M's, Goldfish crackers, etc. that could bribe Ruthie's spirit. Her twin trained in no time flat. Happy to say Ruthie is 3 1/2 and about 99% accident free. Hang in there.


Courtney July 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm

If worse comes to worse and she is still not potty-trained by the time school starts, I bet she will be soon after! Kids tend to do whatever the other kids do, if ALL the other kids are doing it. It worked for my sister-in-law..three year old boy started pre-school non-potty trained, and within three days, was potty trained.


Mollie July 27, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I am laughing so hard right now. Did not see that coming. But middle kids have to be creative about getting attention…


Mary Pat July 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Meghan was horrible too….we finally made progress with her by letting her run around without undies. We discovered her anti-potty training kryponite…she would NOT pee on herself and all over the floor. So she had to run over to the potty and go. So not my ideal method but it was the ONLY thing that worked after trying everything!


Deborah July 28, 2010 at 11:47 am

Ahh potty training the third child. My third is the worst. He turned three a couple of months ago and has been taking his sweet time. Like you, no amount of M&Ms, treats or whatever would make him go. But we seem to be turning a corner at last – except when it comes to his bathing suit. He refuses to wear a swimmy diaper, and well, when "ferocious" poops appear in the mesh lining, as they do on a regular basis, it is not a pleasant thing. Good luck with Maggie!


Amy Wilson July 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Well I hope you're right Courtney- that preschool will take care of things, if she's not potty-trained by then. Because apparently that's where we're headed.

Onthenightyouwereborn, I'm totally looking up the 3 Day Potty Training Method!

Deborah- Maggie won't wear swim diapers either, but that's fine she has been totally accident-free this summer with a bathing suit on. Somehow to her that's no problem, but clothes require a Pull-Up underneath.

Sigh. Back to the drawing board!


Anonymous July 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Everyone says boys are harder but I think girls are more stubborn, especially if mommy wants them to do something. My oldest is shall we say 'in process'. I needed a urine sample because I suspected she had a UTI. After peeing AROUND the bag at the ped's office twice (2 hours) I put her on a little potty and waited for a sample. FIVE HOURS LATER, she peed. Five hours. Five. Thank god for Skype, the computer, Yo Gabba and Seasame Street. She still has accidents every day. It's a game to her, she doesn't really care one way or the other. Curse these preschools. They only want the kids trained because it's easier on the staff, not the kids.


Susan B July 29, 2010 at 1:28 am

Beattie was just about FOUR and still pooping away in his tidy whities, causing humiliation and yuckiness in public and private whenever he felt like it. I'd tried the damn chart, everything else, nothing. We'd just switched doctors to the now-ubiquitous Michel Cohen, and when I told him Beattie still did it in his pants he looked at me (well, sneered in his French way) like I'd told him I let my kids play in the street. He looked at me straight and told me no charts, no gold stars; next time Beattie pooped in his pants I was to notice what happened and clean it up with NO EMOTION WHATSOEVER, as if it absolutely didn't bother me, as if it was just part of going about my la di da day, no big. Maybe, he said, there could be a rough little pinch in the last wipe or two, just for subtle emphasis. Beattie kept pooping, I cleaned it up no comment, and presto, inside of two weeks he never did it again. So I gotta hand it to Cohen.

I usually suck at this, but every time I manage to ignore the kid it works! Damn attention grabber!


Susan B July 29, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Oooh! Forgot that part B of this is that when said child DOES achieve nice poop in toilet, not allowed to, in dr's words, "jump up and down and tell him he's wonderful." No emotion, either direction. Yup, poop is just not something we care about in this house, that's the attitude. Helps?


AblazeyDaisy July 31, 2010 at 2:25 am

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in 3 months. I showed him this blog entry and we laughed until we cried. Fabulous! So much to look forward to.


The Little Hen House August 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

My almost three year old just potty trained. The pee is going great, but the poop is a little inconsistent. Glad to know I'm not the only one going through this. Our pre-school starts in five weeks- ack! My friend forwarded me a link to your blog. So cute! You can read about my adventures in potty training in my post here:

Good luck!


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