PK has been pretty good about holding in her overnight pee. Most days, she wakes up with a really dry diaper. And on those days, we can get a morning pee in the toilet maybe 70% of the time. Unfortunately, our trip to Brazil screwed a bit with her progress (even though we'd brought her toilet seat with us on the trip), just because her schedule was completely messed up for two weeks. Still, we've managed to regain some of the lost ground.
This morning, PK woke up with a dry diaper, and we plopped her on the toilet as usual. She went through all of her yogurt, and we sang and read to her. Unfortunately, there was no pee. I know full well that when she doesn't pee in the toilet, she waits to pee in her fresh diaper. In an attempt to prevent the diaper pee, I told her that if she didn't pee, we would never ever go outside, or to the park, or to Indigo again (Note: In PK's world, "outside" means the area just outside our house). She understood that all too well, because as soon as I finished saying my bit, she burst into tears.
It was horrible. The pouty face followed by the look of disappointment, followed by the stream of tears. I just about started crying too! I made my own child cry because she thought that she would never get to enjoy the things that she loved. EVER! Clearly this was NOT the right tactic, and certainly not what Dr. Karp would've recommended in his book. Bad bad mommy.
I quickly moved in to comfort her and told her not to worry - that we could still go outside and to Indigo and to the park. Once she realized that her world was no longer crumbling around her, she calmed down. We took her off the toilet, since we were obviously getting nowhere (plus we were running late for work), and put a diaper on. Ten seconds later, she stood still just outside the washroom, totally focused, and declared, "Pee pee!"
I soon realized that my little stunt may have turned PK off from the toilet/potty altogether. I may have scarred her! So I changed tactics - I turned to PK and asked her if she would pee in the toilet if we offered her a treat instead. (I really wish I could remember what treat I offered, but I've been overcome by Mommy Brain, so I guess we'll never know. I know it wasn't food. Must've been some toy or something. Gah! I wish I could remember!) She nodded patiently - and gratefully, I might add. I guess the moral of the story here is that threats have a time and place, but they definitely have no place on the toilet.
Raising A Screen Smart Kid in The New York Times
5 weeks ago