Potty training Lucy was always going to be interesting, mostly because she is just so. damn. stubborn. It was obvious right from the start that 'training' was out the window, that it would have to be her idea. For weeks she would hide behind the couch, red faced, and teary eyed, doing her business. We would gently ask if she wouldn't rather put that poop in the toilet "NO I NOT!", "DON'T SEE ME", "I NEED SOME SPACE" would be her favourite screams.
We hit mid-summer, and she passed the two and half year mark. I placed that last pack of 256 diapers in my Costco trolley - and then hit on a genius idea. In full view of the girls, I grabbed a giant pack of Otter Pop popsicles.
Lucy was stubbornly going at her own pace when it came to potty training, but bribery can work wonders, especially when an older sister is thrown in to the mix. We had a deal - for every time Lucy used the toilet they could BOTH have a popsicle. Even in this bizarrely grey and foggy faux-summer, a popsicle made for some pretty hard currency.
Yes, it did mean that on many a morning they had popsicles for breakfast - and no, when only the green ones were left it did not mean they could 'trade up' for an ice-cream. I'll tell you what though, it worked like a charm. In the space of one week we went from nappies to knickers. No accidents. We may have flirted with early onset juvenile diabetes with a 6 popsicle a day diet - but amazingly while she kept using the toilet, the requests for popsicles dwindled. I think she was just so chuffed with herself for being a big girl, and so happy to be wearing new knickers courtesy of her Nani.
It's not easy taking a fledgling knicker-wearer out in public. Most overused phrase of August was definitely 'do you need to go potty', at five minute intervals. We had a close call the other night when she cried out 'I need to go pee-pee' at about 3am. I raced her to the toilet, only to realize she'd been sleep-talking, something that became apparent when she quickly woke up as her naked arse hit the cold toilet seat. I put an emergency nappy on her and took her back to bed - it was dry in the morning so it must have been a false alarm - much like when she yelled "I need some scissors" in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Of course, there is an exception to every rule. Just as I was patting myself on the back knowing that we were now a diaper-less family, I found her Achilles heel. She may be stubborn, she may have mastered bladder control in the space of a few days - but she is no match for the wet foot reflex. Twice this past weekend we were at the beach, and there she was splashing her feet in the cold ocean, when bingo - the flood gates opened. Fortunately it's the beach that's getting a good fertilizing and not my couch, and no-one except immediate family noticed the awkward open-legged gait and wet stream coursing down her shorts.
I will just have to remember not to swim too close to her when we first get in the pool.