Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Potty Training Bootcamp

Remember back in the '90s when talk shows ruled? When topics such as "Are you my baby's daddy?" and "When plastic surgery goes wrong" were on every show? When we thought that Jerry Springer's guests were for real? When Geraldo got fat taken out of his butt and injected into his forehead? Good times, good times.

Talk shows weren't all bad. I learned some important life lessons, such as how to spot a transexual, how big is too big for breast implants, how to determine paternity using DNA testing, and how to reform children's behaviour using bootcamp.

Eric actually had four days off in a row, so we stuck close to home and implemented Potty Training Bootcamp. It's a little different from the juvenile delinquent bootcamps I watched on Maury Povich. Instead of screaming at and freaking out Maya, we sing, dance, and cheer when she goes on the pot. Rather than blowing an obnoxious (but oh so fun!) whistle, we have the oven timer set to go off every 30 minutes. Like Pavlov's dogs, everytime it beeps, Maya shouts "Do you know what time it is? It's potty time!" Come to think of it, she sounds a bit like the Tool Time intro.

So the timer goes off and she goes and sits on the potty.

And she sits.

We read Captain Underpants (we're currently on book 4: Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants). Maya makes silly faces while we read:

When Maya is successful, she gets to choose a sticker:

Every day Maya gets a new paper heart to put her stickers on.

Then Maya gets a popsicle for her good work.

Yes, we are going crazy with the rewards and praise, but the little monkey is playing games with us - doing very well with the toilet at daycare but hardly at all at home. Today we had to make another batch of popsicles:

See? TV isn't the devil. I've learned and applied life lessons from Montel Williams and his cronies.

So while Maya is sitting on the potty next to me, I have time to look up fat injections to reshape my post-breastfeeding body. Thank you, daytime TV!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

Ah, potty training. How you reveal my secret parenting downfalls. How you dirty my once clean floors. How you expose me for contradicting my pre-motherhood "I'll never..." statements.

Eric and I made more than our share of "we'll never..." statements before Maya arrived. Some we've held true to ("we'll never spank."), others we haven't been so good about ("we'll never bribe."). I learned all the ins and outs of basic behaviour management, B.F. Skinner style, in university. I know how Pavlov got his dog to drool. But hey, this is a child, not an animal. There's no need to give treats and stickers to get a child to do what you want. If you raise them right, they'll do what you want because you said so.

I guess we're not raising our daughter right, because dammit if I can get that child to pee in the potty without some sort of reward. And worse yet, she gets food rewards (current currency is green popsicles). Nothing like planting the seeds of future eating disorders in the toddler years. She's pretty much potty trained at daycare. Mrs. Connie says that she'll even tell her when she needs to use the potty, and she's even pooping in the potty fairly regularly. But at home, no dice.

Today, Maya decided she wanted her green popsicle. Being the smart child that she is, Maya dragged her potty into the computer room where I was checking my email (and NOT checking www.perezhilton.com) and wanted a story. I looked around the room at my reading options: a slew of education textbooks, the yellow pages, May's Martha Stewart Living, and a bunch of novels. What kind of two year old wants to hear a story from any of those? Ah, but then I spotted it: my complete collection of Captain Underpants books. What better way to introduce my daughter to the love of great fiction in chapter form than Dav Pilkey's underwear superhero?

True, last week when Eric told me that he wanted to start reading Harry Potter to Maya, I told him that she was too young for it. But who's too young for a little potty humour? Potty humour MUST be part of potty learning, right?

Now she's hooked. She insisted that we read the whole book. I agreed, and we got a little pee in the potty, and a whole lot of snuggling on the couch. We're now half way through the second book, Attack of the Talking Toilets.

Mark down August 2, 2006 as a milestone: Maya's first chapter book. Thank you, Mr. Pilkey.