(Sorry in advance for the negative rambling that's about to ensue.)
Potty training rocked my parenting world beyond what I expected. I mentioned in my previous post that day one was full of messes but day two was vast improvement. Day three was accident free, but frustrating. Each time she told me she had to use the potty, she would sit on the potty for an hour before she'd finally relieve herself. Additionally, she realized that as long as she was in the bathroom she had a captive mommy audience. If I tried to start dinner, load the dishwasher, fold laundry, or use the bathroom myself, she would suddenly declare that she had to go potty, and the next thing I knew I was sitting across from her for an hour waiting for a tinkling noise. If I suggested returning to the living room and trying again in a few minutes she would assure me that she was indeed about to pee. "Fine!" I'd conceded and then we'd sit longer, singing songs and putting on miniature productions with various bath toys. By the end of the night I realized she was playing me like a violin because despite the fact that she only relieved herself three times, she had trapped me for six hours in our tiny bathroom!
I decided day four to start setting a timer. If Andrea felt the need to potty, we would go in the bathroom and sit for a certain number of minutes. If she couldn't produce any bodily waste during that time we'd take a little break and try again later. I wanted her to know that we could still play together in other rooms in the house and she didn't need to use the bathroom as a means of stealing my attention. This move backfired. Instead of increasing her success rates and reinforcing what she was learning, it became a battle for control. She refused to use the potty, and when I made her sit on the toilet to practice she'd scream until she was gagging. When she was calm and it was time to get off she would start screaming again. Unfortunately, these fits were not limited to the bathroom. If I asked her to wipe her face after a meal, read a story with me, dance to a song on her favorite show, or eat the apple she begged for, a fit was sure to follow. She felt out of control-- I could see that, but I didn't know what to do about it. I tried to explain that potty training meant she would be in charge of her own body, but my words fell on deaf ears.
Day five was worse. I couldn't relax for a minute as I nervously watched for Andrea's "potty dance." No matter how many times I sat her on the toilet, she began finding creative places to relieve herself once she was out of the bathroom. Although all the books and websites I read said to remain calm in the face of accidents, I no longer felt like she was having "accidents". She was having "on-purposes," and I began to take it personally.
Saturday morning I went grocery shopping without Andrea. She was devastated Paul explained that she couldn't go to the store until she used the potty. While I was gone she used the bathroom for the first time in three days. Paul said she came to him without any prompting. That ended up being the first of many successful toilet trips that day. I kept dancing around the house as if these successes signified the end to a rather emotional week.
Today I was pulled back down as Andrea had only made it to the potty once, had one accident, and mostly just refused to pee at all. It seems each day her attitude changes so drastically that I don't even know how to handle her anymore. I'm so frustrated I keep breaking down and wishing I could run away. It could be hormones. I hope it's hormones. I'd like to think were I not eight months pregnant I'd be feeling more level headed. But for whatever reason, I hope Andrea and I figure this out soon because I feel like I'm drowning in a yellow sea of inadequacy. That girl is lucky to be cute.