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Potty Train at 19 Months? Yeah, Right. Nice Try, Mom.

Photo credit: Meredith Carroll

It was nice while it lasted. All .00034 seconds of it.

Potty training my older daughter Petunia was not exactly a picnic. Maybe it was because we waited until she was 2-and-a-half. Maybe it’s because she’s as stubborn as a mule. Maybe it’s because she really liked having Dora on her Pull-Ups.

Whatever the reason (although I’m sure it was a combo of all three, with some extra emphasis on the third), it took forever to potty train her. She got the pee part down in a few days. But the poop part? Ugh. Ew. Don’t remind me.

Which is why we don’t want to make the same mistakes again (wait too long, let her win, give her training pants that seem like a reward) with our younger daughter.

Peony, who is 19 months old, seems to me to be showing signs that she’s ready to tackle the commode. Or seemed, anyway. When I’m on the toilet she runs over and says, “Poop?” When she poops in her diaper, she lets me know by saying “poop” and tugging on the band of her pants. When I ask her if she’s pooped, she’ll shake her head if she hasn’t. I keep asking her if she wants to go pee on the potty and she looks at me with curiosity — and since she knows how to say “no,” I take that as more of a “yes.”

I figured we’d be made in the shade. As the second child, she’s watched her older sister go to the bathroom countless times. She likes to do everything else her sister does (for better or worse), so why should this be any different. Why can’t we be the exceptions to the rule and be the annoyingly smug parents who can say, “Potty training? Oh, our little one did that ages ago. Are you still doing it with Junior? Poor thing.”

And then we’d go off in private and snicker righteously because we always knew our daughter was extra special.

So the other night when the girls were naked before getting into the bath, I stuck the potty seat on the toilet and declared to Peony, “Let’s go pee pee on the potty.”

“No,” she said, shaking her head.

“Come on!” Petunia exclaimed. “You can do it. Mommy, get your camera so you can take a picture of her. This is it!”

Petunia and I were easily more excited than Peony, which wasn’t hard, considering she was excited not at all. She didn’t cry or whine. She just wasn’t having it.

Before I could get the words out of my mouth instructing her to pee or poop, she was off the potty lickety-split (although she graciously allowed me .00034 seconds to snap a photo before she ran for the hills. Or, more precisely, she ran for my closet, where she promptly peed on the floor).

Our plan all along had been to wait until she turned 2 and then try then. I’m pretty sure the stain on my closet floor is a sign that she’d like to stick to the script.

A note to Peony: Message received. Loud, clear, and still kind of damp.

Photo credit: Meredith Carroll

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