The Fatherhood Chronicles LXIII

For the First Time, Sofie Makes Peepee in the Potty

No, really, that title should be followed by fifteen exclamation points! As her full-time working Daddy, I’ve missed many of Sofie’s “firsts.” I missed her first time to roll over on her own. I missed her first time standing up without any help. I even missed her very first step (accomplished, I hasten to add, on the highly appropriate occasion of a story time at the Skokie Public Library). Now I was there when Sofie found her voice. That was pretty cool.

But you can’t imagine how thrilled, happy, ecstatic and all those other adjectives I am that I got to be there the first time Sofie used her potty.

Now, understand, we’ve been in no real rush to potty train Sofie. We would like to have it accomplished by the time our next baby is born at the end of June. Sofie will be 23 months, or thereabouts, which would be about right. But we’ve been taking the gradual, just see what happens approach. We got the potty a couple of months ago, and just left it in the bathroom. From time to time we told Sofie, “This is where you make peepee, just like Mommy and Daddy do on the big people’s potty.” But it wasn’t everyday. And soon Sofie got used to the idea that you sat on the potty.

Of course, the first few times she sat on it, she didn’t like it. It didn’t after all, have a flat seat, but this big hole that was a little uncomfortable to sit on. Then she was fascinated with taking the peepee-and-poopy-catching part out of the potty. Of course, once she found out the peepee-and-poopy-catching part fit her head nicely as a hat, she had to wear it as a hat. (All it had in it was dust bunnies and a stray hair fallen from Mommy or Daddy’s head, so no biggie.) But then she took note that Mommy and Daddy sat on the big people’s potty, so she started imitating us. Occasionally, when Daddy had important business to attend to, she would attend with him and bring her “baby” or one of her books in with her and sit (fully clothed) on the potty. Never for very long, but she was sort of getting the idea.

A few weeks ago we decided we would occasionally sit Sofie on her potty right before we put her in the bathtub for her bath. It seems without fail as soon as those little piggies touched the warm water, she would pee. So we thought, well, if she has to pee before bathtime, we might try sitting her on the potty and seeing if she’d go. We’ve not been very consistent with it, though since I usually give her her bath, I’ve tried to do it more often than not. Anytime we’ve sat her on the potty, we tell her that it’s the place to make peepee. But we’ve never tried to get her to stay on the potty longer than she wants. Completely no pressure, no fighting, nothing negative.

So, tonight when I sat her on the potty, I figured she would sit there a few moments, like she normally does, then would want to get up into the tub, where she would likely pee when her feet got wet. But still I sat her on the potty and told her that his was where she made peepee. And then, what do you know, but sure ‘nough, Sofie made peepee!

I cheered and clapped–in non-booming, non-scary supportive Daddy voice (hard to restrain myself, let me tell you)–and Sofie smiled and cheered and clapped, too. Momma came running with a bag of M&Ms and gave Sofie a couple. We all clapped and cheered and Mommy and Daddy hugged Sofie some more. We told her how proud we were of her, and what a big girl she was. We then showed her what we did with the peepee: we put it in the big people’s potty and flushed it, and then cleaned out her potty with water and a disinfectant cloth.

Mommy and Daddy are under no illusions that Sofie is potty-trained or even necessarily soon-to-be-so. But what an amazing first step! We are thrilled and happy. We know there will be advances and retreats, but Sofie’s a smart little girl, and I think she’ll soon put two-and-two together. And if we can teach her to pee before bathtime, hopefully the rest will come fairly quickly, even amidst the ups and downs.