The Ballad of Zoë

Image source

The first time Zoë used the potty, there was much rejoicing in our home. Praise the god of the Porcelain Throne! She’s going to be potty trained early! Little did we know that he laughed at our sacrifice of praise and set a curse upon our home. Zoë, it seemed, would continue on in her tradition of doing things her way and in her own time. She would spend the next year and a half not only failing to use the potty, but actively avoiding it. Wet diapers did not bother her. She hid when she pooped, and then lied to us about having pooped. But we knew she had pooped whenever she went absolutely insane. She would run around screaming or pick on Rachael more than usual.

It wasn’t all her fault, though. I was horrible at taking her on a regular basis. Even if I managed to keep up with it at the beginning of the day, I would lose all energy and motivation by dinner time. Whenever I tried her in underwear, she would inevitably have accident after accident for me to clean up. It took its toll on my fibro-weary body. This left me with no incentive to put her in underwear; keeping her in a diaper left me with no incentive to remember to take her potty.

We were to the point of wanting to enroll her in daycare just so they could do most of the training work like when Rachael was in daycare. None of the positive reinforcement incentives worked permanently. And we were running out of time with preschool starting in a couple of months. I was pretty sure that it would take a miracle for everything to work out.

Technology to the Rescue!
I’ve always been a firm believer in letting tv and video games raise my children. So the next natural course of action was to find an app to potty train my child. Actually, Mike happened to run across it: the Pull-Ups Time to Potty app.
Image from Pull Ups app

When you get right down to it, the app is a timer with positive reinforcement games after each potty trip. It’s very simple, but it’s genius. The time automatically resets for you after each potty trip you log. You can adjust the timer to your child. For instance, if the timer says 1 hour 14 minutes until the next attempt, and you think that’s too long to wait, you can adjust the timer yourself. After a series of successful potty trips, the time span between each attempt increases.
Zoë loved the games after each successful potty trip. They’re extremely simple, but they make her giggle and deliriously happy. Games include play with Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Doc McStuffins, and Jake & the Neverland Pirates. One of Zoë’s favorites was a generic cowboy who had cactus needles stuck in his tush. She tapped the screen to remove them and then he did a little happy dance. Like a cute, little example of Pavlov’s dog, she would react whenever she heard the “Time to Potty” chime. Frankly, her reaction was usually one or running away or yelling, “No no noooo!” But reminding her that she would get a celebration game was enough to entice her to the potty.

Almost immediately after we began using the app, she stopped having accidents. Pretty soon, we were able to move her into underwear, in which she has had zero accidents! And the pièce de résistance: she is now letting us know when she has to use the potty!
I will love this app forever because it helped me train my willful 3 year old in less than a month. It was doable for me living with fibro; I never felt taxed by the potty trips. Its gradual nature allowed me to begin in Pull Ups and then move to underwear when I was sure I wouldn’t be cleaning up accidents every five minutes. And best of all? We’re not going to be out our preschool deposit and explaining to her for the next year why she wasn’t allowed to to to preschool!

This post is not sponsored. I just really thought you potty training parents, (especially spoonies) ought to know about it.

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