Okay, if you hate potty stories, look away now.
My 3.5 year old daughter had her first day of Casa (JK at Montessori) on Tuesday. She was good about going, having been to preschool since aged 2 but this was going to be her first foray into the world of full day anything. Preschool and summer camp were both half day.
What does that have to do with potty? Well, there is a limit to the pressure for Mom and Dad when the wee face is in a half day program where they don’t have to be toilet trained. But this is Casa. She has to be toilet trained to attend. And she is. At home.
At home, she will run off to the bathroom all by herself. She doesn’t even tell us anymore unless she needs help with clean up. But her potty habits in public, or at locations that aren’t her home, have been very hit and miss, particularly when in a group of kids, focused on playing (and remind me to tell you about the time she used my Mother’s olive wood mortar and pestle as a potty). We were asked not to bring her back to her day camp at the Y in August precisely because of this issue. She just wasn’t telling them in time and accidents were getting too frequent for them. So when we left after that last day, I explained to her that we wouldn’t be going back because she was pooping in her pants and the camp needed her to go poo in the potty. With me so far?
Given what happened at the camp, I was justifiably worried about school, starting a mere 4 weeks later. We worked on it, we went different places, we made sure she wasn’t constipated (a BIG problem for us in early potty training). We were all set.
When I arrived to pick her up at the end of her first day, the teacher beckoned me out into the hallway. Uh oh. Already being called into the hall. This couldn’t be good.
Like all good teachers, she started off with something positive:
“So, she had a really good day! She played well, ate her lunch… no issues.”
“Uh huh….” I was waiting for the ‘but’.
“Because of the rain, we went to run around in the gymnasium. She came to me after about 5 minutes to tell me she needed to poo and we went to the bathroom. Unfortunately, she had already done it.”
I was nodding and about to apologize when she waved me off … the story wasn’t over yet.
“When we were in the bathroom, she said to me: ‘I pooped in my pants. I’m sorry Mrs. X. Is Mommy coming to take me home now?’. I couldn’t believe it! She remembered what you told her about camp. She figured out that if she pooped in her pants, you would come and take her home.”
Oh. My. God.
I never in a million years thought she would make that connection. So Mrs. X explained to my dear one that in fact no, mommy was not coming until the end of school, that she would help her would get cleaned up and changed and they would go back to class.
Nikki’s face was a picture, apparently. She was trying to work out this NEW plan in her head.
I had to laugh. “3.5 going on 30, right?”, I said to Mrs. X.
I realized I was going to have to outsmart her if I want her to go to the potty consistently when at school. I’m not sure how to do that though because I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not smarter than my 3.5 year old.