Just what is the Webster's Dictionary definition of "Potty-Trained"?
Does it mean the children know where the output belongs, even if it doesn't always "make it in"?
Does it mean going for a designated period of time without having mystery puddles appear in unexpected places?
Are children definitively potty-trained even if they wear diapers for naps and nighttime?
With experts galore claiming infallible methods to "train" a toddler (in our case, toddlers) in a weekend, it sure would be helpful to know just what exactly they are promising.
Five months into our potty-training process, Darren and Sarah seemed pretty confident in their placement skills...at least during waking hours.
Forethought being the better part of twin parenting, what could I expect upon de-diapering our twosome during naps?
1.) Laundry, and lots of it.
2.) The loss of a two-hour virtually uninterrupted window of "Mommy time" (which subsequently means an inability to tend to Item #1).
3.) Lots of false "Potty!" alarms (and strategically staggered, one twin at a time)
4.) Late afternoon cranky twins, who, in attempts to stay dry, dodge sleep.
Finally, I could rationalize no more. This week, we said sayonara to naptime nappies.
Yesterday, after granting our 33-month old twins their requested "privacy" on their potties during naptime, I began to hear uproarious laughter, rapid footsteps, and the unmistakable sound of baby bottoms resuming contact with their respective receptacles.
Tiptoeing to the nursery, in vain attempts to foil the shenanigans mid-act, I flung open the door to see two smirking, laughter-suppressing cherubs...perfectly perched on their potties.
For a glorious (albeit brief) moment, everything seemed in place.
As my devilish duo faced each other from their seats, a mere four feet apart, squarely betwixt them sat the incriminating evidence. Before hygienic wisdom could raise its sanitary head, I was holding aloft a ping pong ball-sized (and shaped) poo nugget.
Straight from the "I-never-thought-these-words-would-escape-my-lips" department I asked, "Whose poo is this?"
As if they had rehearsed their response to my predictable query, in unison they shouted each other's names.
(There's a first for the Baby Books...twin tattling/blame aversion.)
Doing my best to squelch laughter, I scooped up my daughter to see if her booty was the one requiring a "freshen-up". An assorted collection of turdlets was revealed in the pot below.
Circumstantial evidence aside, both twins had damning brown impact marks on their shirts. Should only the instigator bear the brunt of the poopy punishment to follow? You can't play catch alone. Projectile provider or not, both twins were guilty by participation.
Simultaneous strip down. Composure acquired. Time to address the twinfraction.
While re-clothing, wiping down sullied surfaces, and Purell-ing hands, I bravely began the "Talk".
Mommy: "We don't throw poo poo in this house." (Of course now I am petrified they'll throw it in other houses.)
Darren (with believable repentance): "We only throw balls."
Mommy: "That's right. It may seem funny, but really it's not. You're right, Darren. We only throw balls."
Sarah: "Poo Poo Balls!"
(Followed by fights of exultant twin laughter, and poorly-masked lip twitching by Mommy.)
Mommy: " I thought that (like Daddy) you could be trusted to behave with potty privacy. From now on, Mommy will sit with you until you're done. To help you remember that throwing poo poo is not the right thing to do, we're not going to be able to go in the pool after naps.
Darren: "...and no stickers!"
Sarah: "...and no videos!"
Mommy: "Okay. That sounds like a good plan."
Sarah: "But we CAN have snacks. We'll wash our hands first."
Mommy: "That sounds like a VERY good plan!"
So, just how long is too long to wait before taking off nighttime diapers?
**And by the way, Webster, nor any of his dictionary-penning pals have declared the indisputable meaning of "potty-trained". If you can find a soul who has bravely offered their official definition on paper, please let me know. I'd like to give my kids credit before they get to kindergarten if possible.
The author, Cheryl Lage, is a full-time, fully-mobile mom to 3-year-old fraternal twins, Darren & Sarah.
She is the webhost of www.Twinsights.com, a website for new and expecting twin parents. Her book, "Twinspiration: A Double Dose of Motivation and Encouragement from a Mom Who's Been There" is represented by Erin Reel of The Erin Reel Literary Agency, and is currently in publishing house circulation.