In my college-pre-baby years, I remember chasing around a hyper, disobedient doggie during my short-lived career as a dog sitter. Having never owned a dog before, those long walks with a dog on a leash were more about a dog walking me than me being in control. But what do you expect, I was always the cat fan in spite of the issues of my cat—ahem the dingle berry. So on a weekend long adventure dog sitting, walking this stubborn creature along a frigged neighborhood trail, forever WAITING and spying for a brown pellet as my cheeks turned red and stiff, I remember thinking to myself, "I am staring at a dog's rear! What's has my life come to!" Somehow I hoped that if I looked at him, it would pressure him into pooping faster. As I waited longer and longer and walked further and further, I grew desperate. All I wanted was the dog to hurry up and poop already so I could run back inside and defrost my fingers. But compromise was not in this dog’s vocabulary nor was “poop now!” or “Hurry up” or “Pretty Please with kittens on top.” I was onto his schemes and he was onto mine. My strategy: get dog to poop in the first minute so that we can go back inside. Dog’s method: Hold it in as long as possible because delayed poopie = longer walk. So here’s the list of things I found myself doing to get doggie to do the deed.
1.) Repetition: If I could just say the word “poop” enough, surely the dog would do it! I mean, surely this was the purpose of learning about Pavlov and behaviorism!
2.) Bribery: “Look, do a poopie I will give you a treeeeat! ... Cheese? ... 20 dollars?"
3.) Praise: “Yes, good job. I see pee pee! Let me see some poo! Come on! Good doggie! Show me that poopie!”
4.) Begging: "Oh please just do the poopie! Have mercy. Pleeeeease?"
5.) The peer pressure method: "Look, all the other dogs are doing it!"
The result: Frost bitten toes. Failure. And, finally, insight: you can’t rush a dog to do the deed; somethings cannot be rushed. They may sit on command, but this dog was not about to poop on command. What great preparation for me as a parent for the adventures to come in potty training.
Fast forward to present day: Here I am, no dog, but standing over a toddler on the potty doing the same things. Oh this job is so much more rewarding. There’s the cuteness factor and the joy of using less diapers! But time has only made me more determined to defeat Mr. Poopie. And thus, I have found myself doing even more ridiculous things to get little Toddler-girl to use the potty. Come back tomorrow for the full list of things parents do to get their toddlers to poop.
And so I ask you, what has helped prepare you for potty training? Or how do you get your dog to poop when you're in a hurry?
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Posted by Laura