Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shitting For the Cycle

When we started potty training last week, the Giants were slumping terribly, slipping into second place behind the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks. I was in full-swing, August baseball mode and began equating Amari's learning curve to a batting average. The first two days, the similarities were remarkable.

Early in a season, when a hitter gets off to a hot start, you might see his average as high as .400, which means getting a hit four times in every ten at bats. Only thirty-five times since the origin of baseball has a hitter maintained an average above .400 for an entire season, and only once (Ted Williams in 1941) has it been accomplished in past seventy years. Generally, the law of averages, regression to the mean, BABIP, whatever you want to call it, will pull a hitter's average down into a more normal range of .250 to .280. Maybe 15-20 players each year will hit above .300.

Similarly, I imagine a good average for early potty training is also about a forty percent success rate. Amari's first day, she went two for three - twice in the potty and once on the rug for a healthy .667. Day two, she went one for four and saw her average plummet to .429. Unlike baseball, however, the hope for a successful potty training season is to get that average up to one thousand.

After the first two days I was optimistic. We showered Amari with cheers and love and stickers for her chart when she succeeded and downplayed the swings and misses, even when it meant tiny pellets of poop on the living room carpet. She proudly carried her little pool of pee or poop to the main bathroom, bid them farewell with a melodic, "Bye, bye pee pee," and flushed the toilet (often more than once). The stickers have gotten a little out of hand, but we do our best to limit them to three per pee. The chart is much more decorative than organized.

Now, a week into the process, I am completely amazed. If Amari were a baseball player, she would be signed a multi-million dollar long-term contract. Yesterday morning I watched as she was playing by herself across the room. Suddenly she interrupted her conversation with her stuffed donkey, stood up, and said, "Pee pee. Potty," walked over, and did her business. The rest of the day was mistake free until I returned in the evening when she got distracted by a video of herself on the way to the potty and peed in front of the television. Nonetheless, a five for six showing which foreshadowed today's six for six performance.

She's not always diaper-free, but when she is she appears to be into the potty training process. Even when I put her overnight diaper on, right before bedtime she went over to her potty, sat down, and did her thing. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Things like no more loud, whiny, diaper changes.

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