So far in my 3.5(ish) years of parenting, I have found that the trials I have struggled with most are the ones I was completely
arrogant confident about pre-children. I worked in child care throughout my college years, so I obviously had it all figured out going into the whole mommy gig after spending so much time with babies and toddlers (yes, I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now).
The hardest parenting milestone for me has not been getting my daughter to sleep through the night (that only took me 3 years – you’re clearly hearing from a parenting pro here), colic, or the terrible twos. MY parenting nemesis…my arch enemy…the bane of my mommy existence is, without a doubt, potty training. In my opinion, potty training just stinks!
I purchased potty training parenting books. I checked out every children’s book on the subject that our wonderful metro library has to offer over the last 2 years. My daughter has her very own special potty, a potty seat for our “big potty”, and a sticker chart. We choreographed a rocking potty celebration dance. I have a stinking Pinterest potty board, and I have read all of your blog posts about how your child was successfully potty trained at 10 months old in one weekend (congratulations, by the way).
The first time my daughter “showed interest” in potty training (and by “showed interest” I mean her naked tushie came running at me after she had removed her soiled diaper and its “contents” all by herself), we bought her her own potty. We put it in our bathroom and she would sit on it while I used the restroom (which was, in itself, a huge step up from her wanting to sit on my lap during that time). It was a no pressure, get to know the potty season of our life.
She was about 18 months before we took our first official shot at potty training. She cried every time she had an accident, and didn’t poop for the entire weekend. We only had one successful potty trip by day 3. It was that one time I carried her to the potty mid-stream, and the last few drops made it in (Cue Celebration Dance!) She wasn’t ready, and I was determined to avoid both constipation and potty training PTSD for my baby. So, we decided to try again in 6 months. The second time, she was two years old. By day 3 of this weekend, she had only one accident. At around 8 pm. Because she had held it all. day. long. We tried again every three months, and each time, she would hold it all day– no matter how much juice or how many popsicles I allowed her to indulge in!
She turned 3 right as we found out baby #2 was on the way, and I made it my goal to get her potty trained by my second trimester. Stakes were higher, and bribes got bigger. We had fun “big girl” shopping trips where she excitedly chose Frozen and Doc McStuffins panties, but still- when it got right down to it, my (almost 3.5 year old) daughter wasn’t interested. I had resigned to the fact that I would be diapering her and her baby brother at the same time. I had accepted that she would need to be diapered well into high school. I was ready write a blog post and title it, “Our Potty Training (Not A) Success Story: The Girl Who Wouldn’t Go.” Even Facebook had thought it wise to promote a t-shirt for toddlers in my news feed featuring the hashtags #notpottytraining #nottrying, based on my potty-centric Google searching. (Salt in the wound, Zuckerburg).
But about two weeks ago, my daughter told me she needed to go potty. At first, I thought it was a cruel joke, but she climbed up onto the potty- and she actually went! And she has gone *almost* every time since then. #1. #2. At home. At Target. At the park. The elusive potty training switch was flipped in her brain, and she decided she was ready. She’s been so excited and proud of herself, and so am I!
I couldn’t make my daughter use the potty. I don’t have any tips or tricks. But I can offer this: Potty Training Stinks. Literally. Figuratively. But potty training, or any of the other parenting milestones, does not measure your success as a parent. You’re not “doing it wrong”. There is no suggested developmental timeline that means anything to your toddler, and there is no expert article or book written for potty training your child. Be gentle with yourself, and your babies. It might just happen when you least expect it! (Really!)
Was potty training difficult for you? What has been your toughest parenting nemesis?