The woes of potty training. If you’re going through it right now, you can certainly commiserate with me and if you’re past that hurdle, I’m sure you remember the horror of it all. I remember dreading this milestone before my daughter ever reached the age of two. I knew it was going to be a pain in the butt (pun intended) even then but nothing could prepare me for what I was about to encounter, not even my very low expectations to begin with.
I started her young, about 18 months in. My daughter’s extremely smart. Now I know what you’re thinking, of course you think your daughter’s extremely smart, every mom thinks that about their kid. But she’s on another level – many of her teachers have confirmed it and while I was proud at first, I’ve become more fearful of it as time has passed on. Because she is so intelligent, typical tactics don’t work on her like they would on normal kids. Hence, why I’m writing about the drama that would unfold as a result of it all.
So, I started potty training my daughter early because I could tell she was ready. We didn’t do anything drastic at first. Just talked about the potty, sat on it sometimes but mainly went on about our normal lives. As age two approached, I stepped up my training game. I felt by this time she was definitely ready. She was self-aware and at a good age to start. We went and bought her a little potty and began having her sit on it every 15 minutes of so. Yeah, we gave up on those fun shenanigans pretty fast. No one told me how much getting off your rear end every 15 minutes on the Saturday you’re supposed to be relaxing sucks. It didn’t take much failure for me to give up on this endeavor. She hated sitting and I hated not being able to sit so, I decided to loosen up a bit.
Well, we tried these same games on and off again until she narrowed in on age three. By this time we had her peeing into the potty regularly. But poop, forget about it. No matter what bribes we concocted, she refused to even try it. We went from telling her she’d get a toy and cupcake to promising to take her to Disney World! Nothing worked and I was beginning to give up all together. Maybe she’d become reasonable by age four. But then I found out a very pertinent piece of information that sent me into overdrive. While talking to the teacher about getting her to move on to the next step of potty training, I discovered that all of the other kids in her preschool class were trained completely. And if that wasn’t enough to motivate me, it turned out that the kids in her Sunday school class were too. There I was standing in shock that these other kids were passing us by and we were nowhere near the finish line. I felt an unrealistic pressure and it consumed me.
Time on the potty increased dramatically. We had several Saturdays in a row where we’d just make her sit every 5 minutes. I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not. It was a real struggle, especially to find out that after all of the work, the second we put her down for bed in her pull-up she’d poop. I felt like I was unraveling. How could this be so hard? That’s when I made a very tough decision. One that I wouldn’t recommend for every parent but it was just the kind of formula that could crack my strong-willed child. She was more than ready by this point so I went for it. We had a stand-off. Now if you’re the judging type, you may want to move on to the next blog post because this is prime material.
I decided to take the option to poop anywhere but the toilet away from my child. That meant panties all day every day because she wouldn’t poop in them. That also meant, putting her and me in a position where she would wet her bed every night and I would have to clean the sheets. It wasn’t easy, it was frustrating cleaning the messes and all I wanted to do was give in but sometimes you just know your child and what’s going to reach them effectively. So, for three whole days my daughter refused to poop and those three days were no walk in the park for me either. Was I making the right decision? I’d ask her each day how her tummy was and tell her we’d get her a cupcake if she just gave it a try. Finally, on day three I told my husband I was ready to put her back in diapers. This was too long. It only was two minutes later that she came into the room and told us she was ready to use the potty. What a victorious night! She was so proud of herself and we knew we had passed the barrier. Things could only get better from here.
So yeah, I totally did something many other bloggers would not dare advertise but it just seemed like it would work for her specifically. And it did! Like I said before, this is certainly not for most people but it really opened the door for us. To all of you potty training moms out there that are struggling, keep trying what you feel is best. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.