I am definitely no expert when it comes to potty training, but I will say that potty training my oldest was a huge accomplishment for me. I’ll explain why in this post, potty training brought out all the emotions for me-happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, mom guilt, hope etc.
First I should start by saying that take 1, I was 6 months pregnant, which I DO NOT recommend. The first time, after much research we decided to do the 3 day no pants method. Which I don’t recommend in winter…see a trend here. I wanted to potty train our oldest before the baby was born, this particular method said the prime time was between 20-30 months, which was closing soon for us. So we took the plunge and spent the last 4-5 days of our holiday break to potty train.
I had all the right tools, read the book multiple times, was super super prepared. The first day was exhausting to say the least. I think maybe she got a little dribble in the potty a few times, but it was not very successful to say the least. I cried that night. The next day was better, we had about a 30-40% success rate and I was starting to feel optimistic. Other than a few tears when we basically wouldn’t let her wear clothes, again don’t recommend this method in the winter. I think I cried when she cried and said we should quit (maybe?). Day 3 is when it is all supposed to “click” or 4 or 5 or basically whenever it works for your kid. This day I definitely cried a lot, so did she and I cleaned up more pee and poop off the floor than I wanted to. At the end of the day I was pretty pissed when my husband cracked open a beer and my pregnant self just glared at him. At this point we were both ready to throw in the towel, we had cabin fever, she wasn’t happy and we were super on edge. I joined Facebook groups, I read all the posts, felt encouraged waiting for it to “click” for her. The advice was split from just charge through, it will click the next day, to stop try again in a month and basically this may or may not work for your kid.
At this point I had a full on pregnancy meltdown. After hours and hours of researching how to potty train my child, I realized that it could work or it couldn’t. Even if we do everything perfectly, it might just not work for our kid right now. Enter mom guilt, I didn’t want two babies in diapers at the same time, I know other people that potty trained in 3 days, or by 10 months through elimination communication. Pre-warning, its all a load of crap basically…
I blame half of my meltdown on pregnancy hormones and the other half, on well, motherhood. Until this point I had read so so many books, articles, blog posts etc. about how to sleep train, potty train, feed solids, pump, breastfeed, give birth etc. and all of a sudden I realized that it only sorta matters. You can read till you are blue in the face, but if your kid just isn’t ready they are not going to potty train.
Needless to say we cut potty training and put her back in diapers on day 4 officially. I cried again, my husband probably thought I was a lunatic. I felt like a failure and every time I saw a potty trained toddler I felt bad for myself. I mean I was able to potty trained a dog without reading anything. On day 5 our holiday break was over and I was back to work, I cried on the way there, at work and talking to our child care provider. I was mad that I was upset, frustrated that it didn’t work and annoyed that we spent the last 4 days of our break in the house not doing anything but looking at a naked toddlers butt all day and wiping up her messes. Seriously I was such a mess over this. I gave myself to the end of the day to snap out of it and I did.
Unfortunately, she was not happy after that. Before she would occasionally pee or even poop in the potty but now she screamed if we went. She would scream, cry and throw a fit till we were done. I had to go in secret, which being 6 months pregnant was not easy, because I had to go every 10 minutes.
We didn’t even talk about potty training for months after that, her baby sister was born in May and during that summer we would casually bring up when we wanted to start again. Honestly, I was a little nervous, okay a lot nervous especially now that we had a new baby on our hands and I knew I didn’t want to do the same method again with her. Even though others had luck with that, it didn’t feel right.
We decided to potty train over labor day weekend so again we would have 5 days at home with her. I found a new method and prepared, bought 30 pairs of panties, treats, prizes, sticker charts, wine etc. Then a girlfriend of mine randomly was going to be in town for about 36 hours and asked to meet up, overnight almost 2 hours away…on the third day of potty training. Some how I convinced my husband to still go ahead with the potty training with me having plans to go out of town on day 3 during nap time and be back the next day after nap. Crazy, I know, but I needed to get out and I hadn’t seen my girlfriend since I was pregnant and mama needed a day off!
We decided that if by day 3 she was doing well, my husband would keep it going. I got him help for the night I was gone and crossed my fingers. Day 1 I woke up super anxious, I didn’t want a repeat of last time, I doubted she remembered what had happened. At this point during the weekends she was using the potty on her own multiple times a day. So I had hope, we threw out all the diapers and began….13 pees, 4 poops all in the potty on day 1! When the first poop happened in the potty, I think I scared her by screaming. I was so excited, you would have thought I won the lottery and she was kinda like what the heck is wrong with you mom! I went to bed hoping it wasn’t a fluke and it wasn’t, she was some how potty trained on day 1. Don’t get me wrong 3 days later she had an accident and just the other day she was messing around and then wanted me to put her on the potty, but I was nursing the baby and she peed all over the floor. So 5 months later accidents still happen. Or sometimes she doesn’t want to go all the way to the bathroom and will pee outside on the rocks like the dog.
Moral of the story…it will happen. Don’t compare your kid to others, it’s okay to cry, drink wine, put your kid to bed early during potty training. Eventually they will go in the potty, just might not happen the way you expect it.