The dreaded time during the toddler years has come. Those two little words that make me fall to the fetal position and cry:
I struggled so much with my first daughter, that I finally gave up. I said she will figure it out she can’t go to college wetting her pants can she? After several melt downs and refusal from the both of us to cooperate, my mom stepped in. She took her for the weekend and boom, baby girl was potty trained 3 days before she turned 3. My mother is a wizard, don’t ask me how she did it, but she was my hero! My goal was to have my daughter completely potty trained by 2. Did not happen. Nothing bothered her after my attempts to get her to learn. Wet diapers, wet panties, and even the idea of getting prizes just were not an issue. I could not win with her and I blame myself. My mistake was that I was trying to potty train a little girl who just was not interested nor ready to begin this process! She showed me all the signs she wasn’t ready and I ignored them because I had it in my head that a 2-year-old she be potty trained.
Now, it is that time yet again with my second daughter and I am determined to do it myself this time. (With mom on standby… baby steps!) What I have going against me is that her speech is delayed due to ear problems this past year. She has tubes now so her hearing is better, but her translation and how she hears things is very different. Getting her to say “potty” or to show any indication when she needs to go has not been successful. She can say “tee tee” and “poo” but the association to the potty isn’t there. I don’t know about you moms, but I am already at my wits end with this step in toddler life! I have to remind myself this isn’t a basic step for them, it is totally a developmental piece to their life.
I’ve done my research, I’ve learned from my mistakes from round one, and I am trying so very hard to make it a fun experience for her. We went on a special trip and bought her a potty that literally looks like a normal toilet. It has the flush handle, the toilet lid and everything. I did this specifically because once she’s ready to move to the big potty, she won’t have such a hard transition. You can find the same toddler potty I purchased at Walmart for a really cheap price!
I have to admit, it is difficult to get on a schedule and stick with it. She is a challenging little girl and when she isn’t interested, she refuses to do it! I have made the executive decision to let my toddler boss me around. Well, in this area only! I have chosen to follow her lead and let her show me when she is ready. Nothing positive resulted when I pushed my first daughter, she just ended up dreading potty training over the course of a year. I am NOT making that same mistake again. Are you struggling too? I am always open to awesome new ideas from fellow mommas, so just in case my method proves to be successful, this is how I plan on powering through the trials of potty training!
For all my fellow Moms and Dads of toddlers going through this stage : Take a deep breath and buy yourself some secret treats to keep you sane. You will need something to look forward to after your long day of potty training a tiny human who most certainly will see this as a battle of strength!
Next, and this is so important: Don’t put you or your child on any sort of deadline. They don’t work and usually add so much unnecessary pressure on the both of you. Kids are intuitive and can sense when we are stressed out. Though sometimes I feel like that signals them to challenge us more, in this case it can make training so incredibly unbearable for everyone involved. Like I said, I am totally following her lead. I have no idea how the outcome will be or if this strategy will even work, but I am willing to try it out! The days she shows interest in her little potty, I make a big deal about sitting on it. I make sure she is in the bathroom next to the big toilet or follows big sis or I into the bathroom when we have to go. Monkey see monkey do right?? Who knows. My thought is if she sees we aren’t scared and it is something we all do, she will want to try it.
Make it silly. Make it fun! I have also come up with the most annoying yet catching song that she absolutely loves when she is sitting on her little potty. Literally it is me clapping and twisting saying “tee tee on the potty! tee tee on the potty YAAAAY”. I will catch myself singing it randomly through the day but by golly she loves it! She twists her little body while sitting and puts her hands up. The overall goal here is to make it exciting and also to distract them from the fact that they are “restrained” in a way on a toilet. Some ideas are books and toys that she can only play with while she is sitting on her potty. I try to keep them toilet related, but I mean that is kind of a limited category. Little tablets for kids would be good, or really anything that they love. We started with a trip to the library and picked out picture books about learning to potty! She wouldn’t let me ready them, but she flipped through them saying “tee tee”. I call that a small win!
The days she does not show any interest, I will always mention it and ask if she wants to try to potty. If she doesn’t want to, I don’t push her but what I do is carry her toilet in the bathroom with me just in case she decides to try. She follows me in the bathroom anyway (moms know what I’m talking about!!) so why not take the chance that she might want to try? I also do not allow her to play with the potty, flush the toilet or touch the toilet paper. I explain that those are only things we do when we actually use the potty! Somedays she gets it and will say “ok”, and other days, well… we end up with situations like her dragging around her toilet, or undoing an entire toilet paper roll. One day I even caught her dumping water in her toilet. No two days are the same with her!
When she wakes up, I never know what she’s feeling towards the toilet until we try that day. I just build off of her mood and attitude. I am proud of her and her willingness to even just sit. That happens more often than not. We have even had ONE successful tee tee in the potty moment! I made the biggest deal out of it and she was just so proud of herself! I was hoping that would be the beginning of a pattern, but no. It wasn’t. Sometimes I think she just isn’t ready at all, but then she surprises me. She will tug at her diaper when its wet or dirty, she will bring me wipes and a diaper, and so I am determined to get her to on the potty. Those are GREAT signs that she is getting closer to understanding the discomfort of a gross diaper.
To sum it up parents, I am doing the complete opposite from what I did the first go around with my oldest daughter. I want this experience to be much more calm and self-led than me pushing her. Try to stay calm and focused on the end goal. It WILL happen!!! After all, thee statement is true, she won’t go to college wetting her pants….on purpose anyways!
Hopefully some of these little tips help you power through this trying phase, especially if you have a strong willed little wilding like I do. I am interested, what strategies did you find successful? What made the transition from diaper to undies a success? Let me know!!