Potty training…. it’s not something I like to talk about. And it’s not because I’m squeamish about discussing poop and pee, which goodness knows is a daily topic when you’re living with preschoolers. I feel uncomfortable talking about potty training because it’s something I feel like I am a failure at. How the heck can I give anyone advice on how to potty train when my daughter was almost four before she caught on?
Potty training became my secret shame. It was a topic I just glossed over and tried to avoid mention of, because I didn’t want to admit that my daughter wasn’t. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. It’s not like I wasn’t attempting to train her, it just wasn’t working. Stickers, pennies, big seats, little seats, books, songs, videos, cloth trainers, disposable Easy Ups, big girl panties, naked bottoms, bribes, threats; we tried it all. I became certain I was just raising the world’s most stubborn three year older. Every time I thought we were finally getting somewhere we’d have a major setback. She fell into the toilet at home one day and developed a sudden fear of public toilets. I finally got her to use the toilet consistently, but her aim was awful. I thought “missing the bowl” was only a little boy problem, but my little girl showed me it was all too possible for female behinds to line it up all wrong and pee on the floor… daily. Not to mention the seeming inability to figure out when she needed go. The constant accidents. Even now, when she’s four. And some of this stuff you just can’t run through the wash and sanitize. The kid peed on my iPad for land sakes!
Those long months between age three and four, when she wasn’t potty training, it didn’t feel like it was her fault. It felt like me, as a parent, failing. Which just made me feel frustrated, guilty and angry. And so I hid the fact that we were still trying to potty train. I just didn’t talk about it. Maybe I should have been talking about it. Maybe other people were in the same boat, and also covering it up. Maybe I could have gotten some great tips, if I’d been more willing to admit our failure. I don’t know.
So my potty training secret isn’t the way I bribed my girls with pennies and nickles. My potty training secret is that the day my daughter turned four she was still missing the toilet half the time, but at least she was sitting on it. My potty training secret is just give up trying to teach her and she’ll figure it out eventually, because the more I tried to micro-manage the process the worse things seemed to go. My potty training secret is that last week when my four year old had a tummy bug and wasn’t making it to the toilet in time, we reverted to wearing Easy-Ups 24/7. My potty training secret is I am happy if I can just get her to let me know right away when she has an accident so at least I can clean it up.
What about you folks? Did your kids breeze right through potty training, or did you struggle with it? (or are you still struggling with it?)