Posts Tagged ‘ earning my parenting badge ’

The Potty Training Advice You’re Not Going to Want to Hear

Monday, October 15th, 2012

I stand here with a sheepish head hang to tell you, I have no idea how I potty trained our daughter. One day it was all angst and drama from me and the next day, she just did it. She’s potty trained. On her own.

I suppose on her own isn’t entirely true, I was a hot nagging mess of  “do you have to go pee pees” for a week prior, but the day after I quit my broken record routine, she just told me she had to go and went. The fact that she was strapped into a diaper didn’t faze her. It was toilet or bust. No big D. No looking back.

I wish I could give you my sage potty training advice and a no-stress, foolproof, 32-step program to ensure success, but I’ve got no gimmicks, just a daughter who decided when she was ready. She should have Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” be her theme song and play every time she enters a room. It’d be spot-on for her personality, a really great conversation piece, and a perpetual dance party.

I promised a full report of our potty training triumphs and I know you were on the edge of your toilet seat waiting for the details, but that’s the report in its entirety. She started telling me she needed to go to the bathroom, she went. Poo followed suit about a week later. I did nothing but honor her request to go to the bathroom. We’ve had minimal accidents, success in public, and we’re weaning from the bribes. Basically, I’m just over here high-fiving a million angels because it’s so big time.

I’ll admit, I feel like a bit of hypocrite training my toddler to use the toilet when bladder control is not my strength this pregnancy. Perhaps part of our early struggles with potty training were due to the confusion that “mom regularly pees her pants, why can’t I?” I don’t fault her. I only have my pelvic floor to blame.

Either way, potty training was one major milestone on our pre-baby to-do list and I feel relieved to give it a glorious check mark even if I’m still perplexed as to how it actually happened.

Image: Toddler Toilet via Jiri Hera/

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I’m Just a Mom, Standing in Front of Her Daughter, Asking Her to Pee

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Forget nannies or mannies or house cleaners, I’d like to go on record and declare the greatest luxury in my life would be to hire-out potty training.

With a second baby on the way, I feel immense pressure to potty train. I’m letting the fear of the “you’re crazy town for having two in diapers” comments get the best of me. Admitting it is the first step.

As we’ve begun on this potty training nightmare journey, I’ve come to realize exactly what mothers mean they say they’d rather have them potty trained before two, than talking before two. Being the parent of an early talker, I always thought the ability to communicate young trumps all with its glossy advantages of limited tantrums and frustrations due to lack of communication. However, over the past week, I think I’m changing my tune.

Of course, I don’t want a kid who will just learn to potty train before two, I want one who will do it themselves. They exist I hear. When I mention we’re potty training they seem to come out of the woodwork to regale me with stories of how they adorably trained themselves at 18 months and how their mothers didn’t do a thing. I don’t hate, I congratulate. But then I cry on the inside that I wasn’t dealt this luxurious self-potty training kid.

Before we started, I analyzed the readiness signs, did my research, purchased appropriate enticing character underwear, and forged ahead with a haphazard plan. I did not know what to expect as the toilet tales I heard ranged from success in the 3-day method, a naked weekend, or a horrifying 11 long, excruciating months. Please I prayed, don’t let that be my lot.

I think I read repeatably that “just roll with it” was the only acceptable mindset for potty training. As much as I want to be a “just roll with it” mother, a lot of times, I am not. I’ve said it before, I’m a serial worrier. It’s a frustrating characteristic, one I worry about. See what I did there?

I knew that it would take dedicated time at home and with a week as empty as I could make it, bribes in hand, and a smile on my naively optimistic face, we began.

Day One:

Accidents: A plethora

Mental State: Go on brush your shoulder off, totally expected it.

Day Two:

Accidents: Maybe one less accident than the day before

Mental State: Repeat after me, it’s only day two, it’s only day two. Eat your feelings.

Day Three:

Accidents: Increasing

Mental State: Getting a nervous twitch due to frustration that it’s not getting easier so we brave undies on an errand adventure because the walls are closing in.

Day Four, Five, Six and Seven:

Accidents: Everywhere

Mental State: Tears. Begin self-loathing over the nagging mom I’ve become who asks every nanosecond do you have to go to the bathroom? I may or may not have uttered the phrase, “potty training is my personal hell.”

Day Eight: Forgo potty training. Strap her in a diaper, head to the zoo, and say nothing about potty training while enjoying the best mom and daughter day in a week.

Mental State: Sleep blissfully with the weight of a thousand sumo wrestlers lifted from my shoulders.

Day Nine: Plan to forgo potty training again, diaper her up. Miracle of miracles she joyously tells me she has to go to the bathroom on her own accord and then she does. Repeats 4 times. No Accidents. We sing the hallelujah chorus over here and declare her a genius.

And here I sit, Day Ten, wondering do I dare to dream? Do I say it out loud, the word “progress”? Sometimes I think as a mom if I say something aloud (read: brag) my child humbles me by refusing an encore presentation. Sleep through the night? Who me? No that must have been some other baby you were bragging about. So I am not bragging.  Hear that universe? No bragging to see hear folks. Move along.

In the spirit of honesty, this potty training business plus pregnancy is a hormonal roller coaster that makes me crazier than any reality TV contestant. It’s all mental this potty training game. But it has reminded me as first-time novice parent that each time I encounter one of these parenting milestones, many aspects of parenthood are trial and error and frustration does little good. I always want to parent from a place of love and support. And perhaps, a little bribery.

For now, I’m holding my breath and hoping to soon give a full report of our toilet triumphs.

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