Potty training has to be one of the most frustrating parenting seasons, especially for those of us with strong-willed children.
As a first time mom, I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle potty training in the most efficient and effective manner. It was a constant game of two steps forward and 9,459 steps back. The stress that ensued was clearly misplaced, and outright disproportionate to the actual end goal. So, I’m here to tell you to STOP WORRYING.
My daughter was two years old when we first introduced the potty. This was practically a necessity because at the time she was in full-time daycare. Her class’ age ranged from two to three, so many of the students were already in the process, or fully trained. As we introduced the potty, she definitely showed interest. My arrogant, first-time-mom self thought, “My little smart girl, this will be a breeze.”
Oh, how wrong I was.
While I worked full-time, with a long commute to boot, I just couldn’t muster up the energy I knew we would need. I kept encouraging her when she showed interest, her teachers did the same, but there wasn’t any pushing. I figured if we continued to get her comfortable that when I was ready, she would be ready. Hilarious, I know.
Around two and a half, our world was changing again with an upcoming cross-country move. Knowing this was coming up, with so many changes, I continued to push back the inevitable training. However, I also planned on staying home so I knew that we could tackle it as soon as we were settled. Again, WRONG.
After settling, I wanted to try the three-day method. We made sure the calendar was clear and we used lots of bribery. We made a bit of progress with #1, no progress with #2. The weeks went on, and accidents seemed to be getting worse and the potty became a source of anxiety for everyone in a three-block radius. We tried again, but the pushback continued. Diapers were clearly her security blanket. She would hold it all day, and then before bed, I’d have to change her two to three times. I hated seeing her so uncomfortable so we continued to be in potty training limbo for months.
Then, it finally clicked.
After all those stressful months with little to no progress, I just wanted to give up entirely since all this work was making no impact. We were coming up on three years old and I was still changing diapers. It became such a source of frustration that I called it quits more than a few times. Yet, one miraculous day, it just clicked. Funny enough, I can’t even take the credit. During a playdate, one of her accidents sparked a conversation between her and her friend. It turned out that this simple event, of talking about the potty with her friend, was our magic ticket. I’m pretty sure angels sang and a rainbow appeared over the house. I honestly couldn’t believe it, but here we are months later and rarely are there accidents.
No matter what method you use, or what age you try to potty train, there will be stress and frustration. Every child is different and every child will have their “ah-ha” moment. Just trust that their “ah-ha” moment will come and that all the work you have already put in will pay off. You don’t need to search if kindergarten will accept untrained children (obviously barring medical issues) like I did. Just try to remember that while you sit on the side of the tub for the seventh time today with no results, you got this mamas!