The Faces of Potty Training
I’ve posted about potty training in the past. My son turned 3 this past summer, and potty training is still an ongoing process. There isn’t a set list of what I love and what I hate when it comes to this tedious task. There are only a handful of aspects that make it a struggle, because the benefit of finally having a toddler go to the bathroom outweighs it all. The benefit may be huge, because it’s a life skill, but that also makes the entire process so stressful.
I have read books, articles, and every tip that is out there when it comes to potty training. We started when my son turned 2, but after visiting with his doctor, we realized that he just wasn’t ready. I have family that tried forcing their kid, and it was a horrible year for them. I didn’t want to put my son through the mess that I watched unfold. It’s so easy to be stressed out, so I wanted to go about it with strategy. I started by asking my mommy friends and reading posts on Pinterest. I went though so much reading material, including pamphlets from the doctor. I really wanted to be prepared if one method didn’t work, so I could move on to the next method.
I wanted him to be ready before we actively started trying. I continued to encourage, but he didn’t start talking about it or showing readiness signs until he was 3. Now, we are in the thick of it. He has maybe 2-4 accidents a day on our rough days. He holds it at night and very rarely wets the bed. The biggest issue we have is pooping. I am well aware that going number 2 can be more difficult for little ones. My son likes to hid and squat. If I catch him, he gets super embarrassed and upset, so we just keep encouraging and going through the motions.
Methods and Strategies We’ve Tried
- Multiple Toilets- We bought an insert and stool for the regular toilet, and we bought a little potty that could be moved wherever. He hates the smaller one. He thinks it’s too germy even though he’s watched me scrub it multiple times.
- Training in 3, days– I read a few posts on Pinterest about how toddlers were being trained in a weekend. I followed every step. It did not work.
- Pull-ups- They are just glorified diapers. Aside from being handy while running errands in case of an accident, they don’t work for us. He does great doing errands as it is, because it’s fun to pee in new places.
- Naked Time- We started out letting our son roam around naked with the potty near by. He wasn’t ready and couldn’t hold it. I bought a lot of Lysol.
- Boxers and Underwear- We let him pick out bottoms that he loves, but there are still accidents. He usually keeps them dry, but the pooping makes the laundry add up.
- Scheduled Times- My son has a poop schedule that is pretty regular unless he eats something new. I put him on the potty every time that I know he needs to go. He still holds it and a tantrum usually follows after.
- Rewards- We have tried sticker books, small toys, candy, movies, and just about every reward he would like. At this current moment in time, I told him Santa will bring him the toys on his list if he keeps up the good work.
Like I said, we are in the thick of it. It’s an ongoing process, and some days we move forward, some days we go back a step. Being persistent has been the best method. We had to combine and tinker with everyone’s advice and do what works best for our son. That was something I learned on my own. Everyone has a certain way that they swear by, like cheerios in the toilet to make them aim better. We are just taking it day by day.
What I Hate
I don’t hate that I have to potty train my children. I love that they are growing up into smart and independent little people. What makes this process of being a parent the most difficult is the outside influences. I want to start my rant by explaining that I appreciate tips and advice. I love that seasoned parents tell me what worked for them, because then I can add it to my list of things to try. I am by no means an advice snob. I will admit that half of the time, I have no clue what I am doing and am surprised I am doing as good as I am.
I hate snarky comments. I hate criticism. I hate judgement people that act like I am a lazy parent because my son is 3 years old and still working on going to the bathroom full-time. I could be so rich if I had a dollar for every time someone said, “let me take your son for a week. He will come back potty trained, no problem.” Dear people who say that phrase or other renditions of it, you are a bag of dicks! I’ve heard this saying about 4 times since Friday.
I also hate when people scoff or make a face and just say, “hmm” the moment they find out your kid wasn’t potty trained by the age of 2. First of all, my child’s bathroom habits are none of your concern. Second of all, get away from me.
I think that many parents struggle with this step, but we are scared into putting on that brave mommy face. It’s hard, and that’s okay. When people are criticizing your parenting, their words are the only issue because it can create doubt. There is mommy shame and an overwhelming amount of guilt that a lot of us face. I feel so guilty when my son isn’t where other kids are. He excels in some things and he’s behind a bit in others. The guilt comes from the constant comparisons we do. I try to remind myself that all children are different, and everyone grows and learns at their own rate. The hard part comes when there are set perimeters, and if your kids falls out of those guidelines, the stress heightens.
What I love
I love that my son is growing up. I love that he is becoming a little man. It’s so incredible to see his little face light up when he successfully goes to the bathroom. The cheering and the smiles make every Lysol wipe worth it. The amount of joy that he gets from learning and being successful cancels out all of those negative people. I couldn’t be more proud of him as he runs in and out of the bathroom while I’m typing this. He didn’t even need my help this time. I love those moments, and no matter how quickly they pass by, it makes the entire process amazing.
I could go on and on about how amazing pride feels. I could talk about my kids for hours. Half of it would be that they can be tiny little jerks. The other half would be that they are the most wonderful toddlers in the world, and I love them so much. Being a parent can give you whiplash, but that’s okay. If there weren’t yo-yoing emotions and processes, then it wouldn’t be called parenting.