So, I decided to start potty training my daughter. And anyone who has kids, or knows kids, or has seen kids. I’m sure understands the stress, and mess associated with this task. My daughter is 19 months, so to some she may be too young to start, and to others she may be too old. Regardless, she’s mine. And this is when we are going to try.
Now I have read endless posts, pins and articles on potty training. All the way from 6-month-old babies who were successful, to the 4 years olds still learning. But a popular suggestion was to hash it all out within a few days. Supposedly your child will be fully potty trained in about 2-3 days. Sweet!
Steps to Potty Training Success
The first recommendation, was to prepare your child ahead of time. Involve them in the process, as much as possible. Shop with them for fun underwear. Talk about the potty, and using the bathroom. Read appropriate potty-training books. Maybe even have some type of sticker chart, or reward system. Which I did. All of it. We had sticker charts, candy bunnies, and princess panties, all ready to go. Potty, poo-poo, and pee-pee, became the only words in the world. And we knew to the day, exactly when this potty training was going to happen.
But like the rest of life, potty training didn’t turn out as planned.
First off, it was suggested to get rid of all diapers. Every. Single. One. That way you wouldn’t be tempted, to just slap on another diaper. From then on, your child would only wear underwear. Supposedly, this brings awareness to your child, and prevents confusion. So, I obliged, and got rid of the diapers. All of them. And we now have 16 pairs of panties to our name.
Let’s Start the Potty Training
Then came the actual potty training. The idea is that you spend 2-3 days putting your child on the potty regularly, and consistently, so they get comfortable, and learn to use it. Some articles I read suggested every 10 minutes on the potty. While others mentioned 20 minutes. So I opted for 14 minutes, somewhere in the middle.
Of course, there would be many messes. And a lot patience would be needed. Putting your child on a potty every 14 minutes, does not sound like fun. And cleaning up all the accidents that come in between those toilet times, doesn’t sound enjoyable either. But the thought of having a potty trained child in only a few days, seemed incredibly appealing.
So there I was, with potty training books, stickers, candies, panties, some form of patience, and no diapers. I was prepared and ready to go. And if you wanted to see my controlling nature: I even had a pad of paper, and color-coded pen for tracking.
BLUE- every time I put her on the potty
GREEN- when she actually used the potty
RED- when she had accidents
Along with the exact timing when all of this occurred.
As you can see, there is NO GREEN!
As soon as Cameron woke up, I put her right on the potty. Excited to get this training started. Of course, she didn’t pee, but I kept trying. Every 14 minutes, she was on the potty. And by lunch time, I had cleaned up 3 poops, and 2 pees, with no success on the potty. It basically felt like I was teaching my child to pee in her panties, because that’s all she was doing. I tried talking with her, showing her, and making her clean the messes with me. I was silent, I yelled, I laughed, I cried. Still nothing on the potty, just 5 other messes to clean up.
I swear my house had never seen so much pee, and this was only the first day. Was I doing something wrong? Why isn’t my child peeing on the potty? I was literally putting her on there, every 14 minutes. Yet sometime in between, she decided to go somewhere else. The toy room, kitchen, hallway, stairs. I felt like giving up.
In my head thoughts kept rolling by: This doesn’t work. I want to quit. I am miserable. My child is miserable. Our house stinks. The laundry is never ending. And I can’t even keep up with her panty changes. I hated my life.
My husband reminded me that she is still little, it was the first day. And at least she is comfortable on the potty. She also survived her whole 2-hour nap with no leakage. So, I had hope. We got her ready for bed, read her a book, and put her on the potty. Of course, she didn’t go, but at least I know we tried.
For the rest of the evening, and throughout the night. All I could think about, was the amount of times she was going to wake up, covered in piss. But she didn’t
Cameron woke up at 6:00am. Dry. That’s right, 10 hours. No pee. I was thrilled, and had a little more enthusiasm starting the second day.
I put her on the potty right away, thinking she must have to pee badly, she’s been holding it in all night. But she didn’t go. 14 minutes later she still didn’t go. But 4 minutes after that, she did. On the floor. I really started to think, that she was associating her panties, with the need to pee. I wondered if sitting on the potty, was the reason behind her peeing right afterwards. Because whatever I was doing, wasn’t working. She definitely was not peeing on the potty.
By 11am, she had peed 8 times, and pooped once, none of them on the toilet. In fact, as soon as she finished being on the potty. And I put new clothes and panties on her. She peed. I lost it. I cried, and screamed, and even locked myself in my room. Hoping to escape her, her pee, and my life.
Now I may have been overreacting, but I was trying so hard, and wanted success. Yet failure was being thrown in my face, over and over and over again. And the problem wasn’t even her not going potty, but the fact that I was getting so angry about it. I started to believe that I was the one causing her to pee everywhere. She’s probably terrified, and has no idea what to do, so just pees. Everywhere. Except the potty.
Come lunch time, I was exhausted, so was she. So, I just gave up. I sat on the floor, hiding behind an end table, shoving my face with potato chips. I didn’t want to move, or try, or do anything. So, I sat there, eating my face away. Cameron came up to me, all cute and innocent. Hoping to sneak in some chips. And I let her. Normally, I wouldn’t feed her junk, especially near lunch time. But at this point, I didn’t care. We both sat on the floor. Filling our faces, and staring into space. I don’t know how long this went on, but before I even realized it. Cameron was sitting in a puddle of her pee, trying to scoop up wet chip crumbs she had dropped….
Really? Did life get this low? We are sitting in piss, eating potato chips. Pee-covered ones at that.
I took a breath, got up, and cleaned the mess. Then I washed Cameron in the shower, fed her lunch, and put her to bed for naptime. For our own sanity, I made a decision. No more schedule. And no more forcing this potty training. She will learn eventually, and I will support her when she does.
So, from now on, I’ll just put her on the potty when I can. I’ll keep asking her if she needs to go pee-pee, when I can. But I don’t need to track it, analyze it, or obsess about results and success. She will get it. Eventually. And it may not take 3 days, it may take 300. But I’d rather have days that are manageable, fun, and enjoyable, rather than days that come straight from hell. Even if it takes a little longer.
In reality, there was no day 3. There was just life. One day after another. No system, rules, or schedule to follow. Sure, we still put Cameron on the potty. Sometimes she goes, sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she wears panties, sometimes she doesn’t. And of course, we still have tons of messes to clean up. But she will learn, like every child eventually does. In her own time, and in her own way. No one else’s.
Would love hear your potty training experiences- the good, bad, and ugly.