Thursday, June 17, 2010

The troubles with potty training

are the MOMMIES!

How it all started...
Who hasn't sat through play dates with Mommy Pioneers telling their tales of Potty Training voyages armed with stickers, charting and treats as they bravely paved their way to underwear-hood before their youngsters could even walk??

Ok, maybe not that early, but considering that the average age for potty training is 30-36 months by comparison 18-24 month olds might as well be rolling their exersaucers to the bathroom.

Such striking testimonies are nothing more than pitfalls.

Pitfalls for the common type-A, over-achiever like myself.

In for trouble...
If other people's kids were potty training at 18 months, by golly so would mine!
She was showing all the "signs" of readiness, so clearly I decided that my darling must also be a potty genius.
So bye bye diapies it was for us!

After collecting experienced advice from my fellow Mommy Potty Pioneers I mustered all of the craftiness in my heart and created a giant potty poster, made special potty point stickers, ordered the recommended potty training books and DVDs and shamefully stocked the cupboards with tasty incentives to get us started.

After days of building up to our exciting POTTY DAY, the pee-day morning finally arrived. As suggested, Sienna woke up to bunches of beautifully wrapped individual big girl panties and candle lite Potty Day blueberry muffins.

Wouldn't you be excited? ...And she was too for the first few days.

Like a good pioneer protege I decided to follow the "rules" to the T by placing her little training potty in the middle of our living room, in front of the TV with the timer set for 30 minutes. Rain or shine she was to sit on the potty with every buz.

Every 30 minutes?!
Are you kidding me?

I don't think I could toot every 30 minutes if somebody paid me to. And, neither could she... Scratch that plan.

I had been warned that the magic of early training only works if you never go back, so I found plan B:
Remove all clothing, so that the child becomes aware of herself, will start noticing when she is going and eventually run to the potty.

Hum... that could help and Sienna did/does LOVE being naked. I adjusted the every 30 minutes to every hour and tripled the fluid intake just to be sure.

It worked!!

Until... we had to leave the house. Then what?

She was so comfortable using her potty at home when she was already naked, but when Mommy had to help her pull down her pants or get on and off a big toilet I could just FORGET IT! I would've never thought I might lose a wrestling match to a 1 1/2 year old until I tried to force one to go to the bathroom against her will. She made it abundantly clear that should would go potty on her watch and her watch alone. If I so much as suggested otherwise she would defiantly pee where no reasonable human should. All over herself.

I was done. DONE! So I did it. I to
ok away her big girl panties, and then we both sat together on the floor and cried.

How it all ended...
Over the proceeding months she would frequently ask to put her pee pee or poo poo in the potty and we let her. Occasionally she'd break my heart and say "Momma, be a good girl, get big girl panties?" She thought I took her panties away because she was naughty. Oh, I messed this one up badly, didn't I?

Finally, I couldn't take her sweet little voice asking to be a big girl any more, she was 27 months old and begging to use the big girl potty. That's when I knew the trouble with potty training was me.

So I decided that I had to soldier up and try again. I picked June 1st for our new pee-day and started to pray (for myself).

This time was different. No more potty posters, no more stickers, no more treats and NO MORE portable potty in the living room!

On May 31st I simply said, "Sienna when you wake up tomorrow we're going to say bye bye to your diapers and only wear bi
g girl panties. Would you like that?!" She starred right at me and said "Of course!"

By June 4th we weren't having any accidents. And by the end of the weekend we didn't have to ask her if she had to go anymore- she told us.

Now our biggest problem is feigning excitement as she loudly dictates every bowel movement she has and just so I don't feel alone, I'll share some of her favorite lines:

"I have a big one poo poo Mommy!"

"Just a little one poo poo"

"I see a snake poo poo"

"Eeeww stinky poo poo, shut door!"

Oh the things we do for our children.

How did I do it?
I didn't. She did. I just gave her the room to do so without making a ridiculous deal out of everything.

In case you are like me and tried potty training too early to either save money on diapers or because you just knew your kid was "mature," look at some of these studies that support waiting until at least 24-27 months. In addition, studies confirm that the earlier you start the longer it will take.

Save yourself from a lot of this:

And hopefully you won't end up like this:

Even though this was me at first, it was worth it to learn that the process is just as much about the parents being "ready" as it is the child and by "ready" I don't mean pushy :)

I know I made a royal mess out of this round, but I'm looking forward to trying with Jonah.... I know I'll wait a little longer to start with him, but that's about all I know!! Does anyone have any tips on training boys? Other success stories?? I want to hear it all!


  1. ha ha great post! So true!

    I started with my son "early" for a boy around 27 months because I read somewhere that it is harder after 28 months??? (wierd in hindsight). It took FOREVER! The naked running around did work for us and then we would do pull ups when we left the house but he would pee in them. I was more stressed than he was because I was telling him all of the time that it was time to go in and try. Ugh! I did stickers, I did treats, I did toys that you could only play with while you are on the toilet.
    At one point about a month in as I was cleaning up poop off of the floor I decided that enough was enough and I didn't think that should be in my job description so I QUIT! Yep, I put him back in diapers. Talk about mom guilt! I thought I was teaching my son to be a quitter. =) He never even mentioned it. A few weeks later we started over. I was less stressed which helped things out a ton. Anyway, he was potty trained before 3 but it sure was a long road and he still does a dance when he has to poop.

    My friend who really didn't want to potty train because she was pregnant had her daughter walk in one day and start on her own. She pretty much did the whole thing on her own because she was ready.

    So I guess that is the moral of the story. Wait until they are ready and try not to get sucked into the pressure of what everyone else is doing (although I know that is hard).

    This is as long as your post. lol sorry! Know that you aren't alone in the craziness of it all. =)

  2. As before you are the pioneer for me. I love the read and your silly pictures especially since pee was on that seat. Only moms

  3. Amen, Sister! Preach it! I agree with everything you said. A pioneer mommy, whose daughter potty trained herself at 18 months, gave me a book by a "potty training specialist". Well, let's just say that after reading about 5 pages, I was ready to mail my 3 yr old daughter's poop-filled panties to that specialist. It's too bad he only provided an email address.

    About 6 weeks after I quit potty training in a screaming, crying tantrum (mine, not hers), she said she wanted to wear panties and hasn't gone back since.

    To me, there are no rules that work for everyone except WAIT TIL THEY ARE READY! If that's 18 months, well, good for you. But if that's 3.5? Well, that's fine too! And if any other mom makes a snide comment or makes you feel like less of a mom because your preschooler is still in diapers? Well, you can just mail her a pair of those soiled panties. :)

  4. Thank you so much for making me feel better. It is so great to know I'm not alone!

    I can't stop laughing about the soiled panties!!


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