Our potty training days are over, thankfully, because I was about to lose my ever-loving mind over my last child agreeing to poop in the potty. Notice I didn’t say “finally figuring out” but rather, “agreeing”. Y’all, this child fought us over pooping in the potty for the longest time.
The. Longest. Time.
I remember telling other parents who were potty training (keep in mind that this was before our last child’s potty training phase), “Oh don’t worry! It’ll happen and I guarantee your child will not go to Kindergarten not knowing how to go in the toilet.”
And then…baby girl happened. This little one was born two whole months early. She was a little firecracker in the NICU, causing all kinds of ruckus because she wouldn’t progress like the doctors wanted and then, like a light switch got turned on, she just did the thing everyone was waiting on her to do. Whether it was maintain body heat, not lose weight, suck/ swallow…she struggled and struggled and then like a snap, she got it. All of it.
One NICU nurse told us, “Honey child, watch out for this little one. She may be little, but she sure is fierce!”
And oh is she fierce! Every milestone she’s reached, she does on her own time. Some kids are just like that, I guess. Our first two were like clockwork on milestones. Baby girl works on her own schedule.
Fast-forward to potty training. And I know all the experts say “she’ll do it when she’s ready” or “don’t push her, you’ll only frustrate yourself and her” blah, blah, blah. But tell all that to the preschool who is telling you that in order for your child to be in the three year old class, she has to be potty trained.
So, for all you parents who find yourself in this similar situation, here’s our story. I ain’t gonna lie, it wasn’t pretty, I did pull my hair out, there were tears, accidents and perhaps a child running around the house without her pants on but we did it and here’s how.
Pick Out Your Special Underwear!
First we did the “Pick out your special underwear!” in hopes that she would respect her britches and not soil them. We also bought 5 pairs of the basic Walmart cotton pants in a variety of colors because we were going to go cold-turkey.
And we did.
And it went as expected. Soggy and drippy. But we continued. We changed pants, washed pants, made very frequent trips to the potty.
So we added a sticker chart. With her favorite character. We went to the store and she took forever deciding what stickers she wanted to have on her chart. We figured her investing her time in picking out the stickers would help keep her motivated to actually get to use the stickers!
And it went as expected. The chart hung on the wall…naked. Waiting for stickers.
Soon it was Christmas time and I had some time off work and I decided this girl is gonna learn how to at least tinkle in the potty before I go back to work. We discovered that she absolutely didn’t like the feel of tinkles dripping down her leg so off the pants came. She was not happy with this, but it worked quickly because soon enough she was “holding it” and “making it” to the potty. She even got to where she took herself.
One of the things we said was “Listen! I hear your pee pees coming! Here they come!” and for whatever reason, that proclamation got her so excited that sure enough…her pee pees did come! She was so proud and we all made a big deal out of any success she had.
Soon enough the sticker chart was filling up. And soon enough she was taking herself to the bathroom and was announcing an invitation to all within the sound of her voice to join her as we all gaze into the toilet to behold her success. She also made sure someone was on the task of sticker presentation.
And now for the second part of the show…
And so it was, she became potty trained for tinkles.
Now…the hard part. The poop. She DID NOT LIKE the idea of pooping in the potty. And we found ourselves in the same situation. Her outright refusal, our failed attempts, lots of soiled clothes and a ton of frustration. She did the same thing when getting ready to poop so we tried our very best to catch her just before and run her to the potty. No luck. She even had a pretty reliable schedule but somehow we would either just miss it or she would hold it and go when we weren’t looking, which was pretty awesome because we watched her like a hawk!
Time to bring out the big guns. She is motivated by a reward so we made it a big one. We let her pick out a big toy she really wanted.We made a “three poops” chart and had big, awesome stickers she could place over each number upon success. Guess what we did next? We put the big toy on top of the refrigerator where she could see it and we told her she had to do three poops in the potty to get the toy. Do you know I had to dust that thing, it sat up there so long? She wanted that toy but she refused to go in the potty.
But we held firm and the “three poops” chart sat empty.
Until one day…I was at work and I got a text message from my husband.
“She just took herself to the bathroom and pooped in the potty”
Oh my heavens, I have never been so happy. And not an hour later, I got another text “She just did it again…all on her own”. 30 minutes after that one, I got this text: “She peed twice in the potty and she’s sitting on the potty now saying she pooped.”
In one day, this child had completed her chart for getting the toy she had picked out and from that day forward, she was potty trained completely. Just like a light switch. Just like every other milestone she hits. Some kids are just like that. No matter how much you push, it really does depend on when they are ready to do it.
Some kids potty train quickly. Some take forever. Sone get scared of the potty and some just prefer to go in their pants. Patience is key. Consistency is key. Laundry packs, hot water and lots of changes of clothes are key.
Your child will become potty trained. If I can offer a piece of advice, it’s this:
Do not compare your kid to someone else’s kid. Your kid is your kid; not someone else’s kid. She will get it, I promise. It’ll be gross until then, sorry. But soon enough it’ll all be in the rear-view mirror (get it…rear view? haha!).