Oh Potty Training

I’ve always said, if there was one job in parenting I could pay someone else to do, it would be potty training.  No, I’m no longer dealing with this (unless you count the endless occurrences of unflushed toilets).  But I can still share my story 🙂

First, here is the best, most amazing advice I got from my friend Christine. “They don’t ask on a college application how old they were when they were potty trained.”  AND exhale.

Second, I didn’t start until my kids were dry through the night.  I was lazy and wanted to just be done all at once.  So they were all 3-3 1/2 when they were potty trained.

Potty training at our house looked like this: sit them on the potty every 15 minutes, see what happened, repeat.  After a weekend if it wasn’t clicking we’d stop and try again in a month.

Grace had 2-3 months of “not clicking” and then it happened.  It was a breeze.  It was a miracle.  It was a false promise of what was to come.

Eli took 4 years, I’m fairly certain.  2 steps forward, 3 steps back, 3 steps forward, 1 step back, no movement at all, you get it.  I tried sticker charts and candy.  His issue was that he just didn’t want to stop playing for this inconvenience.  Finally I realized that his “currency” was John Deere tractors.  I would buy a big, cool tractor…show it to him…then put it high up on the fridge and tell him he could have it when he actually pooped IN the potty.  It took 3 or 4 times of NOT getting the tractor before he realized I meant it.

Ada.  Well Ada definitely did not want to use the potty because she nearly fell in once (granted she was the teeniest 3-year-old in the land) and so she would not be wearing her new princess underwear.  I bought her a princess potty, she was not interested.  Then I decided Spring Break would be the time.  This was it.  She disagreed.  Saturday morning I sat that little princess potty in front of the TV, turned on cartoons, and get her endless strawberry milk hoping to fill that bladder.  Eli (almost 5) said, “Ada, you’ve been there long enough.  You can get up now.”  I said, “Eli, I’m in charge, not you.”  Ada looked me square in the eye over the rim of her glasses and said, “No, I’M in charge.”  I said, “You’re right, you ARE in charge of going potty.  Can you go potty?”  And she did.  Right then.  That stubborn, stubborn girl.  And she was potty trained.

So, mommas.  There is no magic age.  There is no magic book.  You don’t have to do it the way I did.  You don’t have to do it the way your neighbor did, or your sister, or your mom or your mother-in-law.  YOU are the one who has to teach that sweet darling, so YOU get to decide when and how.

You’re doing a great job.


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