Potty Training….training how to use the potty, toilet, commode, etc. Honestly I think it should be called Patience Training because you sure need a lot of it when you start the process.
This isn’t my first rodeo either. I have been through this “training” once before with my son so I was pretty sure I could be considered an expert. Either my son was super easy to train or I developed training amnesia because my daughter took my expertise as a challenge. And boy did she challenge me (still does).
A little back story on my previous experience with potty training. We started training my son around 2-2 1/2yrs old. He was also in daycare at the time and the classroom he was in worked on potty training (they had a restroom in the classroom and encouraged using it). His teacher gave me tips that seemed to be working for him in class so that we could continue working at home. I don’t remember it taking a long time for him to get the hang of it and I don’t remember getting stressed out about it. He seemed to be really into wanting to learn and was super excited to move out of diapers and into big boy underwear.
Taking this previous experience into consideration I thought “this should be a breeze!” Ha, I was so wrong.
We started potty training with my daughter around the same age we started with my son. She constantly joined me in the bathroom (hint #1, at least I’m considering it a hint, because why else would you interrupt my fortress of solitude?), she would get excited about the little potties at Walmart because of the awesome characters on it (hint #2, again I’m considering it a hint), and she would get excited when I mentioned getting to wear big girl underwear (hint #3).
Of course what is my life without a few hiccups?
Around the time we had started to slowly work on training (pull up stage), we thought it would be fun to take the kids to a trampoline park (yes this is going where you think it is and yes we are aware of the dangers). So yep, there was a mishap with another kid bouncing on the trampoline she was on and boom, fractured tibia right below the knee. Now I consider this a hiccup because she had a cast covering her ENTIRE LEG! Yes, the entire leg (thigh to foot). You’re not suppose to get casts wet, so if regular water is bad, I’m pretty sure urine isn’t ANY better. Since we couldn’t use the potty and pull ups were definitely out of the question (it was bad enough trying to get clothes on) we decided to take a break until her cast came off. A hiccup inside a hiccup came when her cast came off and she wouldn’t walk on her leg for another few weeks. I wanted to focus on one thing at a time and the moment called for helping her walk again.
Once she started walking again and life seemed to be back to semi normal (it’s never fully normal) we started back on the training. First we started with skittles. She loves skittles and would get one every time she would at least try to sit on the potty, and two if she actually used the potty. This lasted for a little while until she realized that she didn’t actually have to use the potty to get her skittle she just had to make us think she needed to. Once we stopped giving her a skittle for at least sitting on the potty she went back to peeing in her pull up and stopped trying.
Next we tried sticker charts. To get a sticker she had to actually use the bathroom and she would get two stickers if she pooped. Once she filled up her chart I would take her to her favorite place (Target) and let her pick out a small prize. This worked for about two months and then she got bored with that and stopped trying AGAIN!
By this point I was on the struggle bus. My patience was wearing thin and I was convinced she would never potty train. I would be stuck changing her diapers FOREVER! It seemed that we would try something and she would just give up. I couldn’t understand why she was doing this. Its not like she didn’t know the sensation or how to actually use the bathroom, but she just didn’t care. Finally we tried one last trick to get her to try. We got a box, let her decorate it, and filled it with prizes that she really wanted. We got the idea from a friend of mine who did it with her daughter and it seemed to work. We also started fully using training pants so that she would feel the need to actually make it to the bathroom. It was rough at first, LOTS of accidents, and lots of frustration, but it seemed to stick.
This technically isn’t a hiccup during the potty training process, but it was something that happened and should probably be on notice. Now at this point she has gone months, I mean MONTHS without an accident. She always made it to the bathroom and we thought we were on the up and up with this training. However one day I noticed she was taking a long time in the bathroom and the water was running (she was using the bathroom all by herself at this point so I didn’t have to go with her). I went to check on her because obviously something was up and I opened the door to a super wet floor! No, it wasn’t the water from the sink that made it wet, no it was urine. ALL OVER THE FLOOR!! I of course freak out and start asking her why she peed in the floor and all she could say was that she had to use the bathroom. She couldn’t tell me why she wouldn’t go on the toilet. I took it as a fluke and got her and the bathroom cleaned up and moved on with the day. Well later that night I’m sitting at the dining room table with her playing next to me when all of a sudden I start smelling urine very close to me. I looked down and she’s just staring at me. I asked her if she just peed in her panties and she said yes. Of course I ask her why and she just says I didn’t want to tell you I had to go. Now I’m completely confused. This was unusual for her to have two accidents like this and definitely for her to say she didn’t want to tell me she had to go. Well the accidents continued into the next day and after getting on to her for the accidents I called my mom because I just couldn’t understand what was happening. She was doing so good and it was like we were starting from the very beginning.
Thank God for my mom. She asked me if I thought my daughter had a UTI and that’s when my heart sank. Now a UTI isn’t a big deal, get some meds and cranberry juice and we are good to go. The reason my heart sank was because here is my sweet angel fighting an infection and I just got onto her for having accidents that she didn’t mean to have. I felt like the worst mom in the world. So off to the doctor we went and got the confirmation. We went home, got lots of cuddles in and started antibiotics. Things went back to normal and she was back to being accident free. The reason I’m telling you this is not so I can be judged for not catching her UTI (and getting on to her for accidents), but so that others can notice the signs in case their child goes through this. UTI’s are very common in potty training children, especially if they are learning to wipe themselves so be aware of the signs (accidents, frequency, irritability more than normal).
So that’s it, my potty training experience. Hopefully this helps anyone out there struggling, hoping to relate, or just needing a good laugh.