Our first born is a little girl who some believe is the smartest little toddler they’ve ever met. For the longest time I believed this too. Don’t most parents? We all want to paint this picture of our kids being the next President, Olympic athlete, or rocket scientist. Let’s be honest, our kids aren’t perfect, and they are more than likely not going to be any of those things. That is OKAY. They have their meltdowns, tantrums, and can be completely and utterly disgusting, that doesn’t mean they won’t amount to anything later in life.
I came to this realization that our little girl wasn’t the brightest toddler ever when it came time to potty train. It’s easy, right? Take her to the potty every 20-30 minutes, give her a prize if she goes, buy her cute new undies, sing a “potty song,” and dance after she flushes. ANYONE can do that, right?
We thought we would get a “head start” last winter while I was expecting baby #2 and we had a long weekend at home together to try to potty train our little 20 month old. We spent two solid days with her barricaded in the kitchen on the linoleum. Just her, Mommy, Daddy, and the potty. The cat wanted nothing to do with our little experiment. We had her wear cute new Minnie Mouse underwear, bought treats, and had the coolest potty for her to go on. She didn’t get it. She peed while sitting on my husband’s lap and didn’t care that she was standing in the middle of her very own puddle. She didn’t tell us when she went in her pants, or that she was wet. Not even an “uh-oh.” After two solid days wasted, we stopped fighting her to do it.
After the “long weekend” massacre in the kitchen, we didn’t push the potty on her. We would mention it here and there, took her in with us when we would go, showed her cartoons about using the potty, but decided we would let her take the lead. She STILL never showed interest.
It came time for baby #2 to arrive in July of this year, and the older sister was still yet to be potty trained. This meant TWO kiddos in diapers, twice as many wipes, and a busier lifestyle to even attempt to potty train her in. How was this going to be possible? Well, it wasn’t. 4 months after baby #2 and big sister still hasn’t figured out the potty training gig. She’s 2 ½ now.
Immediately we think we have failed as parents. How can we not potty train her by now? We even got more serious about it while I was on maternity leave. We had her “parent trained.” We could put her on the potty every 20-30 minutes all day long, she would go, and her pants would stay dry, but the minute we let her try to tell us, she was wet. She can’t grasp having to tell us when she has to go or even taking herself to the potty on her own. It hasn’t clicked yet. She will continue playing in wet pants or pee right in the middle of the bathroom floor, she doesn’t care.
As parents, we can’t help but to get frustrated. We want our kids to be the most intelligent little humans out there. She knows all the words to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” can tell us her ABCs, but can’t remember to tell us when she has to pee? Come on! We get it stuck in our minds that a simple activity like potty training is going to shape our kiddos into who they will become as adults. If they aren’t potty trained by 2, then we’ve failed as parents.
Why was this my way of thinking?
Much like my previous blog, My Picky Toddler, potty training has taught me to accept that I am doing everything right for her and that eventually she will figure it out. Not every kid is the same and some kids just get things quicker than other kids. It doesn’t mean our kid is an idiot. It just means she’s not potty trained yet. She will be when she is ready.
For now, we are still not pushing the issue and we’re waiting until she shows us signs that she is ready to do it. It’s not worth our frustration to force it on her. It’ll happen someday and boy will we be ready with treats, undies, songs, and dances. Until then, I will look forward to the blog I can write about her actually being potty trained!
Do you have any tips that worked for you and your toddler when it came time to potty train?