Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bigger Picture Moment: Biting The Potty Training Bullet

Warning: This post contains such terrifying topics as toddler-poop and mama-avoidance.  I apologize in advance.

You know what I've been dreading for months now?  The task I've been ignoring and putting off and placing on the back burner due to my own reluctance?  My own laziness? 

Potty training. 

Yes, I've already successfully navigated this slippery, treacherous slope with one child, but that's what's been scaring me so much: last time was not easy.  There were battles of will, disgustingly sloppy accidents, disgustingly sloppy accidents. 

I don't want to clean poo.  I just don't want to. 

But this time around, with Lauren, potty training has been an entirely different experience.  For one thing, she's pretty much initiated the process herself.  One day several weeks ago, she refused to wear clothes, stripping down to her bare skin -- no diaper.  Since she demanded nakedness, I sat her down and had a talk with her.  (As much of a talk as one can carry on with a 2-year-old.)  I told her that if she wasn't going to wear a diaper, she had to make sure she didn't pee on the floor.  She walked around naked for days repeating the mantra of "We DON'T pee-pee on the floor!" and shaking her head with gusto.  For the most part, she did well.  There was one spectacular afternoon in which I found her standing on a kitchen chair, concerned and curious about the pile of (ugh) poo at her feet, but those instances of extra-diaperial evacuation have been rare.

Furthermore, she's excited to use the potty.  She watches her sister and wants to be part of that club so badly that she'll simply follow her into the bathroom for a marathon session of pooping/playing.  (For the record, I'm completely fine with being excluded from this club.  I prefer...fresher...venues for meetings.)  She knows the ropes, and it's not a frightening process like it was for Mia.  Mia was the trailblazer, so Lauren walks on a blazed trail.  She's immune to the potty-fear that overcame her big sister. 

But most of all, what I've discovered with Lauren's foray into the great culture of Potty Land is that there is a difference in me.  Yes, I've avoided potty training.  Still, I do know what I'm doing this time.  (Sort of.)  I know what rewards will motivate my child to use the potty when she's otherwise invested in playing right through all her body's cues.  I've learned that I can't expect her to tell me she needs to use the potty -- I have to mandate regular potty breaks.  I understand how to pick up a pile of poop without letting any part of it touch my fingers lest I be forced to cut off my own hand.  (I've learned how to make inappropriate jokes about fecal matter.) 

And most importantly, I've learned that potty training isn't something to fear.  It's something to plow through when my child is ready (absolutely no sooner).  It's something exciting.  Especially when it's over, which it almost is in our house.  Lauren has been mostly clean and dry for more than a week.  (Party on potty people.)

What I didn't consider at the outset of this process is that potty training is different with every child.  The same way everything is different with every child.  I'm glad for the reminder, yet again.

Link up your own Bigger Picture Moment this week with Hyacynth at Undercover Mother.  We'd love to hear about the moments -- big or small -- that led you to focus on the important things in life: The Bigger Picture.


  1. It was SO different the second time around here too - Paige just did it herself (oh the ways of the second child ;)) and the lack of pressure on my part (not that there was much with Fynn, but I had no idea what I was doing - and it's also SO different with boys...) equaled a very easy time. Granted... we're now in a regression thanks to a UTI two weeks ago... but still. It's all good :)
    Hang in there... good luck!

  2. My second has been training herself as well, she refuses to wear a diaper, even at night. However, I do have to remind her to go, otherwise she tells me that she has to go while she is going on the floor in front of me!

  3. G wanted to potty learn at 10 months. No lie. But only poop. He only wanted to put poop in the potty. Not pee. We battled about pee in the potty for close to one year. I think it has scarred me for life, though he seems fine now.
    E has NO interest in the potty at nearly 14 months. And I am NOT going there one.single.moment before he demands it -- even if that moment isn't until freshman year of high school. I simply refuse to go through a year long battle where one or both of us cry daily because of it.

    You are so right: they have to be ready. HEre's to hoping Lauren gets the poopin' soon. :)

  4. I would have intelligent things to say on this. Agreement that every kid is different, all that jazz. I have evidence from my own family to corroborate such statements.

    However I had quite a traumatizing incident yesterday while preparing a load of #2-eey cloth diapers for the wash. Let's just say my hand met the scariness, and the scariness won and continued to win even after I subjected my poor hand and arm to numerous baths in literally scalding, soapy water. I guess I'm due for a new hand.

  5. Way to go, you! I hate potty training, and even in the midst of the third time around, I still don't feel like it's smooth sailing. But it at least isn't (so far) a huge battle of the will like it was with my other two. Good luck to you!

  6. We are in the midst of potty-training here too..... Touch and go - everyday different. AND.... every kid different. This is #4 for me, and.... different than all the others. Good luck!

  7. Oh wow, she's getting so big so fast! Way to go, Lauren! Hooray!

    I'm glad I'm not the only mama who's been lazily avoiding potty training. I know Penelope's interested. I just need to motivate myself to encourage her. Thanks for the inspiration! You've given me hope. :)

  8. My second was different too, but completely opposite of yours! Unlike every person I know my boy trained himself starting at 18months and by 2.5 was fully trained.

    My daughter wanted to at 18months (to be like her brother) but NOTHING worked. Seriously she peed in every single grocery store shopping cart in the greater Chicagoland area. But one day, sometime after her second birthday she just got it and was done.

    All during the day of course, we don't talk about night, too traumatic. One is, one isn't :-/

  9. Sarah, I am so glad to read this! My little guy has started talking about the potty and using the potty and he's not even two! I am dreading the whole experience but it was so nice to read that it might all be okay in the end (pun intended).

  10. Can I just say that I am SO GLAD to know I'm not the only parent who doesn't push their child into potty training at 18 months? Many of the moms I know swear their kids were all potty trained at an early age and they wear it like a badge of honor -- but I just don't think Lily is ready yet and I don't want to force it. So thanks for making me not feel like a slacker mom :) Hope it continues to go well for you with Lauren!

  11. You make is sound so easy, could you please come potty train mine(or have Lauren)? I tried when she was interested-she pooped in the potty ALL ON HER OWN(no prompting or mandated potty break)....that was MONTHS ago. Now she doesn't even care, she only uses the potty as an excuse to get out of bed and she's constipated. I'm trying to be aloof and matter of fact about it, not forcing-don't want to make things worse. What did I do/am I doing wrong?


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?