Potty Training…Why Sometimes You Just Have to Give Up

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We recently (finally!) got our 3 year old mostly potty trained.

I had actually been trying since shortly after she turned one because she had showed some interest. I know now that it would have saved me a lot of grief if I would have just taken it as what it was, a small interest, instead of assuming that it meant she was ready.

I tried ,a few times, to set her (and hold her) on the toilet. It freaked her out and she would yell “NO!” at the top of her lungs until I took her off.  So we bought a potty chair. Each day I would take her diaper off every few hours and set her on it for about 5 minutes.  She would sit there, but she wouldn’t actually go. She didn’t even have an “accident” when she would get up off the potty. Instead, she would wait until her diaper was back on, then within minutes be wet. I was determined though, so we went on like this. One day while she was sitting there she decided to leaned back against the lid, causing her to go tumbling backward onto the floor. After that every time I tried to sit her on the chair she would cry.

I was still determined and thought maybe a seat would work instead.

We went to the store and bought a nice cushy one. It was a cute little thing, white with little ducks on it. She would look at it and smile. Every time I would go to the bathroom I would take her with me. I would go first and have her be quiet. When I’d start going I would get excited and tell her that I was going potty. I would have her look in the toilet to see what I had done. We would say “bye” and flush the toilet. Then it was her turn, and I had reserves about this because she wasn’t too happy about sitting on the toilet before, but with her new cushy seat she was pretty happy, and as long as I was right there, she would sit on it as though she was a princess. Although she was perfectly happy sitting there, we still ran into the problem of her not going. She’d sit and sit and sit, but, moments after the diaper went back on I would have to change her. Finally though, after a few months of trying, she went on the potty. I was so excited and I let her know it. We did a happy dance and high fives and clapped our hands. We said “bye”. I was beaming, until…. I flushed the toilet. She screamed “NO!” as she watched the water go down the tube, and started bawling. I stood there gaping at her, the only thought in my head “What….the….heck?”. After the “incident” she refused to get back on the toilet no matter what I did. I’d get excited, offer to read her a book, sing to her, the list goes on, but it was always NO WAY, JOSE!

In the midst of this we were starting our move, everything was being moved around and put into boxes. I decided that maybe it would be a good time to just put the potty seat in one of those boxes.

We moved, then moved again. Every once in a while we would get the potty seat out and she would get excited. I’m not sure why because she still refused to have much to do with it. But we’d try and it’d last about a week.

When I found out I was pregnant again I panicked.

I so didn’t want to go through the whole 2 in diapers thing again (even though you’d think it wouldn’t bother me so much, considering I’d run a daycare for years, but it did). Not to mention I was already having horrible aversions to smells. I made her a potty chart and got her some pretty stickers. I showed them to her and explained that if she used the potty she would get to put a sticker on the chart. I started keeping track of her diapers to determine the best times to put her on the toilet. She seemed excited. We worked on it for about a month, she got to the point where she would go 2-3 times a day on the potty, but wouldn’t go #2 until she had a diaper on. Then she started regressing. She was just too busy to sit on the potty, and we were moving, yet again. Only this time into a camper. I was pregnant and tired. I didn’t feel like fighting it anymore. I packed up the potty seat and put it in storage.

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She showed some interest in the camper.

We switched from diapers to pull-ups and just let her go when she wanted. Until, again, she became nervous about the camper toilet. I ordered another potty chair (we’d left the first one in storage when we moved the first time). She used it maybe twice then it became a toy for her stuffed animals. She reverted back to going in her pull ups completely.

One day, as I was going through our little trailer that we used for storage, I found some panties that I had put away for her. She saw them and wanted to wear them. I told her that she could, but she had to use the potty. She was excited. She had a few accidents, but would use the potty more often than not. Things were going good, until the crap hit the floor (almost literally). I stepped outside for a moment and when I came back in I was met with an awful stench, I thought, momentarily, that our sewer had backed up. I started toward the bathroom, but heard a little grunt as I was passing our table. I looked underneath to find my little girl… going  #2… in a box!!! OK, back to pull-ups!

I gave birth to our youngest in December and we moved again shortly after.

She was still using pull-ups. I had basically given up at this point and ,with most of my attention focused on the baby, I didn’t really feel like I had time to try to force her to use the bathroom. We found her potty seat and pulled it out. She saw it and started to, all on her own, use the potty when she felt like it. She started using panties more and more (sometimes she’d wear nothing at all). She started running to the bathroom without the insistence of me or anyone else. I’d leave it alone and pretty soon I would hear the toilet flush and she would come strolling out like nothing had happened. Every once in a while I would come across a wet spot on the floor or she would go somewhere not so pleasant (Easter basket…ew!) but even that started to dissipate. She would still wear a pull-up when we would leave, but she hasn’t needed one for several weeks now. I make her wear one to bed still, which she hates, but I’d prefer not to have to wash her bedding every day because she still doesn’t quite have that nighttime bladder control yet.

She was doing really well, but regressed for about a week, not really sure what happened there. She refused to use the potty at all and would hide to go in her pants. That’s pretty much over now though.

We still have a few things to work on, like not using an entire roll of toilet paper, and not playing in the toilet, gross, but I am happy with how far she has come. I am truly surprised that, in this instance, it took me giving up and waiting for her to figure it out on her own. I guess that’s just what it takes sometimes.

Now that you’ve read this story, I would love to hear yours. Comment to tell me about your potty training struggles and successes.

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