I’ve never really dreaded the idea of potty training my daughter. Until that is…the generation before me started asking questions about when I was going to START.
You see, apparently (emphasis on apparently) I was potty trained at 15 months old. That’s right. 15 MONTHS OLD. I can only imagine the many expressions upon reading this little tid bit, so let me be the first to say what’s on your mind: What the? Does that even make sense? Is it even possible?
No, not really. Just after Pituchi turned one, I was already being asked when I was going to start teaching her how to use the toilet. Me being the “go getter” thought oh, this will be easy. I mean I did it at 15 months, so why wouldn’t my daughter?
Wrong. I began researching the right time to start potty training and immediately noticed the average age was typically AFTER two years old. I consulted with my pediatrician and when I told him what my mother and grandmother told me, he simply shook his head and said, “Neurologically, it’s not possible.” Neurologically, he said…
While I like to think I was some sort of baby genius at the time, I observed my daughter around the same age I was (when I learned this important step in my life) and wondered…how? You see, I think my daughter is incredibly smart and pretty advanced for her age but the logistics didn’t seem right to me.
Her 18th month birthday (yes, I know, not a real birthday but you get what I mean) rolled around, and AGAIN I was asked when I would start potty training her. At the time, my daughter began to show some of the signs. One of them was curiosity…especially when mommy was using the bathroom.
I became excited and told my husband, we must go and get the coolest potty around! The next day we brought one home and shared our (exaggerated) excitement with our daughter. The moment we set the potty down, we explained to her what it was and how it works. She observed it for quite some time, inspecting it at every angle and even clapped when the flush latch yelled, “Hip, hip, hooray!” It seemed to be her favorite part of this contraption.
Sigh…but her curiosity didn’t last. In fact, the first week we had the potty, she wore her training pants, and very rarely sat down on her potty. Sure, she would read while using the potty (her bookshelf was slowly moving into the bathroom), even had her stuffed animals give it a try. But deep down I knew the potty wasn’t going to work…especially when I caught her a few times taking it apart completely….and I do mean, COMPLETELY.
I can’t tell you how many times I walked into the bathroom or living room and saw her potty scattered into pieces. Perhaps she will be an engineer one day?
With that in mind, and realizing, the potty wasn’t interesting her, I went to my next option. A potty SEAT.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. How is that even different from an actual potty? Weeeellll…..it’s a toddler seat meant for an actual toilet. In other words, it helps them from falling INSIDE the toilet. It’s not a nice feeling…I would know. I have succumbed to falling inside in the middle of the night when my father, husband, or brother, would leave the toilet seat up. I can picture many women nodding their head at this.
We even got her very own stool to use. But that didn’t help, because she still couldn’t reach the toilet on her own. I should have taken that as a sign. My daughter went maybe once or twice in the toilet and each time, I would clap and congratulate her and maybe throw in a few M&M’s as a reward. I was hopeful and even reported back to my family to let them know the progression.
But her progression didn’t move forward. She had A LOT of accidents around the apartment and despite having a spot carpet cleaner, our small apartment began to look like a mine field of wet circles. I didn’t know where I could walk anymore.
I wanted to pull my hair out SO many times. I was always patient with her, and instead, vented to my husband the moment he came home. At the time, we were in the middle of moving and my sister’s wedding was fast approaching as well as our family vacation. My mind was all over the place, and I couldn’t shake this, “supposed to happen now” feeling where my daughter would figure out how to use the toilet.
One night after putting her to bed, I crawled into our own bed and told my husband I felt like a failure. Immediately he threw the covers back and flat out asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?” That question alone, shook me to the core. As we spoke, I came to the realization that my daughter didn’t have to be like me. She didn’t need to learn by a certain age. She needed to be herself. And because I had this expectation in my head, I had also put an unreasonable amount of pressure on her and on myself.
Enough was enough.
I immediately took the potty, potty seat, M&M’s (well my husband ate those), her diaper pull-ups, character underwear and placed them in a closet where neither of us could see it for a long time. Drastic, perhaps? It had to be done.
I told my family my decision and while some did not dare argue with me (I was a mom on a quest here), I did receive the failed reasoning attempt of diapers costing too much. But alas, that is why someone invented warehouse clubs.
I don’t care that my daughter wasn’t potty trained at 15 months, 18 months or even at exactly two years old. Our lives were completely chaotic for a couple of months and in order to do this right, I not only needed to be ready for her, but she needed to be ready too.
We are trying our second attempt at potty training this week and I sense she’s more prepared this time around. And if I’m wrong, then that’s ok too. While I can nudge her, I can’t push her into something she doesn’t want for herself…in this case, yet. I have to be patient. I may have my own expectations, but Pituchi will grow to have her own.
And as a mom, I just want to try and respect that…even if she’s only two.