As parents we do a whole lot of things we do not enjoy doing. For example, cleaning toilets, doing dishes, cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night ect. But one thing that parents dread the most is potty training their little ones. Do you hear the music I hear when I read that? I think it goes DUN DUN DUN! ..Yep, It is scary.
As I have been potty training Lily all day, I have been thinking about why it is so awful and terrifying all at once. Even if we haven't done it before, when that time comes around, we absolutely dread doing it. But where does that dread come from? Do we have this fear that if we do it wrong our kid will be scarred for life? Is it that we honestly think that somehow our child will never actually get it and go to high school wetting/soiling her pants everyday? I don't know.
Do you think it is a control issue? I mean, this is my third time around and it is still so hard for me to admit to myself that I have absolutely NO control over the potty situation. I can guide it as best I can, I can try my hardest to make it a positive experience for her, but ultimately it is the child that decides whether or not they actually do what I am teaching them. As parents, I don't think we tend to freak out about teaching them to read, or even teaching them to walk, talk, etc. but we DO freak out about potty training. Maybe it is the fact that this particular lesson includes nearly constant worry, constant supervision and constant fear of pee and poop ending up all around your house/child. I mean, when you are teaching them to read, if you get frustrated, you can take a break. When potty training, that really isn't an option except for the occasional bath or nap-neither of which are completely worry free. Once you start, you are in it for good.
One thing I know for sure after doing this all day for my third child, is that EVERY single child is different! I honestly thought there were two kinds of kids. Those who get it and pick it up quickly and those who are stubborn and or don't care and take a whole lot longer. My first two did just that, in respecting order. Tyler was trained in about 4 hours, had 2 accidents and one bed wetting. that was it. Jake on the other hand, had multiple accidents, didn't want to participate and made the whole thing rather difficult; he still wets the bed occasionally. Lily has been an odd mix of the two. She is very willing to participate, but continually has accidents. She will sit on the potty if I suggest it, but won't actually go on her own accord (when she really does need to go). She insists on doing everything herself as well. I am not allowed to help her do much of anything, not even to help turn her panties right side out for her. It is so weird how different they all can be.
For those who don't know, I follow the book "Toilet training in less than a day" it was written in the 1970s and I honestly feel like it is the best method out there. It is similar to Dr. Phil's method of training for one day. You basically teach the child the skills they need to have to accomplish pottying all by themselves. When you are done with the training, they shouldn't need you to do anything for them. No wiping, no cleaning, dressing, ect. Once you start, you don't put them in diapers ever again. I don't believe in the whole "My kid is "trained", but they still need me to go into the bathroom with them to help them and then they also wear pull-ups at night." What on earth would the benefit of that be? I understand that some kids have medical/sleeping problems and that they need to wear something at night because they don't wake when they need to go, but I think that includes a very small percentage of children.
I don't claim to be an expert potty trainer. Heaven knows that I had a difficult time today. She just wasn't doing what she clearly understood she should be. She could explain to me word for word what she was supposed to do (she even explained it to her doll and showed it how, but putting it into action for herself seemed nearly impossible to her. she would constantly say "I can't do it mom." like it was a fact. It is, after all, difficult to learn a new skill. Especially when you have been doing it a certain way for 2 1/2 years.
I truly hope that tomorrow goes better than today did. I was a little more relaxed than I have been with my boys in the past. I didn't push as hard because I knew that it was better to stay positive and have more accidents than to have a negative experience. I guess I will make this a multiple day potty training and see how it goes. But I am proud of myself. I didn't cry at all this time and I kept my cool when she did have accidents. That isn't easy for me.
FYI I found this article and found it very interesting. It is about training a diaper free baby from birth. While I don't think I'll jump on board for this method with our next child, I think it has some merit. Why do we first teach our children to poop and pee their pants only to re-train them later? Very interesting.