life lessons learned from potty training

Feb 23, 2015

I think, operative word being think, that we have two completely potty trained children in this house. No one is more shocked than I! Just like everything with kids, the experience was completely different from Ace to Pierce. Like night and day. Even though the end game was the same, they went about it all differently. Tricks that worked with Ace were laughable with Pierce. Pierce caught onto somethings faster than Ace, and took his incredibly sweet time with others. 
With Ace I tried our first round of potty training waaay too early. I listened to people around me, family, friends, moms at playgroup, talking about how they potty trained their son at 18 months, up hill in eight feet of snow, and it only took four hours. I mean it was kind of ridiculous, but I was 22 and so I thought, "I have failed already, here is Ace, 20 months old and not potty trained". So we tried, and failed. He wasn't interested at all. He was frustrated, I was frustrated, so we gave up. Pierce was born, we moved to Georgia and once we got settled in we tried again. This time he caught on with the peeing pretty quick. I gave him stickers as rewards and we had a good thing going. Until that is....we made the incredibly long road trip to Alaska and the potty training was no more. So, we tried again a few months later. And then I heard some sound advice from a friend "boys are not truly potty trained until they are three". I found so much comfort in this statement, it took all the pressure off. So we went slow and steady with Ace, I followed his lead. Some days were good, some days I was up to my elbows in pee. Right around the time he turned three he started pooping on the potty. He hated the idea of those little potties on the floor, they just grossed him out (and me too). He would only go on the big potty. Which was a blessing, just flush and we are done. It was a struggle to get him to poop on the potty, he was just uncomfortable about the idea. Then one day we just set up camp in the downstairs bathroom and he literally sat on the toilet for three hours until it happened, and that was that. The kid never looked back. A few months later he went to preschool and the rest is toilet history. 

Then there is Pierce. I refused to even entertain the idea of potty training him until he turned three. I didn't even bring up underwear or pull-ups, nothing. And he was never interested. Then out of nowhere, a couple days before his third birthday he asked to sit on Ace's potty. I was kind of shocked, but let him do it. Sure enough he peed right away. I didn't think "oh my god he is going to potty train so fast", I actually thought, ya that was all luck. But we went to Target, he picked out a little potty and some underwear, and we started slow....again. This time treats did nothing. I would tell him, you get m&m's if you make it to the potty. He was like, ya, so who cares? He would just pee. If he was playing and I didn't stop to ask him every 15 seconds if he had to pee, he would just pee. He would pick a random time, like in the middle of the night to tell me he had to go potty. I tried the "keep him naked" approach, ya gross! He would pee in a corner, pee on the couch, pee on the floor of the bathroom. I was loosing my damn mind with the cleaning of pee. Weeks went by, months went by, and the potty was hit or miss. I did more loads of laundry with underwear in them than anything else. It was ridiculous. I would tell Chris "he will just be that kid on the playground that pees himself". I was okay with it. Then all of a sudden I introduced the standing up and peeing thing, he loved it! Changed man. He would do it all the time. Clearly the pulling down the pants, and sitting thing was just too much effort. He was a champ at the stand method. Still no rewards needed, just a pat on the butt and a good game is all he needed. Pooping, a different story. He was happily pooping in his pants or pull up. Wouldn't tell anyone, he would just do it and then attempt to get rid of the evidence in the bathroom. At this point I just wanted to melon ball my eyes out. I couldn't walk into that bathroom and witness another poop crime scene. It was all too much. I was pregnant, I was tired, and I was nauseous. But, we kept trying. I had signed him up for preschool with Ace but they have to be 100% potty trained before they can go. So we ate that registration fee. The time had come and gone, and no luck. Then one day I got desperate and told Pierce he could take his iPad to the potty with him and watch a movie till he poops. He was in there for-ev-er!!! After about an hour he yelled "MOM I POOPED COME SEE". Sure enough it worked. After that he would tell me he had to go and that he wanted his iPad. This has seemed to worked. It is all good unless he has to poop right before Ace needs to go to school and then the house turns into a shit show of everyone just yelling out the word poop! 

But, here we are. Now I am no expert in the matter. Well I am no expert in really anything. But we are on the other end of that parental milestone. There are a few things I learned:

-There is NO rush. Your child will be potty trained eventually. 
-Do not listen to anyone who only has one child and never tried potty training. Steer clear of these people!
-Try all different methods. Sing, dance, watch movies, read books, as gross as it sounds, eat in the bathroom if you have to. Something will stick.
-You are not a failure if it takes your kid months to potty train, instead of hours or days. Moms like to brag about that kind of stuff, and that is all good in their hood, but it may not work for you. 
-Don't be afraid to press pause and start again. No one says it is a one and done kind of deal. Try try try again. 
-Follow the lead of your child. Give guidance and praise, but you can't read their mind. 
-Drink! When you go buy those new packs of undies, stock up on some wine. (unless you're gestating of course). 
-When all else fails, tell your husband he is up. Maybe he can get through to him. 

Side note: I have only potty trained boys. Check back in about a year and I will tell you how it goes with Avalon.


12 comments:

  1. thank you so much for your honesty! Needed to read this.

    I am loving reading about your beautiful family and your take on life. You're an inspiration.

    Sorry I don't comment more.

    SSG xxx

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    1. Aww thank you!! You just made my day :)

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  2. AMEN!!! I think it's pretty hilarious actually watching some of these moms go so hardcore with their toddlers who aren't even close to TWO yet. And then in reality you watch them struggle with accidents for the entire next year or two because the child never really WAS ready. My newly turned 2 year old asked to pee in the potty the other day and literally...zero excitement or hope from me. I knew he just wanted to copy my 4 year old! I'd rather him be in diapers for another year than deal with accidents and constantly reminding him!

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    1. Everything you just said is exactly what I was going to say on this post! Haha!

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  3. You are my hero. The thought of potty training David keeps me up at night. Everyone is all like oh how is that going? And I'm all uhm no not at all. Such a gross time coming my way.

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  4. Your honesty is awesome! My sister let my nephew decide when he was ready and finally at almost 3 he was ready.

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    1. Thanks Jen!!! Three seems to be the magic number for boys.

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  5. We've been going at it with Adri for probably a year now. Maybe I'll learn by the time that we get to Juli that I need to just let it go.

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  6. Seriously I love this post, I hate that people potty train their kids so early, I mean diapers aren't that bad. I am still in no rush and I know my little one will let me know when she's ready. I just don't wish to struggle with this one, so I'm waiting.

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    1. I totally agree. I mean if someone can get it done early, more power to them. But I didn't like trying to force the boys because I thought they were ready. Waiting is best...in my opinion.

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  7. This is a great post. I've been really frustrated with all of the 'potty train in a weekend' post. My son is almost 4 1/2 and we're just starting to make headway with him. And yes, we sometimes just eat in the bathroom.

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    1. Thanks Megan! I agree the people that were able to do it in three days or something crazy, your kid is a potty genius! Or maybe mine just aren't fast learners. haha!

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