Potty training has been something that I have been dreading pretty much since Annabelle was 18 months old. At that point, I knew we had officially entered the potty training window for toddlers, which seems to be about 18 months to three years old. Beyond three, I feel like you get major side eye from people when they see a Huggies diaper sticking out of the top of your toddler’s pants. If I text or post a pic of Annabelle doing something cute and her diaper is showing, I’m dreading the question; “When are you going to potty train her?” Or, people will ask me how old she is because she’s tall and looks 3 ½. They need to know whether it’s time to start judging me and my diaper wearing child.
I’ve read all about potty training methods, and by all accounts the 3-day method seems to be the one that most people swear by. You just pick a weekend to hibernate in your house, say goodbye to diapers and go straight for the tiny undies. But beware, you will have to deal with your share of messes when little miss/mister lets it flow while watching Sponge Bob on the couch. The thought of cleaning up puddles of pee or a pile of poo made me want to avoid potty training like the plague. The strangest thing I’ve heard is letting your child go diaperless and pantless for 3 days so they have nothing to catch the mess, making them learn quickly to get their butt to the toilet. But the poor kid is running around wang out, pissing and shitting like a caveman until they “get it”. No thank you!
I’ve tried going straight to the princess panties route, thinking I could just explain to Annabelle that she needed to tell me when she had to go pee. She said OK and I prayed she understood. Within 20 minutes of the first time she left a small pond of pee on the kitchen floor, and the other time she was sitting on my father-in-law’s lap!!!! Oops, sorry Papa!
And then one day a few weeks ago, she sat on the potty after a prompt from daddy and she PEED!!!! I texted my dad and brother, called my mom, shouted from the roof tops – Annabelle pee peed in the potty, WAHOO!! It was hit or miss for a few days after that, but with each passing day we become more and more vigilant and it became a game – we needed to beat our success rate from the day before. We’ve had at least one day of 100% potty breaks and no dirty diapers, but we’re consistently running on about a 99% success rate. Sometimes if she’s playing or at pre-school she forgets to stop what she’s doing and go, and she has an accident. She’s wearing a Pull Up so I’m not worried about messes for now. I figure if by the end of this week she’s going 100% of the time in the potty then I will transition her to her princess panties.
Toddlers have to be ready, you can’t force it. When it comes down to brass tacks, they have to know when to control that sphincter muscle so they can choose to pee on the potty vs. their pants. If they can’t do that yet, you’re wasting your time. I’ve heard the longer you wait to potty train the easier it is, so for a while we were half-heartedly attempting to potty train for “fun”, but figured it was probably too soon. And we just ended up frustrated with Annabelle’s lack of interest. We had both the floor potty seat and the potty seat that you put on your real toilet to fit a tiny butt. Annabelle is all about sitting on the adult potty. We actually purchased a new toilet seat that has a toddler seat built in to the toilet lid so she can pull it down when she needs to use the bathroom. It’s much more comfortable for her and more aesthetically attractive then the bulky potty seat because you can’t see it when the toilet lid is down!
I have to say; it’s so refreshing to not remember the last time I had to lift her 36 pound butt onto the changing table to change her diaper. Some people might be thinking the 3 day method is better because WAM, your toddler is supposedly potty trained in 3 days and out of Pull Ups. But this gradual method is working really well for us and it’s non-stressful. I’m not cleaning messes and Annabelle isn’t feeling gross from sitting in pee pee puddles and soaked pants (or worse).
T.M.I. starts HERE
The next obstacle is getting her to wipe when she’s done. I’ve been asking around about how long it takes for toddlers to learn to wipe their own butts and people are saying they still helped with this step well into age 3 or 4. If I’m still wiping Annabelle’s ass in a year I’ll be pissed. The other obstacle is getting her to pull her pants up after she goes. No joke, we had our landscaper over yesterday to discuss landscaping plans and Annabelle was having a peeing and pooping happy hour — all you can pee and poop for an hour kinda thing. Not one, not two, but THREE times she ran out of the bathroom into the kitchen with her pants and Pull Up around her ankles hopping around demanding a jelly bean. Um, excuse me landscaper while I wipe her butt and clean the stray poop off the floor that didn’t quite make the toilet. Not exaggerating.
Wearing a diaper is one of the last signs that Annabelle is permanently putting her baby days behind her, and as thrilled as I am to only have baby in diapers going forward, I’m sad that Annabelle is growing up so fast. I mean, the first week she was happy to have me standing 12 inches from her when she pee peed in the potty and beamed with pride when she saw the huge grin on my face. In week two she’s all; “Shut the door mommy, SHUT THE DOOR. I need privacy!”
WHAT!! I haven’t gone to the bathroom by myself since she started walking a year and a half ago and yet SHE needs privacy already? This is so unfair.