Potty Training. Whether you have yet to do it, already done it, or are in the trenches of it like me I believe it is more than fair to say that it is not the same experience for everyone. When you read the books and get the advice it all seems pretty straightforward and like it should follow a rather specific and exact path. I’m here to tell you this is absolutely not the case. Every child is different and every parent is different therefore resulting in different potty training tales.
“Wait until your child is ready” is what I have heard the most and agree there is obviously a lot of truth behind this statement. If your child isn’t ready you are going to quickly be met with a brick wall of frustration and a lot wet clothes. I am working with our 3 year old right now and we are on day 2. Yesterday by 3 p.m. we were both mentally drained and I was lost at how to continue the rest of our day in order not to overwhelm her but keep making progress. She was so proud of herself the times she successfully used the toilet but I could tell she was at her limit for processing it all. Day 2 we are powering through but I can again see her stubbornness poking through and feeling my own coming to the surface as well. This is hard stuff you guys! Anyone who tells you differently is lying or has a unicorn child that potty trained far too easily and should just keep it to themselves. (Mostly joking…)
I’m going to back track a little bit on preparing for what we are woking on right now… First, I found a book that came with good reviews and was an easy and straightforward read. I recommend “Potty Training in 3 Days” by Brandi Brucks. You can literally have this read cover to cover in an hour or two. The information and advice offered is easily understandable and relatable. However, I will say (and this is the only potty training book I have read) is that this is, to me, a rather intense method as it is meant to have your child potty trained in 3 days. For us, this is really not doable, and whether thats an excuse I’m telling myself or not I am not willing to sacrifice my sanity or my child’s experience with this to do exactly as this book says. So, I am using it as a base and making alterations where we need to. This is a complete work in progress that I am hopeful with be fruitful within the next few weeks. There truly is no perfect way to do this. You have to do it in such a way that works for your household and doesn’t cause undue stress for everyone. Stress doesn’t equal success in this case!
So, if you are familiar with me you might think well this is not her first rodeo what about her older child. What happened there? Was it just as difficult or much easier? It was neither, because *gasp* my 5 year old is not potty trained. When I initially thought of doing a potty training post it stemmed from the difficulties we have had with our 5 year old and all that surrounds why she isn’t potty trained. However, I have a lot of guilt and quite frankly shame as a parent, and hesitate even still to share, but maybe this information out there will make a difference to someone.
We have a very smart, kind, and compassionate 5 year old little girl. You really would never guess she deal with what she does, and who really cares because it doesn’t define her as an individual anyways. When she was 2 some constipation issues started popping up and as any parent would do we began to ask questions and seek out help. At first, and for the most part, it was pretty straight forward what was going on and what needed to be done. The poop needed to come out and we were told it would eventually resolve itself as she grew and developed. Unfortunately for her it did not. The issue seemed to escalate rather quickly and going number two truly became a source of stress, trauma, and anxiety. By the time she was 3 we heard conflicting opinions from multiple doctors… “she will be potty trained when she is ready.” “You have to make her do it, don’t give her a choice.” and a little bit of everything in between. We have been referred to a GI, made trips to the Emergency Room, sought out the help of multiple doctors, been referred to OT services, and are now about to begin therapy services. The last 2(ish) years have been a whirlwind of wondering what we have failed to do as parents and what else we can be doing to help. With any issues that pop up in life its never anything you expect to have to deal with and can be quite intimidating waters to navigate. I can’t imagine being 4 to 5 years old and trying to process some really big fears and emotions regarding something everyone expects you to be doing by now. It is a super difficult thing to explain (not that we owe anyone an explanation) why she isn’t potty trained. I’ve certainly heard the “just get it done” tone in peoples voices but I’ve also received compassion that its ok. It’s really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this issue but really the only thing we can do is believe its coming and supporting her the best way we know how. So, as of right now we are latching onto any signs on progress for her and hoping the next steps we are taking can help us to help her overcome these struggles of anxiety surrounding using the bathroom and the past traumas she has experienced regarding it.
Really there is so much more that can be said about potty training but I just felt the need to put this out there that it is not easy for everyone and there is not a one size fits all solution to do so. Maybe when I have successfully completed potty training our 3 year old I will be able to follow up with some actual tips and tricks regarding potty training! Until then and always….. stay sane fellow parents!