The focus of May was on my parenting, and one of my goals was to teach each of my daughters a new skill. The biggest of this focus was going to be on Potty training my two year old. I have been dreading this, and therefor procrastinating. I think in many ways I still am traumatized from attempting to potty-train my older daughter, that I have found any excuse to avoid this.
The first time around, I read a bunch of books on potty-training, The Three Day Method, positive reinforcement, naked days, and really nothing worked. Despite what some of the books say, my child was not ready at the recommended age. Because she wasn’t developmentally ready to potty train the entire first few attempts were total nightmares. I had this vision (delusion) that because I researched all the methods that she would just magically stop using her diaper and then maybe we could frolic in a field of wildflowers without having any accidents. That’s not what happened. It was a long process to potty train my oldest. And there were many tears, from me. At one point when I was wildly discouraged, my older sister gave me one of the best pieces of parenting advice I have ever received. She told me “Your child’s ability, or lack there of, to use the potty, is not a reflection of your parenting ability.”
It sounds so simple, but it really struck me. My frustrations weren’t really that my little girl was peeing everywhere; don’t get me wrong, that was annoying and upsetting, but I was taking it personally. I was taking her inability to control her bodily functions, as a personal assault of my parenting ability. As I write that it all sounds silly to me. And if the roles were reversed, I would have said something similar to my sister, though probably not as profound.
This time around, I am taking a much different approach. Yes, my little one has been naked for what seems like the entire month of May. She has actually done really well, too. This time around, I’m trying to role with the punches, and take it all day by day. We celebrate and dance and she get’s candy when she goes on the potty, but when an accident does happen, I take a moment to remember that this is a process, and not a defining moment. I also learned this time around that the candy reward needs to be something I don’t enjoy, but she does. Last time, with my older daughter, she got an M&M each time she went on the potty; I ate an entire 2lb bag of M&Ms, my jeans didn’t fit, and she wasn’t potty-trained.
Yes, she has had accidents; Yes, she shit on the floor. Fortunately, my husband was home and he was the one to find that shituation in progress. We definitely had a cocktail after that debacle. But she’s getting it slowly but surely. And sure, if you were to have asked me yesterday how potty training was going, I would have to have said “She shit on the couch;” but again, because this has been an entire family experience, her sister warned me/screamed at me that she was pooping on the couch, and I was able to run her, butt in the air, turd poking out, to the bathroom and we made it to the toilet just in time. Really, it’s the little victories in this glamorous life of mine, and catching a poop before it hit my couch counts as a victory. Last time around, this probably would have put me over the edge, and in tears. This round, I’m just laughing about it because in the scheme of things that’s really all you can do. So this round I laugh, and remember that eventually she will be potty trained, and eventually I’ll get to tell her the really embarrassing story of when she decided the couch was the best place to poop.