Friday, January 3, 2014

When You Gotta Go...

Why is it that, when your toddler reaches a certain age, everyone feels the need to inquire about if you’re toilet training said toddler yet? I mean, seriously! Can’t we all just leave each other alone & let the parent(s) parent their child(ren)?

Okay, rant over…sorry about that…but I’ve been tired of being questioned about Elena’s toilet habits for the last 10+ months…

From the time Elena was born, my Mom would brag that, before I was born, she’d toilet trained my cousin before she was two & that she had me trained by when I was two…I said, “Great! Then you can train Elena!!” More seriously, when my Mom would question about when I planned to train Elena, I told her I was on board for whatever she had in mind, just lead the way. I’m not sure if it’s just that she was afraid to put her money where her mouth was or whether she felt it was my responsibility, but she didn’t make any move towards any training…well, aside from encouraging Elena to try from time to time but nothing consistent. I’m okay with that…it really is my responsibility. I was just tired of hearing the questioning.

I thought about training Elena at the beginning of the summer, but I realized that I didn’t want to spend our summer searching for toilets everywhere we went. I thought about training her Thanksgiving weekend in October when I’d be home for the long weekend…I can’t remember why I didn’t end up doing it then…Then I didn’t want to do it before we went away on our vacation…to be honest, all that time, I just wasn’t ready.

That’s right, I wasn’t ready! I didn’t want to be searching for toilets, I didn’t want to give up the convenience of diapers…but more than anything, I didn’t want my baby to take another step towards independence, to not need  me for yet another thing.

By the time we got back from vacation, though, I knew she was ready. Elena would often tell me when she’d gone…she would go for long stretches of dryness…then, while shelling out yet another $50 for a box of diapers, I’d had enough! I had better things to spend $50 on! I said to Elena, “This is it, okay? This is the last box I am buying! When I’m home over Christmas, you’re going to start peeing on the toilet! No more diapers!” She looked me straight in the eye & replied, “Okay, Momma!” So that was it…we talked about it a lot in the 2-3 weeks leading up to our “go dry” date.

We officially started Monday, December 23rd…it was rough at 1st…I’d done a lot of reading up on training, because that’s what I do…I tried leaving her bare bum, didn’t make any difference…we’re now using the quilted underpants & we like them.

The 1st few days we did have success but many accidents too. She picked right up on pooping in the toilet. We’ve had just one Number 2 accident which resulted in one of her Dora dolls going into the garbage. I was NOT about to wash poop out of poor Dora’s hair!!

The peeing accidents became more frequent & I was getting frustrated!! My friend said I just needed to set an alarm! So I did & I asked Elena every twenty minutes if she had to go & she always said no & then she’d pee on the floor!! I called my friend back & said her method wasn’t working at all!! First she laughed at me…then she clarified that the alarm was for ME! To remind ME to take Elena to the toilet!!

I also tried a reward system. We started with a Dora Map & Sticker set where she would get a sticker to place on the map every time she had a success…this worked at first but she lost interest. I tried M&Ms as a reward but they only work some of the time…seems Elena isn’t really motivated by rewards. She does love my crazy happy dances & she loves hearing me brag to everyone about her successes. What seems to make the most impact on her is me telling her how proud I am of her…which makes my heart burst with love for her little personality!!

I was very intimidated about going out…I took a waterproof bed mats, folded it & put it on the car seat…I didn’t want the seat ruined!! I also decided that I didn’t care what anyone thought & I would bring our toilet seat with us. The trainer seat, I mean, that fits on top of the toilet. This was genius! Elena was more than willing to sit on any toilet since she could sit on it safely.

Slowly we had more & more success!!  We’ve come a long way & are now having more successes than accidents. She tells me when she needs to go…most of the time, anyway. Since her speech is delayed (a whole other post, coming soon) we are also using the signs for poop, pee & toilet & that helps a lot with her letting me know she needs to go…& I need to remember to take her to the toilet & get her to try if she hasn’t gone in a while.

Over all, it’s been a pretty good experience…I can’t really articulate why, but it feels like this was a bonding experience for Elena & I…it feels like we’re closer. If I can offer one piece of advice, it’s similar to the advice I offer on all things parenting…don’t let anyone pressure you to train your kid before you are sure your kid (& you!) are ready & do it your way, whatever way works for you & your kid.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta pee!!


  1. I am sooooo dreading potty training. One thing I've learned is to not try to force it too I'm holding out as long as I can! Sounds like you're almost there, though - good job!

  2. Sounds like it is going really well! I've started to try and find ideas for what our plan will be on potty training...but I think it will be quite a while before he is ready. Thanks for sharing what has worked for you!

  3. Sounds like you are both making great progress. Congratulations!

  4. SR is daytime trained, but our biggest issue now is when I suggest she makes a pee when she is playing. TANTRUM CITY. When we are at playdates, we usually are able to convince both kids to go together to pee and make it a game. But it seems like you are doing all the right things. Way to go! Another parenting hurdle jumped over successfully :)

  5. I agree with your advice at the end. My older son was 3 1/2 before he was day-trained. 3 1/2! Within a few months he was able to read and do multiplication. Kids are who they are--mysteries of development. They need understanding not labeling or guilt. Anyway--YAY! Elena!

  6. Yay for the toilet training :-)

    Going out with her special toilet seat reminds me how I used to go to the playground with her potty [as a side note I will add that at that time she would always do number 2 once a day in the morning]

  7. Given my work schedule and the fac that my mother will watch my child during the day for the first year or more (and will be picking my child up from daycare after that)- I am afraid someone else is going to be toliet training my child.... and as you describe it, it sounds like a good bonding experience and I'm a bit envious thinking I won't get the chance to do this with my child. Thanks for sharing! I'm going to have to put some thought into how I can be a bigger part of this.


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