Potty Training Aint for Wimps!
by Rozalynn Goodwin
Before my co-workers and I left the office for the 4th of July extended weekend one year, we shared our plans with each other. A few planned to travel, some were barbecueing at home.
I, however, was potty training my two-year old. We were determined to declare our independence from diapers and the cost that comes along with them. I really thought that if I dedicated a few days to consistently training her, we could be liberated by the following Monday! No one had the guts to tell me differently at work. They probably thought, “this poor first-time mom doesn’t have a clue.”
In January of the next year we were still in those Cadillac diapers they call pull-ups. I concluded that two-year-olds have slightly delayed potty timers. When they announce, “Mommy, pee-pee potty!” and we twist an ankle rushing them to the nearest restroom, it’s usually still five seconds too late.
I started potty training only because everyone was telling me I should. They said my daughter was showing all the signs of potty readiness (quietly hiding in corners or behind furniture “to go” in her diaper, communicating well with a number of words, etc.) They assured me that “girls are so much more easier to train than boys” and “she is so smart–she’ll get it in no time.”
Then there were the mothers from the Potty Training Hall of Fame.
“My child was trained at nine months.”
“By the time my child was eight months old, he just couldn’t stand to be wet and would take off his own diaper to tell me he had to go.”
“My daughter never wore a diaper. Right after the doctor cut the umbilical cord, she asked to be excused to go to the ladies' room."
Potty training is demanding on both the child and parent. Comparing your child’s development to others and setting unrealistic goals only makes it worse and can stress you and your child out.
I knew I needed to chill after one of the times my daughter recently went potty (without the potty). While changing her pull-up, I firmly explained that big girls pee-pee on the potty and not in pull-ups. She looked up at me with the most pitiful pout and said, “I sowwy Mommy. I wub boo.” (Interpretation: “I’m sorry, Mommy. I love you.”) My heart melted, we embraced and I said, “I wub boo too.”
That day, I freed myself from the pressures of potty training. She will get it when she is ready and I don’t care when she’s fully trained (as long as it’s by the age of three). No pressure though ...
Rozalynn Goodwin is founder of The Motherhood Priority, a non-profit advocacy organization working to strengthen mother-friendly policies in the workplace. She is also a Family Ties Parents Panel Columnist for The State Newspaper. She resides in Columbia, SC with her husband Mike and two year-old daughter Gabrielle. For more information about The Motherhood Priority, visit www.themotherhoodpriority.com.