Friday, February 15, 2013

An Unsung Victory Vs. Pull-Up Purgatory

parenting reflections

Something amazing happened in our home last week. It was at least a glimmer of hope for a Mom who considers herself quite hopeless on the subject of potty training.

I think I should just accept that my children like to make this big transition later than their peers. Most of our friends had their children potty trained by 2. My kids both drug it out, kicking and screaming with tears and tantrums, until over 3-years old. To be honest, it happened right before they each turned 4.

Now that I am getting closer to my due date with baby #3, I can't imagine doing two in diapers, again. My older children are 22 months apart and diapering two at the same time is exhausting. Not to mention that once they hit 3-years old I don't want to wipe that anymore. It is a big mess that only needs to be shared with a porcelain throne.

I have heard it all.

Everyone I knew, and even some people I barely know had potty training advice for me. I know they meant well, but I was a hopeless cause. Here are some of my favorites:

One that didn't sound half bad to me was intense potty training sans pants. I think this one might be best left to the Summer months of backyard sprinklers and hoses, but it seems like everyone I talked to was braving it indoors.

After hearing stories about the "no-pants" training sessions and the multiple carpet shampoos necessary in a day, I decided it just wasn't for me. I mean, I don't even like it when the cat gets sick. I do NOT want that kinda mess on the carpet.

No thank you, I would rather stay in pull-up purgatory!

Another favorite tip was to find the "perfect" bribe (er, reward). Yeah, no amount of bribing could make either of my kiddos give up their pants-in potty. The kids seemed really excited and willing until it was time to visit the bathroom. Then they became stubborn and backed out on our previous deals.

Yes, I set timers. I set timers upon timers and found myself losing days and then weeks. In the end the kids broke me. I dreamed of what I would say to their 1st grade teachers about their training pants. I sweated it every day until it was finally over.

Something clicked for both of them. I don't know what or why, but they just started doing it. I gave them praise, we celebrated, but it happened so quickly and quietly it almost didn't seem real. It was their choice. Albeit I pushed and prodded, but they humbled me. My husband was fed up and I was resigned, but in the end it all worked out. My daughter is not without occasional accidents, but I know the days for even those are numbered.

Potty Training Adventures

This is what gets me about parenting. It never works out like an episode of Leave it to the Beaver. As a parent, I don't have all the answers. My kids teach me to be patient everyday. And life shows me that things work out in their own time. This was our unsung victory. A quiet and beautiful change of life that took me out of the perpetual frustration of diapers with a big kid. If I could write a note to myself to open 3 years from now, when my unborn baby is nearing this stage,  it would read:

Be patient and stay calm. It will all work out.

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