Potty training—or “potty learning,” as I have heard it called—is in full swing at our house. N has graduated from diapers, but to what, I am not quite sure. We are in this strange in-between phase, using a mixture of Pull-Ups and underwear and still having accidents. Unexpectedly, our whole routine seems a bit off. And I’ve had to reluctantly accept that—though I have been using the potty myself for close to 30 years—I still have some things to learn through this process too.
For close to three years, I have assumed that it would be easy for N to learn to use the potty. I am not sure what I based this on—probably statements from other parents like “Oh yes, girls have a much easier time learning to use the potty,” or nonchalant declarations like “Oh yes, my 2-year-old daughter Susie is fully potty trained—it really wasn’t that hard,” etc, etc. Oh yes??
I heard experts say you could fully potty train a child in one weekend by letting them run around bare-bottomed and have accidents. Been bare, done that, still having accidents.
I am beginning to accept that this is harder than I thought it would be. I read all the online advice months ago—before she was even 2—and really, truly thought potty training would go smoothly. I thought we’d have a few accidents, N wouldn’t like how it felt and she would start going to the potty. Simple as that. Ha!
We’ve been trying all summer and it’s slow going. Currently she has about a 50% success rate. My husband and I have always tried to be extremely patient and encouraging—e.g., effusively cheering when she uses the potty, giving clear instructions about what to do when she feels the urge to go, checking in with her often about whether she needs to go, etc. And we have always been very tolerant when accidents happen.
But today I lost my cool a little. N was sitting in a nice fabric chair with only her underwear on and did a big pee. I got stern with her because (a) I was frustrated about the chair, (b) I had been checking in with her and she told me she didn’t need to go, (c) she knows what to do—she’s been going to the potty about half the time over the past couple of months, and (d) I felt that she wasn’t even trying.
So I got upset. I tried to explain that I was upset because she didn’t even try to go to the potty—not because of the accident. But I quickly realized how confusing that must sound to a 2 ½ year old, and felt bad for getting upset.
I am still hoping it will all click into place and one day we will be fully potty trained, but for the moment N and mama are both “potty learning…”