Adventures in Potty Training

Well, not one month too soon, we officially have a house of ‘big kids’! The youngest, despite ENDLESS efforts to help him choose to use the toilet, decided to be a ‘halfway there kid’ (dry all day but refused to poop in the toilet).  No physical problems, fear, or constipation issues… he just didn’t want to. It was a seemingly endless struggle and, I’m embarrassed to admit, war at times.

I was ready to trade in my title as ‘mom’ one fateful day (after cleaning poop out of yet another pair of underwear) until I stumbled across this post on the Alpha Mom website. In an amazingly candid and hilarious manner, the writer Amalah shares about her own reluctant pooper.  Let me just say, I don’t know that I would have made it through the process with my sanity had I not found that post (or this one, same author). My sisters can attest to my MANY meltdowns over the eight (yes, EIGHT) months of potty training. It was my worst parenting struggle thus far, which I understand is probably a blessing however, in the midst of the struggle I felt helpless and completely out of control. The worst part was not knowing what to do. I couldn’t figure out what would make him do it. Then, I FINALLY realized,

I couldn’t MAKE him do it. It was something HE had to do on his own.

So every time I would start crying about poopy underwear I would go to those posts and read them, and re-read them, and laugh, and cry and eventually settle myself down and prepare for the next time (of which there were many… it was EIGHT months, remember). Much of what she said were things my family was telling me the whole time.

‘He’ll eventually do it.’
‘Don’t sweat it, it’s just poop!’
‘He’s just being strong willed.’

But something about hearing it from another mom who had been THROUGH it before made the words far more meaningful. It doesn’t hurt that she’s absolutely hysterical!

So what finally worked for my kido? A sticker chart, a Peso, and a Shellington (figurines for the Octonauts playset he had received for Christmas). Yep. I was a Google-searched potty chart and a pack of $.99 Cars stickers (with two small toy rewards) away from a fully trained child the whole time.

Maddening? You betcha!

Now, was he truly ready 8 months ago (at 2 1/2)? While he displayed ALL of the key signs of being ‘ready’ that I discussed in my previous post about potty training, probably not. I’m certain the key to his eventual success was his developed maturity level at 3. But when I hung that chart in the bathroom, put those toys on that shelf, and told him he could have a toy when he filled the chart, he started using the toilet 100% of the time that day and hasn’t looked back since.

Not. One. Accident. In. Two. Months.

I could really dance and sing everywhere I go.  We now go to church, or my mom’s, or the mall, or ANYWHERE else with just three kids.  No bag, no diapers, NOTHING! It is absolute bliss! It’s the little things you know!

I’m not writing to gloat or rub salt in an open wound.  I promise.  I just want anyone who finds this, while in an endless search for a fix, to know that you’re not alone. I swore my kid was the worst case of refusing to poop in the toilet, ever.  Not even close.  If you’re currently in the struggle, I’d be willing to bet your child isn’t either.

They really will get it.  They are just trying to control something (though it is a weird thing to choose to control). THIS TO SHALL PASS!

I promise.  I thought for sure it never would, but it did.

Chin up momma! Before we know it they’ll be graduating and we’ll have almost forgotten what they put us through with the poop… and the toilet… and their refusal to use it properly.  Almost. :)

~Danielle

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