…about potty training.
My two girls are a year and a half apart. While you might think I’m a seasoned pro with toddlers by now since I’ve had a double dose the last year, I’m still learning new things every day. Trial and error, my dears. Trial. And. Error.
As with most things of the first child, Harlo has been my little tester, the poor doll. With your first baby when people say “don’t hold that baby too much! You’ll spoil her!” or “Never let her sleep in your bed, you’ll never get her out!” or “Let her cry herself to sleep, or she’ll never learn to soothe herself”, you semi-gladly accept your first go-round because (at least for me) you doubt yourself, and you take the advice of others who have walked this path before you.
By the second time around, you start knowing what works for you and what a blessed day that is, my friends. What freedom I felt in finally being able to say, “yeah, we don’t do that. That doesn’t work for us.” or “this is actually what we do because it works the best for us.” Or even better, not even saying anything at all because you’re just going to stick with what you know is best for your family. No harm done.
Yes, I have a guilt riddled soul with the thoughts of my first year of parenthood, but really, had I not had those experiences I would have never been where I am today. And God knew what he was doing. He sent me Harlo, my strong little spirit, first. She could handle it, He knew. She wouldn’t hold it against me. (I hope)
Luckily, by the time I had potty trained Harlo, I had already stumbled upon to the thought, what works for us? I had waited until she was ready, not the other way around. I let her take control, I knew what she responded well to and what she didn’t and after a few
years weeks, she had it down. It wasn’t easy, for sure, but we got through it.
Now, Stella is a completely different breed. The tricks that worked with Harlo, didn’t work with Stella. She came complete with her own set of rules and regulations, she responded differently, she had different needs and different wants. She was exactly the little spirit I needed to break me in. To make me realize that a set of rules was going to get me pretty much no where in the land of parenting. God bless her!
So when Stella started potty training way earlier than I was ready or thought she was ready, I had no choice but to throw in the reins and go with it. She was determined and she did it. Once the mission was accomplished on my less-than-two-year-old and mama sighed relief, we were just getting ready to move.
I’m not sure if it was the move of just simply that she changed her mind, because either would be classic Stella, but for some reason, after about 3 months of diaper-less bliss, the babe started having accidents left and right. After careful thought and consideration, and after many pull-my-hair-out type moments, I realized that it had nothing to do with the lack of training. She knew how to use the potty, she just simply didn’t want to anymore. And until she decided she wanted to (again), she wasn’t budging. Yep, that’s my Stella. (and I have no idea where she gets it.)
So despite the many blog pages, parental advice, thoughts of my playgroups and friends advising me to NEVER GO BACK TO DIAPERS. (I’m actually pretty sure that if you google “potty training” the first thing that comes up is, NEVER GO BACK TO DIAPERS.)
You know what I did?
I put the child back in diapers. Because that’s what was best for us. As soon as I made the decision, I felt immediate relief. I wasn’t going to be the crazy frustrated mom, and Stella had all the freedom in the world to work her stuff out. At times I questioned it, but I put my mind to rest by simply saying, “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it”. As with my first, the daily mantra of they say no developed child goes to kindergarten in diapers gave peace to my soul and got me through the phase.
And guess what?
The sky didn’t fall, the child didn’t change history forever, the world did not end.
After about 8 weeks, Stella simply said one day, “I want to wear my panties.” and I simply said back, “You can if you want to pee in the potty,” she said “okay.” And she hasn’t looked back. (yet… knock on wood)
I’m not saying that putting every child back in diapers is the best idea. I didn’t have to with Harlo and I probably wouldn’t have anyway. But even when all the odds are against you as a parent, sometimes you have to follow your instincts and just do what works best for you.
3 weeks of successful potty using: round 2. We all couldn’t be happier.
Have you ever broken a cardinal rule of parenting for the better? Tell me I’m not the only one!
These are words I needed to hear. Oh, the woes of potty training… I’m at a complete loss at what to do with Paisley. She’ll be perfect for 3 months and then go through a month of accidents and not even trying and then just as I’m about to put her in diapers-she’s totally fine again. We’re going through a rough month right now and I really thought she would be done and trained by now (its been over a year!) It makes me wonder what’s in store for me with the next one!
And I break rules all the time…what would be the fun in parenting if we didn’t!?
Oh man, April! I know the back and forth could be tough. With Harlo, I always just let her choose. Panties or diaper? And I’ve taken the semi-same approach with Stella. When they have total control, I’ve found it’s not as much fun or as much as a game. They don’t get a reaction for going in their diaper and they might get a “oh good job” for going in the potty. Keeping the reaction at a minimum (both positive and negative) made all the difference with Harlo. It’s not about “punishing” it’s just about letting them go at their own pace. Pretty soon the option turned to panties more than diaper and then all the sudden the diapers were gone.
I know when you’re in the thick of it, it seems never ending! Take a deep breath and just know it will end at some point . I hope sooner rather than later for your sake. 😉
I love that she’s pulling lady bug dress down in this best picture in history.
Love this post! You are such a wonderful Mama. Your honesty is so refreshing!