Although Eve’s potty training has been a large part of our lives for awhile now, I haven’t posted much on this blog about it. I realize she will likely be quite mortified by most of these posts when she’s about 12, and we all deserve to keep our potty habits private.
This week, however, has been eye-opening to me as we continue what seems to be a months-long process of ditching the diapers. I was certain Eve would potty train early. She showed all the signs of readiness before her second birthday. Here we are though, approaching the 2 1/2 mark, still not trained. It’s frustrating for me. She doesn’t seem to care.
I now recognize my idea of how training would go was completely flawed. I somehow thought that one day a lightbulb would simply go on in her head and she’s be trained. “Oh, pee goes in the potty,” she’d say, enlightened after hearing me say it for the 38th time. Or maybe the 380th. Or the 3,800th.
She does know this. She just doesn’t do it.
I’d read in a book that parents need to realize potty training is not their accomplishment; it is their child’s. This is true, but I’d skewed that in my head to mean I shouldn’t actively push her toward it. That isn’t going to work. It may be her touchdown, but I’ve got to move the ball down the field.
Before we started training, I swore I was not going to bribe her with food. I’d heard of moms giving their kids M&Ms as a reward for going potty; I didn’t want to create that association in Eve. I’ve struggled with the concept that food is for nourishment, not for comfort or compensation. I didn’t want the same for her. But there I was this weekend, promising her stickers and suckers and cookies and crackers if she would just Sit. On. The. Potty. How far I’d strayed from the parental ideal. Other mothers offered me comfort: Sometimes you just have to do what works. And a few of her Gerber puff snacks did get her to sit down on the potty chair.
I’ve realized that if Eve is going to be trained, there are going to be accidents. It’s going to be messy. We just have to keep at it, and I may need to incentivize her. The approach I’m taking now is to put her in underwear every day, asking her often if she has to go, offering plenty of praise and an occasional piece of candy. Hopefully this will create a habit.
Consistency is the key, I keep telling myself.
Pee goes in the potty, I keep telling Eve. For the 3,801st time.
Parents who’ve been there, what can you tell me?