A couple of months after my first daughter turned three and out of complete desperation, I bought a book called Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. The Arrin-Foxx “scientifically tested new training method—for the average child–required less than four hours!” Holy cow! I thought I had hit pay dirt. This would be the answer to my daughter’s potty training problems.
I had already read every book and magazine article humanly possible and had asked everyone I knew for advice. I read and heard things like: use cloth diapers, don’t use pull-ups, use pull-ups, don’t give treats, give lots of treats, put kid on potty every ten minutes, get mad, be patient, don’t make a big deal about it, don’t let them leave the bathroom until they go, get them their own potty chair, get a soft seat cover for big potty, get a potty training doll, let them pick out cool underwear, use consequences, keep your kid naked all day, and hold them over the big person toilet until they pee (Seriously!?!)…the list goes on and on. I should have been the potty training expert—I had tried almost everything! Nothing worked—nothing.
I read Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. Clearly, Bella was not the “average child.” This book did nothing for us, except possibly raise my blood pressure and feelings of inadequacy, and stress out my daughter. Bella is super strong-willed and looking back, it is clear to me that she did not want to potty train and there was no way or method that was going to work until she was ready and willing. Although that temperament can be challenging at times, I love that she has a strong mind of her own (I’m sure I’ll eat those words during her teen years).
So, another month passed. We went to her older cousin’s fourth birthday party, which was at a kid’s beauty boutique. They were getting their hair, makeup, and nails done. They were to come dressed up in their fanciest dress. Bella was REALLY excited! I casually said something like, “Listen Bella. All the girls at the party wear big girl underwear, so if you have an accident in your pull-up, just let me know, and I’ll quietly take you to the bathroom to change you.”
This party was a big deal to her and those were accidental magic words. She did not have an accident and she never peed in her pull up or underpants again. She saw all those big girls who were no longer wearing pull-ups, and that was enough. She made up her mind. It was her choice. Wow–I wish that birthday party would have come sooner. I’m not saying take your daughter to the beauty parlor to get glammed up, I’m saying I wish that I would have relaxed more and sooner.
When it was time for our second daughter to potty train, I was in a different state of mind. I didn’t expect her to potty train “in four hours”, four days, or even four months. I had relaxed. A few Skittles and a soft seat cover over the big girl potty worked for her. It’s amazing how different children’s temperaments can be and it blows my mind how letting go and relaxing can make all the difference in the world for everyone. No stress, no fireworks, and no freaking!
How did you potty train your children? Was it easy or stressful? If you have more than one child, did you find your experience with each child was completely different or the same? Any tips and tricks you would like to share?