Y'all. I feel like Dave and I have reached a HUGE parenting milestone. HUGE.
We have successfully potty trained all three of our kids. Yes, ma'am.... all of them.
Let's dive right in - and here's your warning - this post is going to contain gratuitous use of the words poop and pee. It is what it is. ;)
When Luke was 2 Dave and I did what any "eager beaver parents" of a newly two-year-old do and we jumped on the potty training train. We bought a bunch of Hot Wheels cars and a fancy new potty and set our kitchen timer for every twenty minutes or so and started "potty training" our baby. He was a quick learner and pretty soon he was totally trained when it came to pee. Pooping was another story. We're talking a story with multiple chapters and volumes. YEARS worth of writing. It was torture for everyone. Looking back we can see what a HUGE mistake training Luke so young was. He wasn't ready - we took him so often that he never really had a chance to understand the "feeling" of having to go. He just happened to be at the potty so often that he would go.
We've always joked that Mason runs on #masontime
He does things (like walking) when he's good and ready and he really can't be persuaded or bribed into doing things. It's an admirable quality for sure.
In the Summer of 2013 I was on summer break, felt like I was hitting my stride as a mommy of three and I was ready to potty train two-year-old Mason. Mason had other ideas. I gave up for the summer and thought that we'd try again in August when things got back to "normal" and we were back in our routine. Miss Lisa was on board and we tried EVERYTHING! Both of us would literally sit him on the potty at least 6 times a day and encourage him to try. He would consistently tell us, "it's too hard".
Not wanting to turn him off to the whole experience I would back off and then attempt again a few weeks later. I offered to buy him toys at Target, we had a bowl of M&Ms out and ready and he even got new underwear. I tried to get him to "water the flowers" outside, we did pull-ups and he went pantless for 3 days - nothing. He was TOTALLY not ready.
Fast forward to the summer of 2014. He was three and it was a full year after I thought he would be potty trained. At this point he could explain to me in a complete sentence that he would NOT be going pee on the potty. #masontime
I had almost given up home of him EVER being trained until one morning in July. He walked into our bedroom, hopped up onto the bed and literally announced to Dave and I that on "this day" he would start peeing and pooping in the potty. And that he did. No joke.
Last summer we thought that Griffin was ready to try potty training. She had just turned two and showed some interest so we bought her the underwear and it literally went nowhere.
This entire past year she's shown off and on interest, we'd sit her on the potty and she would say "it's not working" :)
Our babysitter would take her and she would occasionally go, but nothing consistent. We didn't worry about it, having seen how easy it was for Mason when he was ready and so we backed off. A couple of weeks ago GG started getting out of the pool and going to the grass to pee (#bigbrotherproblems). We knew then that she understood the feeling and so we set off to Target to pick out a new pink potty.
We made a big deal about the potty and that was it! She hasn't had a single accident in two weeks!
On the very first day I would ask her if she needed to go potty and she would sweetly reply, "no" and then excitedly announce later when she did have to go and it was then that I knew that we had waited until the right time.
We put a pull-up on her for naps and bedtime and most days she wakes up dry from her nap. I think twice she's pooped in her pull up before we took it off (right when we started training), but other than that it's been easy! We started on a Friday and she ran errands with us on Saturday (and told us she needed to potty at Wal-Mart) and she told her Sunday school teacher she needed to go the next day as well.
We keep the little potty downstairs and I picked up a second one to go outside as well. With it so close by we don't have to scramble to take off her bathing suit, dry her off and rush her to the potty inside. When she's upstairs she can use the big potty on her own. A fringe benefit of training later :)
It was painless and easy but I really believe that's only because we waited until she was ready. We watched for her signals and didn't try to push her (we provided opportunities for her to go, but didn't force it when she wasn't interested).
We are so so so proud of our girl! And for the first time in EIGHT YEARS we're not buying diapers! #allthepraisehands We're buying Pull-Ups for night time, but still!
I wanted to share my experiences with potty training to encourage y'all in listening to your kids (and your instincts!) and not being intimidated or pressured into parenting decisions. By friends, by books, by the internet or by strangers.
There is NOTHING more humbling than being a mom. For reals.
When your 5-year old loudly asks, "What are all those bumps on that boys face" while you're standing next to a sweet teenager with acne.
Or when you have to throw away a pair of poopy underwear in the Chick-Fil-A bathroom (while wrangling a toddler and having a newborn strapped to your chest) as another mom watches you and shakes her head in disapproval.
Or when you answer the door holding your newborn and realize that your boob is out.
Or when your toddler has a complete and total meltdown in Sam's and you literally strap him into the cart and laugh/cry while you finish your pizza (and nurse a baby) because what else can you do.
Or when your three year old is running around your house in a diaper and people comment and tell you how "behind" they are because they should be potty trained by now.
Along with being a humbling experience, being a mom has taught me to trust myself. To trust my instinct and my gut. Nobody (no matter how many kids of their own they have, how well intentioned they are or how much of an "expert" they consider themselves) knows your kids as well and as intimately as you do. I've made tons and tons of mistakes in my time as a mom, but listening intently to my kids and their needs and readiness has never steered me wrong.
If you're in the throes of potty training... solidarity sister. This too shall pass :)
If you're looking ahead and thinking about potty training... trust me, it's not as awful as you think.
If your potty training years are behind you... CONGRATS! We can start saving our diaper money and putting it toward braces :)
Happy Thursday, friends! Thank you for walking alongside me in this whole mommyhood thing... for the community, the advice, the ENCOURAGEMENT! Y'all are the best.