Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post got me musing about our potty training days. To tell the truth, I don’t have a lot of memories about that era of our parenting lives – except that it seemed to last forever. I think surely for most parents it’s a time in their lives they’d just as soon forget. Except for those mutant parents who enjoy touching human excrement. Are there any of those? I don’t think so.
With our oldest, we had the potty chair. We had the books. We tried the stickers and the chart. All of these turned out to be more trouble than help. She was a bright kid, and with no siblings yet she had our undivided attention. So it happened eventually, and we learned a few things along the way.
With the second, we ditched the prescribed tools. No more little chair, no bribes, no books, no strategies. We just went with it, plopped her on the big toilet when it seemed appropriate, and again it happened eventually.
And then came the boy, the third child. He was at a disadvantage in the potty training thing to start with because a) he had two siblings with whom to compete for time and attention, b) he’s a boy, and c) this child never did anything he didn’t want to do AND made up his own rules every step of the way.
First he insisted he needed underwear “like Papa’s.” Meaning with the little pee flap in the front for easy access. Meaning something they don’t make for tiny boys.
The Boy figured out his own way around this problem with a unique solution: He shoved both legs through one leg hole of his little training pants, leaving the second leg hole in front, in just the right place for that easy access. And he wore his undies like that every time.
You would think that with this level of ingenuity and control, he would have had incentive to achieve success pretty quickly. Not so much. For months he was much too busy with whatever fascinating mischief he concocted minute by minute to bother running to the bathroom and taking advantage of his lovely self-invented pee flap.
And so by the time we were past the “Pee emergency!” alerts and all three kids were confirmed toilet users, we’d learned a few things:
- There is no one-size-fits all way to potty train a child.
- The old saying is true: You can start training early, but that will just mean it will take longer.
- Have you ever met a fully functioning adult who didn’t know how to use a toilet? Me, neither. So quit freaking out and just let it happen when it happens.
…And this little piggy cried, “WEE, WEE, WEE” all the way home.