Hi, I am the parent of a smiley, independent and completely un-potty-trained 2-year-old girl. We have tried more potty training methods than we can count and eventually decided to wait until she is ready. Well, she's almost 3 and she is nowhere near ready. How do I know this? She tells me multiple times a day how much she loves her diapers and if I try to get her to go potty she turns to me and simply says, "Potty, No."
Sure, she goes in the potty sometimes, but it's more of a hilarious novelty to her than a solution. She doesn't really care about having a dirty diaper because she is too busy playing with her toys and when it comes time for me to be a mean mommy and change her diaper so that she isn't sitting in her own fecal matter, she throws some of the worst temper tantrums I have ever witnessed.
I used to feel bad about my parenting whenever I heard a mom talk about how easy potty training was for her and how I should try her magical method that somehow magically did not work on my daughter. Obviously, I made some major mistake with my daughter during her first two years of life that made her impervious to all potty training methods. I should have co-slept. I should have taught her baby sign language. Or maybe she wasn't potty-trained because I formula fed her?
Then one afternoon, my daughter pulled her pants down, lifted her leg up, peed on the toilet, clapped for herself and looked at me with a " how awesome am I?" grin on her face. She had gone pee pee just like our dog Freckles and was quite pleased with herself. She was definitely trying to be potty-trained, it was just that her idea of potty training is very different than my own. While cleaning the mess up I couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation and that's when I decided to make a pact with myself; I will stay positive and appreciate the goofiness of potty training.
So here, in no particular order are my favorite things about potty training.
Support- Being a parent is hard work and you rarely get the appreciation you deserve. Whenever my daughter sees that I am going potty, she claps for me and tells me how proud she is of me. Sure, she's praising me for something I have been doing well for over 30 years, but who cares? It feels great to hear the sound of applause!
The Potty Dance- The first time my daughter successfully used the bathroom at school, she was very proud of herself, and why shouldn't she be? It takes a lot of maturity to be able to tell your teacher and get to the potty on time. On our walk home, she went right up to a police officer and said, "I went pee pee in the potty, at SCHOOL!" When he heard this, he started dancing around and telling her how proud he was of her, even though they had never met. It was hysterical to watch a member of the NYPD do the potty dance on the street in broad daylight. This has happened with all sorts of people and I am always shocked when a complete stranger gives her a huge reaction. All I can guess is that parents everywhere know how hard potty training is and are willing to do whatever it takes to help a fellow parent out. Whatever the reason, watching adults do the potty dance cracks me up every single time.
Potty Humor- Now that my daughter is at the potty training age, anything remotely having to do with pee or poop cracks her up. One day, we were on the subway and a man next to us was complaining about how hard it was for him to find a good pea coat this season. The second my daughter heard this, she burst into uncontrollable laughter and pointed to the man and said, "You want a pee pee coat!" Months later, she still talks about pee coats and if she is having a bad day the one way to always bring a smile to her face is to say pea coat.
Stickers- Every day, I am amazed at the power of stickers. Whether it's helping me to get my stubborn daughter to go pee pee on the potty or cheering her up when she is sick: Thank you stickers for always being there!
The Happy Face- When my daughter uses the potty all by herself, she gets the biggest grin on her face. No matter what is going on that day, that giant grin puts me in a good mood. It's wonderful watching her do something on her own and be so proud. I hope she always feels such a sense of accomplishment when she conquers something new.
I'm sure if we were seasoned parents we would have figured out how to train our daughter in a much more efficient fashion. I'm sure after this is published I will get tons of emails and phone calls from well-meaning friends and family about how to fix my doomed situation. I'm also sure that eventually, she will learn that diapers aren't really that awesome and this whole situation will work itself out. But from now on, I'm not going to focus on her and the possible reasons why she doesn't want to say bye-bye to diapers. What's the point? Forcing her to do something she isn't ready to do will just make our family miserable. Instead, I am going to stay positive and enjoy this phase because despite the mess, it's also kind of fun.