The first potty I got for her was purchased around her first birthday. I thought she could see it, try it out, get used to it and just ease into this whole potty use business. Other moms I knew did something similar and were reporting in gleefully that their kid loved using the potty. My child wasn't so into it.
By her second birthday, she'd try it out occasionally before a bath and occasionally could tinkle in it. I thought, "Great! This will be easy!"
That was in June. In the next few months it didn't progress at all. September she refused to sit on the potty at all. She wouldn't do it, would throw amazing tantrums about it, and, more concerning, would tell me, "I'm a baby! I wear diapers!"
Some days, I'd put her on it in front of a movie and tell her, "You can watch this movie, but only if you sit on the potty and try to tinkle in it."
At least she was learning to hold it?
Here's a video of her not tinkling in the potty. Happily reading books, but not doing the business.
So then it was decided to just let her be for a bit. Maybe she wasn't ready?
Then I decided that was malarky. Not ready? She's 2! She's Ada! She can do this. In the worst months of my parenting life to date here's what I tried and failed at:
- Having a special outing to buy panties
- More bribery
- Videos and shows dedicated to the subject of using the potty. The favorite being the episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood where they use the potty a lot. She still sings the song occasionally, "If you have to go potty, stop and go right away!"
- Yelling AND bribery
- Crying on the floor (me, not her)
- Purchasing the amazingly crappy book which she loves, "Princess Potty"
- Redecorating her bathroom into a "princess potty"
- Pull-ups and refusing to ever allow another diaper on her body
- Taking her to my parents house in NC and getting her ANOTHER very fancy Minnie Mouse potty that made cheering sounds when you "flushed" it.
- Explaining life to her
- Telling her we weren't leaving the room until she tinkled in the potty. (Brought phone and coffee for parental comfort.)
- Cheer squad level of fake joy
I don't know what actually worked. Something did. I like to think it was No. 13. It was the first time she'd tinkled in the potty since August. She tinkled in the potty while throwing a huge tantrum while I sat there trying to be cool while my insides were in turmoil and my fists kept clenching. Once the stream started, she looked up at me with her splotchy crying face, and between the angry sobs said, "Mommy! I'm tinkling!" Then continued to have a tantrum.
Then we had a week of similar experiences.
And yet, just two weeks before Christmas, she got it. She just did. All of a sudden, she'd willingly accept the idea of potty time and tinkling in the potty and, although there was an accident here or there, they were so incredibly rare that we were all surprised when it happened. No bribes were dispensed.
So we're done. She is even staying dry during her naps and most nights (we are still using a Pull-up at night) and it's like magic. Horrible evil soul-trading magic ... but also amazing.
Jeffrey even took her to Phoenix by himself two weekends ago and she didn't have a single accident while they were at the zoo for the day.
She uses public toilets of any variety without issue.
While I was crying and screaming, many of the people I turned to for consolation with children the same age didn't seem to be having the same kind of horrible fun I was or if their kid was a few years older they'd tell me that some particular incident was the catalyst to success -- a rash, a cut, etc. I was cheerfully told to try M&Ms (um, duh?), charts, etc. Everyone else appeared to be calm, encouraged by their child's progress, No one admitted to ugly crying in bed late at night to their husband that they weren't a good mom and were totally fucking up parenting.
I AM totally fucking up parenting ... but at least Ada is potty trained.