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Everyone has advice when it comes to potty training.  Even those who don’t have kids.  I get to hear all the time, “My son was potty trained at 18 months old”, “My daughter just started doing it all by herself”, “My twins wipe each others ass”.  Ok, not the last one.  But you get the point.

There are those mommies that use charts, stickers, prizes, candy, and my fav ‘just let em run around in wet underwear till they can’t stand it’ way. There are books, videos, training guides, hell they even sell a potty training watch.  Ooook.  Got it.

My experiences? Well…let’s say with my first child I was determined.  I made a plan.  He was gonna be potty trained by x age or else (notice x age?  Ya that is cause I don’t even remember what that number was now..shows you how important it was isn’t).

So what happened?  Oh he was potty trained alright.  And I was fried.  Mentally exhausted and just a pissy person.  One instance horrifies me to this day.  It is one of those moments you pray, fervently, that your child will not remember.  He claims he doesn’t.  I am not sure how…it was so traumatizing for me.

<<WARNING– SHAMEFUL MOMMY MELT DOWN MOMENT…ok, carry on>>

It was the day I braved going out without a diaper or pull up (wait…I don’t believe pull ups were invented yet…).  You know the day…where you feel there have been enough ‘going in the potty with no accidents so we feel confident enough to try the public’ day?

I went to the mall.  Ya, I know what’s going through your mind…”what the hell were you thinking?”  I wasn’t’.  I just went.

And he shit.  In his underwear.  In Nordstroms.  A lot. Of. Shit.

I calmly made our way to the ‘lounge’ area.  I calmly walked into a stall with him.

I. Went. Bezerk.  Literally came unglued. Slamming the toilet lid open, smacking my fist against the wall of the stall, questioning my poor, terrified two and a half-year old (I believe) son on how the hell he could shit himself?  “HOW?! You know you are supposed to go in the toilet! How could you do this?”

He’s crying.  I’m crying.  And we have crap everywhere.

That is when I realized.

Let it go. Relax.

As parents we get so caught up in when something should occur.  Or how it should occur.  Or did our neighbors child do xyz before our child?  Is our child slower than so and so’s?

Why do we get so caught up in making potty training hard?  Yes, we make it hard.

It will happen.  They will be potty trained.  Just like they will eventually sleep through the night.  And one day they will feed themselves.  And lo and behold they will graduate from high school and move out (hallelujah).

I am not saying put your head in the sand and let bygones be bygones.  Well…kind of…maybe…sort of.  What I am saying, is that anything forced is not really happening anyway.  Encourage.  Don’t force.  Mostly, just relax.  You know your child (not your neighbors, or friends, or sisters kid), you know your child..

If a three-year old is coming up to you and saying, “mommy I just finished pooping, you can change my diaper now”, well, this child is probably…maybe… ‘telling’ you, “I AM READY FOR THE TOILET”.  But, if you try, and try to get your child to go on the toilet and it is a constant battle…then back off perhaps.  Try a different tactic, try relaxing.  They can sense your tension, your determination.  And it scares them.  Trust me, it does (even if you are super, uber good at covering it up with sweet smiles and lovey dovey words with m&m’s in your hand).

On the flip side, if your child is perfect and does everything you want with no battles or issues.  Well…then…hummm…good for you (should I tell you that what I really wrote was ‘well then stick it‘, but decided that was way not loving?).  Seriously though…I am not knocking those that feel the charts, books, and treat system (or whatever system) works for them.  For that I say, GREAT JOB, GOOD FOR YOU.

Don’t get me wrong.  I want to get rid of changing diapers as quickly as possible, not just cause I am sick of them and changing crap, but the cost is overwhelming. I want to get rid of bottles, formula and…well just feeding my whole tribe in general, truth be known.  But..there is a process.  And for me, my process will involve the least amount of stress and crankiness.  My stress and crankiness.  Thank you very much.

My “two-year old”, 3rd child, when she was 18 months ‘thinking about going on the toilet…now? She doesn’t care for the toilet much…

Needless to say, my second child’s potty training was beautiful.  And nope, I don’t even remember how old she was.

Now my third and fourth? I dunno yet.  My two-year old is ‘thinking’ about it.  My eleven month old?  Err..no, she isn’t thinking about much, other than when her next meal is and how to torment me at night with her teething antics.

But it will happen.  Eventually.

And now… right this minute I am noticing that both my two-year old and eleven month old are taking a dump.  Truly.  No lie.  Their back ends seem to talk to each other, because more often than not, I have two poopy diapers…at a time..or within minutes of each other.  Lovely.  Off to change diapers I go.  Is it too early for a glass of wine?

Cheers!