There are a zillion methods for potty training out there these days. It seems that there are plenty of parents who have success with one - and an equal amount of families who say the same method doesn’t work. So please don’t take my ramblings today as potty training gospel. Just because I have one child who successfully navigated this tricky part of childhood doesn’t mean that I’m an expert. Far from it! That said, I’ve decided that there’s no rush in potty training my daughter.
When my 4 ½-year-old son was younger, we had some early “hooray!” moments with potty training. I guess you could say that they were misleading...extremely. Just because we had some successes didn’t mean that it would be a simple, easy “Point A to Point B” journey to a diaper-free existence. Add to it the fact that I was pregnant with our second and there was an extra element of rushed anxiety about the whole thing. It just wasn’t fair to him - or us, for that matter. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that this can be par for the course for many families. In retrospect, I’m glad that I eventually had enough awareness to take a step back, grasp at the method that seemed to be working best for our son, and just tried seeing it through with more patience and less stress. But the process of getting there wasn’t fun for anyone. So, now with our 16-month-old daughter, I’ve learned from that less than stellar experience and decided early on not to push it. Why? Well, I know now not to take other moms’ and grandmothers’ assumptions about the “right” time to potty train to heart. They mean well, but I also know that we’re dealing with an even more stubborn creature this time around (never thought that was possible, but yup!) and she does everything in her own time. Everything. Bless her. I know now that it doesn’t matter what stage of life we’re in. Odds are, when Harper shows an interest in using the potty chair, it’ll be while we’re in the midst of some chaos or other. Our son starting school or some other life upheaval. But, as with all things in life, we can’t control or account for these things; we can just do our best to navigate the waters when the tide gets rough. This is also a general lesson I’ve learned from having more than one child (and, well, dealing with life overall) - a second or third child still has to be allowed their time to reach milestones and grow amid the chaos and distractions of the usual day-to-day routine. I always respected my mother for realizing this for my siblings and I. There were four of us (I was the last) and she was dealing with an extremely difficult situation when my father passed, but despite all the upheaval and stress and, well, everything, she still took the time to appreciate and participate in our achievements or simply be there for us during the tough moments - learning to tie my shoes, “singing” my first made up song, the first day of kindergarten, a scary tonsillectomy, and so on. I remember that she still made a fuss for it all even though she’d been through much of it three times before. While I also know that there was a time that children simply potty trained earlier, I realize that I can’t explain to a 2-year-old that, “Hey...hey, hon. Fifty years ago you would’ve been out of diapers by now, so let’s get with it.” Life simply doesn’t work that way. While I do believe that cloth diapers tend to help a child “feel” the action of pottying better than disposables, I still think that every child does these things in his or her own way. Plus, for an admittedly selfish reason, I’m in no hurry to say goodbye to the cuteness and ease of our diapering days. While I obviously won’t hinder our daughter’s development just to keep those bright prints and colors on her bum, I’m enjoying them while I can! Just like I’m enjoying the cuddles and cuteness of this stage she’s currently in while it lasts. Who else is in no hurry to potty train their little one? How old are they? Are my reasons completely silly?