Raise your hand if you've potty-trained a small human. Or are in the midst of doing so. Or plan on having a child not enter college still having bedtime accidents. Then you know how daunting it may be. Especially with a super strong-willed child. (Should I finally admit here that my son is SO MUCH like me??? So. Very. Stubborn. I should be proud, really.) If you read all the books and blogs and Facebook posts and advice handed down from generation to generation, you've literally heard every suggestion possible...including complete contradictions. Offer a reward. No, wait, that's bribery and never works. (Even though it worked on me as a kid. Not that it’s a good thing; it didn’t work with my son.) Tell the child when to take a potty break. No, wait, let them learn to listen to their body's cues. (In my experience, one leads to the next, but see my caveat below.) Strip your child naked for several days and get the job done. Wait, what? We would literally be confined to a very small kitchen (hello, wall-to-wall carpeting), so...yeah. No, thanks. (And, um, I tried a very brief version of this...wasn't pretty.) The list goes on and on. And y'know what? All of these methods work. They must or else they wouldn't still be making the rounds. But not for every child. There is no “AIO” when it comes to potty-training rules (or kids in general). And that’s my one caveat.
As with all things in the parenting realm, no two children are exactly alike. Hence, no two experiences with said children should be generalized. So, when you see rules or methods touted proudly, don't feel an overwhelming guilt when your kid doesn't follow suit. “But, it must be my child. There MUST be something wrong!!!” No, there's not. You already know how incredibly unique and special your child is. Don't let anyone else make you question this or your own intuition. If you push a child early on and they're not ready, put the idea to rest for awhile longer. This is not a time to keep up with the Joneses. Even if your child talked or walked before theirs, all kids won't hit the same milestones at the same time, and this is a great time to realize it - and remember it through school and beyond. The only generalizations I can make about potty-training, from the perspective of a mom who’s “successfully completed” a masters course in it (okay, I've got a B+ thanks to the rare accident) are that: - Yes, he/she WILL get it in his/her own time...not our time, not their cousin’s time, not the kid down the block’s time, but his/her time. - There WILL be setbacks. Just when you think he's got it figured out, there will be wet pants...or sheets...or floor. (Gah!) Try, try, try to relish the successes and minimize these setbacks...as hard as it may be. - As with all parenting, this challenging time is just a phase. It will pass, and you'll one day be so proud that your child can recognize when it's time to go, have DRY pants, actually go on the potty, pull up her own pants, wash her own hands...and not need you one bit to help. Kinda bittersweet, huh? So, don't rush it to flush it. Everything will be fine...until you realize you're done with your cloth diaper stash. I can’t help with that. Sorry!