Patience and Potty Training

Have you ever heard a parent talk about potty training their young one?  It usually involves a lot of talk about accidents, successes, treats, set backs, and then finally, “it clicks”.  Or so the parent says.  This phrase is supposed to mean that a child doesn’t completely comprehend why or when they have to use the potty, but at some point in time, they “magically” understand.

Having potty-trained one child successfully, and hearing from other moms, this spoken-of point in time when “it clicks” for a toddler may or may not actually happen.  It certainly didn’t with Madeline, and I found other mothers who noticed the same gradual progression in their toddlers during potty training.

This week we began potty training Clara.  She turned 20 months today.

No, I’m not crazy.

Her sister was solidly potty trained by 2 years (with a few set backs due to my mother-in-law passing), so the hubs and I assumed Clara was ready to go by now.

Fortunately, we were correct.  Clara is a sharp little one who picks up things much quicker than I ever expect.  She can be very strong-willed, but if we devise a plan to use that to our advantage, she may potty-train very quickly.

The process, though, is generally never very fun.  There are the cloth training pants, the hippy housewife’s answer to Pull-Ups.  They are great for little accidents, but when a toddler actually goes to the bathroom in them, there are inevitably messes to clean up.  There is the resistance from said toddler, because, let’s face it, diapers are like pacifiers.  They serve their purpose when a baby is not aware that they exist, but once they become aware that the object exists, they assume they cannot live life without it.

(Case in Point:  We weaned Madeline off of a pacifier around one year old.  I would NEVER wait that long to take a pacifier from a child again.  She was attached to it in such a way, that when her baby sister came on the scene several months later, she would steal hers right out of the crib.  To this day when Madeline sees a child with a pacifier, she looks at it with interest and asks all about it.)

But I digress.

This is not actually the point of my blog post today.


I get anxious when it is time to potty train.  I don’t like to clean spots out of the carpet and wash training pants several times a day.  I don’t like having to wipe urine off of little baby legs, and I don’t like tracking pee-covered foot prints throughout my house.  Call me crazy.

I realized, though, that potty-training really is all about accidents.  It’s a series of accidents during which a toddler figures out how to actually use the toilet successfully.  And as much as I hate and dread potty accidents, they are just a fact of life.

It seems like not long ago that Madeline was “unreliably” potty-trained.  She couldn’t hold it very well, and I was always frustrated about cleaning up accidents.

You know what?  That wasn’t all that long ago.  In honesty, it only took a few months for Madeline to go from unreliably potty-trained to super reliably potty-trained.  I may have gone through a lot of paper towels and distilled vinegar during that time, but that doesn’t compare to the benefit of having a child who is confidently using the toilet.

READ: Not  wearing diapers that Mommy has to wash.

So I think for me me it finally “clicked”.  Potty-training comes with accidents.  The two go hand in hand.  There will be no child that has “accident-free” potty training.  Rather than fighting it and being angry about every drop of pee that hits my floor, I am deciding to embrace it.  I will buy extra vinegar and paper towels to prepare.

And most importantly, I will try my hardest not to be frustrated, angry, or upset when Clara has yet another accident.  The girl has to learn through trial-and-error what to do, and she needs me to be supportive and loving the whole way through.

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