Adventures in Potty Training


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There are positives and negatives to being a fairly relaxed mom. I don’t typically freak out when things don’t go according to plan and we often do things spontaneously. This is good! This is fun! But being this way also means that I am terrible at things like potty training. I’m terrible at it because I don’t have any sense of urgency about it.

When I was getting ready to potty train Reagan, I did what most people do. I read all the blog posts and talked to all of my friends. I remember my friend Julia telling me exactly what she does and I was like “Oh gosh, this is going to be so easy and great.” I mean, all of Julia’s kids potty trained in like 2 days!! Of course I was not taking into account that Julia is very disciplined and organized, and I am…well, not. (By the way aren’t you so grateful for friends who have different strengths than you?? Seriously. There is a reason we are called the body. Try though it may to exist on it’s own, the hand really needs the arm, and so on and so forth).

Anyway, I set out to accomplish the Julia approach (that’s what I call it in my head even though I know she uses some sort of method from a book). But, with me being me, it took me 3 separate tries and over a year to fully potty train Reagan. So definitely NOT 2 days.

Then with Charlotte, knowing my own weaknesses I just decided I’d wait till she was ready. ¬†As in, until she took off her own diaper and sat on the toilet and went without any assistance from me. Which is exactly what she did when she was almost 3. She had been ready for a while, but my first experience had scarred me a bit so I kept saying, “No, I don’t think you’re ready, let’s just wait a little longer. Finally Charlotte decided enough was enough and just went for it on her own. God bless her.

When we went to Uganda last summer to adopt Eva and Titus, they were both fully capable of using the toilet. Eva was 5 and had zero issues. Titus was kind of half-trained. He had a few accidents while we were there, but for the most part was doing well. So, honestly, I don’t think I have anyone to blame but myself that he spent the last year in pull-ups. I think we got back and we were so tired and I was looking at these 4 kids who needed so much and I just thought, whatever, I’m not dealing with accidents right now. And Titus, my sweet boy, is kind of lazy himself. So he was perfectly content to wear pull-ups, even though he knew, and we knew, that he really didn’t need to.

Well, it’s June, and it’s been almost a year, and good grief, it’s got to stop at some point. So I kept telling Titus that once school was out we were going to potty train. I advise using different language because he and his siblings are convinced there is an actual choo choo train involved in this process, no matter how many times I try to explain the term to them. Yesterday was his first day and he, of course, did perfectly. Um, probably because he’s been ready for a year. But every time he went he inquired about this supposed “train.” Sigh. I might have to buy the kid a train.

He had such a good day, in fact, that he was quite horrified when I insisted he wear a pull-up again for bed. He is a big boy now, and it hurt his sense of pride that I would demean him by putting him in something that he now deems beneath him. He resisted to the point of defiance (I know that no one believes me when I say Titus can be defiant, but he is a 3 year old boy so of course he can). He had a talking to from daddy and begrudgingly donned the pull-up, all the while glaring at me.

But apparently the defiance wasn’t over because this morning when I went to change him I discovered that he had, at some point, gotten out of bed, put his underwear back on, put his pull-up on OVER the underwear, and slept that way. The lengths children will go to in order to get their way. I was so impressed with his attempt at clever subterfuge that I almost didn’t discipline him for it. Almost.

All of this to say, I’m really really terrible at potty training. But guess what, guys?! It’s DONE. I mean, I’m sure I’ll have a few accidents to clean up this week but I cannot believe I am about to have no children in pull-ups. This is huge. This is a milestone. This is glorious.

This is exactly the kind of talk that people use right before they find out they’re pregnant again. So I’m gonna stop talking about it now.


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