When my husband and I got married, Number 1 was seven and Number 2 was 4.
I missed the whole potty training thing with them.
When Number 3 was about two years old, I started the potty training with him.
We got one of those pottys that made music every time pee hit the bowl.
He caught on to the peeing pretty quickly.
The pooping was another story.
He refused to go.
I bribed him.
I used m&m’s. Stickers. DVDs. Superhero costumes.
Since he was the first kid I really potty trained, I went through the six stages of potty training that all of us first-timers go through:
Projection. (That he would be a college freshman and still pooping in his own pants).
And then, eventually,
The F*ck It stage.
I finally gave up.
I stopped pushing it.
I don’t remember when it happened, but eventually he came around.
When Number 4 was about 18 months old, I started with her.
She was a girl.
Girls are supposed to do that stuff way earlier than boys.
But Number 4 never got that memo.
She was not going to poop or pee in that potty.
I went through the six stages again.
It took much less time for me to get to the F*ck It stage.
She was pretty much trained by the time she was three. But she still wore a pull-up at night.
I tried to get her to stop wearing them.
She told me she was still three and needed a pull-up. That when she was four, she wouldn’t need them anymore.
Sure enough, on the morning of her fourth birthday, Number 4 walked downstairs, looked at me in the kitchen, said, “Mommy, I’m four now. I don’t need a pull-up anymore.”
And she never wore one again.
Number 5 pretty much potty trained herself.
No… that’s not accurate.
She totally potty trained herself.
I did absolutely nothing for her.
And I bypassed the six stages of potty training altogether. She was a potty training miracle.
Number 6 was my biggest challenge. Or perhaps I should say he was my biggest a-ha moment with respect to potty training.
He was super difficult about peeing in the potty and he TOTALLY sucked about the pooping.
He was starting preschool and still doing the stealth sneak-into-his-room-put-on-a-pull-up-hide-in-the-closet-and-poop-his-pants thing.
He was starting preschool in a week. He was supposed to be potty trained.
I went straight to Stage 4.
It only took about a week to get to Stage 6.
Preschool didn’t care.
And Number 6 pretty much just held in his poop until he came home each day.
And then up to his closet he went.
It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
Sometime around December he pooped in the potty.
And that was that.
But he still had the pull-up at night.
Number 7, who is now three years old, is totally potty trained.
Even at night.
She’s got a camel bladder.
Not Number 6.
He still pees in a pull-up.
He’s a year older, and he pretty much comes downstairs around 2 a.m. every single night with a soaked pull-up and asks me to change it.
It’s frustrating and annoying.
But I can’t make him pee in the middle of the night.
I’ve woken him up. Sort of.
He’s just too out of it and he refuses.
He does the go-limp-fall-on-the-floor-and-then-scream-as-though-he’s-being-dismembered-and-wake-up-every-person-in-the-house- thing.
And so I am back to a second round of the F*ck It stage with him.
That is a battle I’m not fighting.
Eventually, he will wake up and pee in the potty at night. And I will patiently wait for that night.
Potty training can be exasperating.
And you think your kid should be doing something on a specific timeline.
But it doesn’t work that way.
NONE of our kids followed the same schedule.
But they did what they needed to do when they were ready.
So if you can… relax.
Don’t beat yourself (and your kids) up by comparing them to their friends or your friends’ kids.
Settle into Stage 6.
You may have a timeline in mind for your kid.
But so does he.
Let him pick the one he wants to follow, and when he’s ready, he’ll let you know.