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24 January, 2014

Adventures in Potty Training - Admitting Defeat?

A week ago today I set out to start potty training our sweet Evie.  Between her usual days off from school and the holiday weekend, Evie had 5 days home with me.  Perfect timing.  Panties, two kinds of potty seats, treats, stickers, and potty books. We were ready!

A few people questioned me on her readiness since she's just 26 months old.  I assured them that if she picks out her own diapers and tells me when she's going then she's clearly ready to potty train.

Friday afternoon we started in on the "fun".  Evie was doing great.   We quickly progressed from just sitting on the potty to get comfortable to running to the potty while she was in the act of going.  This continued for 3 of the 5 days.

Day 4... I knew! I knew! was going to be the lightbulb day.  It was just going to click and we'd be home free.


Day four is when I learned a tremendous amount about my personality but also my daughter's.

It was now Monday and Evie woke up super early.  I put her in a diaper so I could get out of bed and put in my contacts before I started thinking about Hippo Ballerina panties.  We snuggled and ate breakfast and I quickly transitioned her to potty training uniform: panties and a t-shirt.  She picked out both and was once again excited to be a big girl!

But that's where the fun ended.  After a full sippy cup at breakfast she would not pee.  She would cry and wanted nothing to do with the potty or her treats.  I talked to some mamas and they suggested putting the potty seat in the playroom or near the TV so we tried that and she peed once. YAY!

A little bit later she was sitting on my computer desk in the kitchen.  And she peed (after my asking her every 10 minutes if she needed to go / wanted to try) all over the chair...which dripped off the chair and into my Dooney and Burke purse that resides under the computer desk for safe keeping.  (Thank God for wet paper towels amiright?)

Then it was nap time. I gave it my best effort to encourage her to go potty before nap time, but she refused...and refused.  I gave up and I got her cozied up in a diaper and blankies.  During the course of her two hour nap / quiet time she asked for TWO diaper changes.  I swear there was a week's worth of pee in those diaper changes. She was clearly holding it in waiting for the comfort of her diaper.

After nap she was back in panties and I was determined to pump her full of water and really give her my full attention to make for a successful afternoon.  During the next 3 hours Evie downed two full sippy cups - a near 18 ounces.  And she would not entertain the idea of the toilet. In fact she would have a full blown meltdown if I even mentioned it.. OR if *I* went to the bathroom.

I was sensing she was over this whole potty training thing. She was exhausted and I was exhausted. And our carpet couldn't endure anymore.

We were going on hour 4 since she had peed.  She was walking around on her tip toes with her butt squeezed in.  It was nearing bed time.  I was afraid of two scenarios.  First, we'd pick her up to go up for bed time and she'd pee all over me and the stairs (and the thought of carpet shampooing the stairs 27 weeks pregnant was not an option).  Or second, that she'd hold it and pee in her diaper within an hour or two thus waking me up for a diaper change resulting in insomnia for the rest of the night.  Neither of these were an option.

Eric was home at this point and took over Evie + potty duty.  We thought if I left the room for a while and Daddy came in with fresh encouragement she'd go.

As soon as Eric asked her to go potty she began a 45 minute tantrum that resulted in her hyperventilating, twitching, and I swear her eyes were going to roll back in her head.  She could not calm down (and still hadn't peed).  I had to take her hands and make her do breathing exercises with me.  Once she relaxed she finally peed. Thank God.  I was nearing a panic attack of my own!

Whew. Eric took her up for bed and then we had a long conversation about what to do next.

See, I wanted to get her trained this month so she could have 3 months practicing to really establish a routine before the "new baby back slide".  I also didn't want to have two in diapers. So much laundry!

However, as the 4 days progressed I realized that I was pushing my agenda on her and she could sense it.  Evie, much like her mother and grandfather, has to do things on her own time when it's her own idea.  This potty thing was not her idea.

After seeing how much anxiety this was causing her, Eric and I agreed to give her a day off on Tuesday, get out of the house and see what happened.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday she really only mentioned it once each day, but it was mostly because she wanted the candy treat.

So it's Friday and Eric and I have agreed to continue reading her potty books, and letting her play on her potty and if she's interested in trying to go we'll let her.  Our intention is to wait for the baby to come and then try again in the summer.

Twitter moms, playgroup moms, and her pre school teachers were all so encouraging to me that we made the right decisions. They reminded me there is no reason to rush her since she is only 26 months and won't even need to be trained for school this Fall.  Thank you!!!

I struggled to admit "defeat." I felt like I failed, like I didn't try hard enough. But I later told Eric that I think I was projecting my feelings of our "failed" breastfeeding on to our "failed" potty training causing me to be irrationally emotional and stubborn about the whole thing. He reminded me they are completely different. It's taken a few days since our decision to back off, but I am feeling better and thinking logically instead of emotionally (story of my life!).  We did the right thing for her this week.  It'll come to her when the time is right!


  1. Same thing happened here! I was so ready and I thought she was too. Nope! Zoe was just over 2 1/2 (May or June born in Nov too) when she actually trained and it was a piece of cake! It is so much easier when they are actually ready! Prayers for patience.

  2. Thank you so much! I almost called you a dozen times, but I was so busy changing tiny panties and cleaning up pee!


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