The most amazing thing happened with Little M this evening – it’s reminded me that we should always trust in our children to know when they are ready for new things, especially potty training.
I thought I’d share in case anyone else out there is getting frustrated with potty training, or worried their older toddler isn’t potty trained.
I’ve been feeling a bit down all week as Little M and I both have colds, his sleep has been a bit all over the place, as he’s dropping his nap and all in all, we’ve both been tired and cranky.
Then there was the comment I received from another parent, “Oh you didn’t potty train him yet?” which was the final straw.
Although I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be offensive the comment made me feel very down and insecure. Because the thing is, we have been gently trying to potty train Little M for a while – we bought his potty when he was 2! We’d read the potty books, we’d bought the fun undies, we’d talked about it, offered rewards, we’d tried pushing it and we’d tried ignoring it, but to no avail.
He just. Didn’t. Care. He was quite happy wearing diapers thank you very much and got very upset and anxious with the mere mention of taking them off and sitting on the potty.
So hearing this comment upset me. It was as though he wasn’t potty trained because I just couldn’t be bothered!
Little M is beautiful and bright and courageous. But he is also incredibly stubborn and strong willed. If he doesn’t want to do something, then he damn well won’t do it! But if he does want to do something, then just you try and stop him! (Important traits to be honest!) Anyway, we decided the only way was to trust and respect his judgment – and wait.
I had this plan in my head of having Little M all potty trained ready for his little sister’s arrival. Well that plan failed. He turned 3 just weeks before she was born. And the reality was, he was a little boy who was anxious about the idea of his mummy having another baby. So we waited.
Then baby arrived, within 2 months he also dropped his nap and dropped his pacifier. We decided the last thing he needed was pressure of the potty. So we waited.
Then SUDDENLY, this evening, at 3 years and (nearly) four months, right after bath time, after a whole week of me feeling like a terrible mother because “I didn’t potty train him yet’ – Little M suddenly announced “Need to go and sit on potty!” Then he ran to the potty and sat on it.
While I picked my jaw off the floor and briefly thought to myself “this is a terrible time, the baby needs a feed and it’s time for dinner” he then continued with “need to do a wee wee!” – followed by an actual wee wee on the potty!
An hour later, with ZERO prompting from me, there was not one but NINE wee wees on the potty (I think he was stopping mid flow to get more M&M’s – crafty!) He poured each one down the toilet himself, flushed, even rinsed the bowl himself and with little prompting wiped himself and washed his hands too!
Now. I know we still have a long way to go. It’s only one day and we need to keep this up. Then there’s poopies and night times to handle. Plus going out and about wearing undies. I’m not feeling too smug yet.
But. Actually. Just a little bit smug. Because after a week of feeling stressed about what I haven’t done as a mother, I have realised that I have done everything. I have given Little M the space and the opportunities to decide for himself when he is ready for something as important as toilet training.
So to the lady who asked “Didn’t I potty train him yet?” Well, no I didn’t. Because really, when it comes down to it, it’s not up to us, as parents, to potty train our kids. It’s up to us to provide them the tools. The support. The encouragement. But ultimately it’s up to our children to make that important decision to get on the potty and go.
I am so incredibly proud of Little M this evening. I’m proud that he’s proud of himself. And I am proud of myself for giving him the space to decide for himself, what’s right for him.
May I always remember to trust in him.
Do you have a stubborn toddler? Did you wait to toilet train? Any tips for me on moving forward are most welcome!