"I did it, Mommy!" my 2-year-old shouted one afternoon from the bathroom of our apartment. He was so proud that he did number two in the potty, and I was even prouder that the potty-training days finally were behind me. Well, so I thought. Unfortunately, the next day, he was back to soiling his diapers and my sadness returned. I felt like I was facing a hard truth: my son will be 18 before he's completely potty-trained.
It's a known fact that potty training is no easy feat. Aside from knowing how to start and determining when your child is ready, it's emotionally draining. How do you teach something adults do so naturally, then translate the entire process to a 2-year-old? It's practically impossible.
I've learned there's no clear-cut right or wrong method to toilet training. I've heard of kids who were trained in three days, others three weeks, and some 30 days. Which helped me realize: it's all about my kid . . . not my feelings. I've also learned it's so easy to get frustrated and stress about when your child will be ready, but fretting doesn't make the process more bearable and definitely not shorter.
I think that parents put a ton of pressure on themselves (and their kids) to hit each milestone — I remember stressing about cooing, sitting up, and eventually walking by the one-year mark! — and I've found that so much of that energy is completely unnecessary. Simply put: the problem isn't my toddler, it's my own issues that cause frustration. Why am I so into pushing him to the next phase of his childhood? Shouldn't he determine how and when he progresses?
During this potty-training phrase, I'm learning to praise myself for not obsessing over when he'll master toilet training, while ultimately making the process less worrisome and perhaps slightly enjoyable. A friend of mine turned potty training into a game — whenever her toddler pees in the potty, she treats herself to the spa. Is that slightly over the top? Maybe. But if it makes the experience more rewarding for everyone, I'm game.
They say embrace each phase of their childhood because it flies by. And, I don't know about you, but I'm not looking forward to rushing to a bathroom every hour so he doesn't have an accident.
My point is simple. It's okay to be lax and not stress about potty-training your toddler — especially when it means you'll ultimately be a better person at the end. And there's one thing I know for sure: my son will definitely be potty-trained before he's married, so that's one less thing to stress about.