This is my very honest and very real experience with potty training. I know a lot about early childhood development and I have my fair share of tools and techniques when it comes to practising mindfulness with your little ones, however, one area that has always intimidated me as a parent is potty training. Every child develops at their own pace and every child comes with their own personality. Shifting from diapers to toilet is the first time a child takes their own self-care as their own responsibility. It is a big step. I used logic from what I know and intuition from my soul to tackle this new experience for us. This is my story:
Day 4: We left the house!
Today was a good day. The sun was shining, we were all home, together, rocking the world of potty training.
Zinnia had a couple mistakes, but overall was killing it! She was running to the potty on her own, and often saying "No" when we used our phrase. She was now in control of her feelings. She knew when she needed to pee, and for the most part made it in time to the potty.
Once accident was because she didn't quite make it to the potty, which I'm not sure you can even really call an accident, she had the right idea, right?
The day was going so well we decided it was time to take a trip, no diaper, no potty, just us and our bladder control.
Our local park is about a 4 minute (adult) walk away, so we chose to go there, since we hadn't been in a while. When we first hit the sidewalk Zinnia noticed some interesting red, orange and green berries at a neighbours house. Since we stop on our walks often and explore nature, this is what she did. For a lot longer than we had anticipated.
As the minutes passed Shane and I gave each other looks of worry. Saying things like "we're running out of time", "we gotta hurry this thing up" and "we can't make it to the park and back now".
Once Zinnia heard those words, she walked to the park faster than I think she ever has. She was going to the park, and that was that.
So I encouraged Shane into believing we could make it, and we went for it. I never thought potty training would come with a rush type sensation but it did. We were even prepared for the accident with extra clothes, bag for old and wet clothes, and wipes. It still felt terrifying.
We made it to the park and after playing on the swings, exploring more things we found in nature and walking home, we DID IT! We went to the park and back with NO accidents! This was a big win for us, and called for a major celebration! There may or may not have been couch jumping, high pitch cheering and legs twirling in the air.
That night we had a special slumber party in the living room and watched Matilda all together as a family. Fun fact: Matilda's mother's name in the movie is Zinnia Wormwood. While she's not a nice lady, its neat to hear her name since it isn't very common.
Day 5: The End is Near.
Zinnia has made leaps and bounds in this potty training journey. She is now going to the potty on her own when she needs to, and we are barely ever asking her to take a seat or if she needs to pee.
She clearly understands her bladder and bowels and knows what to do. We still had one accident outside while exploring with her little gemstones in rice, but it was a new activity and I know she was just very involved in what she was doing. This is where I imagine the trial & error type system comes into effect. She was upset that she had an accident and was obviously emotional about it happening. That is a big enough feeling in itself and will probably teach her to stop and pay attention to what her body is telling her.
It has been so helpful to have this time at home to help her through this process. I have a lot of empathy for parents who need to potty train around work or other engagements. I strongly suggest that if at all possible you find a time where you can be home for at least two full days to embrace the accidents and mistakes that are inevitable.
I am grateful for a supporting partner who has a keen interest in parenting the way I do and the time we have had together.
Hopelessness is gone and I am confident we are through the thick of this process. My baby girl has gotten so big and I couldn't be more proud of her. We make sure to tell her often.
Potty and play are however never too far from each other. I still fear leaving the house, but I'm sure we will figure it out, somehow.