I did not realize how valuable this little tid bit would be over the course of my weekend. But, it proved to be the most valuable statement I had heard. All mommies had indicated it wouldn’t be easy and don’t give up… I was prepared for a struggle, I was not prepared for the haze I felt I lived in for three days.
Avery was incredible, a toddler, but incredible. She put up with my frustration and only played games a couple times. However, resilience is the true key to success in this journey. I wanted to call it a battle, but in reality, it is a journey. A journey of my Doodle growing up. A journey of my baby becoming a kiddo. A journey of one more first, and for that matter, last, being closed in the books. This past weekend was a journey and a test in my patience.
It was not easy, but it was not hard. It was extraordinarily trying and rewarding. It was chaos and calm. It was frustration and patience. It was sadness and loneliness and happiness and joy. It was the worst and the best all rolled into one. And my love gave me the best advice… “breathe through this, she is only two once and you will only be going through this once.” He is right.
Day one was filled with confusion and accidents. Doodle just didn’t know what was going on. I kept us busy; doctors appointments for me, food, TV, dinner out with the family, etc. The error I made was not slowing down life on Friday to let the change sink in. I rolled with the punches and the soiled panties. Saturday wasn’t much different. The first three potties were in panties. After the initial disappointment of the morning, I threw my hands up, listened to my dear friends advice and did not leave the house again until Sunday night drop off to dad. I sat in the master bedroom, on the floor, with the toilet and the Doodle… All day. We watched TV, we ate a LOT of Hershey kisses and we experienced success together. A great deal of peace came over us, happiness and success. We were victors day two. Day three… Day three we turned a corner. Doodle was independent and in control. Yes, I stuck with my continued repetition of the simple question “do you have to go potty”, but Avery lead the charge, she indicated when she had to go. Day three was magical for us in our progress. Day three is also the day I faced my emotional melt down. It was the day I fell apart, I cried from being overwhelmed for many days, I felt like I was in a haze, I felt like I had lost control and yet, I was in complete control. Day three was magical and day three made this mommy proud. Night three Avery headed to her dads house and the learning to use the potty is underway over there as well. At every house, with every family member, it is time.
We are not out of the woods yet. It is not yet ritual to the Doodle. However, we have made progress and it seems that she knows, she knows we go potty in the toilet and not in our panties and she is taking charge of trying…
The knowledge I take away from these three days with is:
- The reward system works. Avery earned every Hershey kiss. The concept of the reward system is not lost on her. And I, as a mother, am 100% ok with sweet treats being the reward… They are a reward after all (no food issues in this house).
- Ensure kiddos are drinking enough. Liquid is your friend while potty training.
- There is no such thing as “too much excitement” when your Doodle actually uses the potty… sing, dance, clap, hoot, holler, yell… You name it, I did it. She saw the pride in my face and she could feel my excitement.
- Stickers & charts… well, they are cool and they make the mommies feel just as accomplished as the kiddos
- Dive right in. No more diapers. Doodle had to feel the discomfort of wetting herself. Doodle had to know there was no going back. There was one moment when I was ready to put a pull up on in order for her to go #2, she was indicating she was in pain… and you know what, I did not cave and guess what… she had to go #1 and that was what was hurting… The joy of relieving the pain and the joy of us being resilient together… It was our turning point. #2 happened in time as well. We just stuck with it
- We do not use pull ups at nap time, she has not wet herself at all during that period and we immediately move to the potty after waking. Approach this at your discretion. We do use pull ups at bed time, for security for now, though she wakes dry and has been waking dry for months
- LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS… my dear girlfriend J was texting me all weekend, checking in and giving me ideas at every hurdle. My friends and family all over were sending texts, facebook comments and instagram comments… there was so much great advice and support. Lean on it. Without miss j I would not have made it through this weekend.
- Once you complete training, become a pillar for a friend. Let’s get through this together
Our journey is not over. Our journey has just begun. However, three days with my Doodle taught me how intelligent she is, how brave she is, how loving she is and how independent she is. Three days alone with her taught me how short fused I am, how loving I am, how frustrated I can get and how I don’t live in the moment like I should. Life is so short… And all these “firsts” with Doodle are also lasts in my parenting book. I need to make the memories meaningful, rather than the frustration memorable.