I’ve been struggling with getting my 3 and a half year old daughter potty trained.  I’ve had various brushes with success, some that lasted a few weeks and then the bar was raised (for me) and she fully regressed. Each time I would have to modify my strategy sometimes dramatically and we’d try all over again.  I have talked to friends, other random parents, my pediatrician, and of course, I Googled it.  What it boils down to is that she’s become resistant to potty training, duh and that I should back off.  The problem is, we’ve been doing this dance for almost a year now in various forms and everyone including her, would like her to start preschool in some form in the fall.

In a stroke of luck the other day I happened to find a potty training book that promises to tailor itself to the temperament of your child.  So far mine tests pretty strong willed. There is some debate as to the difference between strong willed and stubborn in a child, but since I have yet to find references to stubborn that don’t bring me back to strong willed, I’ll have to go with my closest option ;)

All of this struggling and stress has been unbearable. I can’t win, I can’t even tie.  For the past 3 days I have taken the “resistant child” approach.  I have put the entire thing in her hands. She gets herself changed (as best as she can) and I don’t put her on the potty anymore.  I don’t even ask her if she needs to go.  I do remind her as often as I used to ask that she needs to tell me when she needs to go, and for 3 days she hasn’t gone in the potty once! I’m not really sure how long this approach takes to make any headway, but I’m now worse off than when I was making her sit every 20-30 min or so.  At least, then she was going some of the time.

Tonight I sat down to read my latest find Stress Free Potty Training and they had some interesting ideas.  Like most things you’ve probably discovered on this blog, I can’t really do exactly what they suggest, because it’s not feasible.  One of their suggestions is to have “Naked time”. Well, I’ve done “Naked time” and it failed miserably.  She’s not unfamiliar to the potty so the idea of just kind of slipping it in there, is pretty unrealistic.  So instead, when I got her ready for bed, I asked her if she was ready to do her “before bed potty time” this, by the way, was something I came up with on the spot and it had never been worded this way before.  I did say it with a lot of enthusiasm though, and she went for it!

She sat on the potty for probably around 5 minutes (longer than ever without prodding) just chatting away and then I got the idea to see how long she would sit.  One of the “Naked time” suggestions is to make bath time last an hour where the child is just naked in the bathroom but not in the tub yet.  I went with that suggestion and grabbed some books to try to keep her on the potty, because after all, naked time, not withstanding, the point is to have them on the potty. We made it through 1 1/2 books with me reading and the two of us trying to find words she recognized.  By the end she had probably sat on the potty for 30 min.  She didn’t go at all, but it’s a start.

After she went to bed, I started thinking of the next thing I plan to do to get a better idea of what I am dealing with, and I realized that it’s possible that someone else is out there going through what I am. If this blog is about anything it’s about showing you all that you can struggle, you can have NO idea what you are doing and you can still succeed, if you work at it hard enough.  I’ve decided that during this month when I go at toilet training full boar (before we go on a month long vacation, bad timing I know) I’m going to share the tips and tricks I end up using along the way, as well as what has worked or not worked in the past and moving forward. Hopefully someone out there can benefit from my previous and current failures and discover a way to avoid my pitfalls in potty training their child. After all, that’s what I’m here for, to help you learn from my mistakes :)

I apologize for the length of this post, I tend to go overboard when explaining some things. And of course, because I am such a HUGE fan of alliteration, I’ll be calling this series: Toilet Training Trails and Tribulations.  Hope you enjoy!