Potty Training Failure

I am a first time parent, but I am sure that potty training for 36 hours should not result in panic attacks for myself and near panic attacks for my three year old.

My daughter is three years and five months old. I and my husband are more than ready to be finished with changing diapers. My daughter had been showing interest in her potty chair. We’ve had it around since before she turned two.

Because she was showing some interest, when it was time to order new pull-ups, we decided to try her on underwear. She was terrified at first, but with some coaxing (and bribery) from grandma she kept them on for a while. She was very excited and telling everyone that she was wearing pretty undies with a bow on them. That lasted until the first time she wet herself a couple of hours in.

The whole ordeal was about 36 hours. She never once made it to the potty. She had a full blown freak out every time she wet herself and the floor and we were all done cleaning up the puddles after the first three or four accidents. We didn’t make a big deal out of it. We gave her lots of cuddles. The only advice I had ever heard on potty training was from people that love my daughter and the advice was to put her in underwear and not let her back out. She’ll figure it out and in a week or so we’ll all be better off for it.

So every time she would have an accident we would change her underwear, get her cleaned up, and calmed down and we would wait for it to happen again.

I did all the ‘right’ things according to the advice I received. I didn’t make a big deal about accidents, but did make a big deal about any effort to sit on our use the potty, I sat her on the potty every half hour or so, I gave her a sticker chart and fun posters by the potty, I read her books while she sat on the potty, I didn’t let her go back to pull ups. It just didn’t work.

That night at bedtime she hid herself in the big comforter on my bed and wouldn’t let me take the blankets off even though she was sweating like crazy. She couldn’t really tell us what she was doing, but our guess was that she was hiding her undies or trying to feel more safe. She would have another freak out every time we tried to take the blanket off. It was scaring me. I finally got the blanket off and she cried until she wet the bed. We got her cleaned up and one of us gave her cuddles while the other one changed the bedding. We discussed it quietly and decided to give her back a pull up for bedtime under the condition that she have undies back when she woke up. She agreed. We agreed. Everyone slept.

The next morning when she woke up she sat on the potty and then got her underwear back on. She immediately peed on the floor after she made it to the livingroom. Another giant freak out and I was done. I cried and squished her and asked if she wanted her diaper back. And she cried and squished me and said yes.

She’s been back in pull-ups ever since. During the underwear incident she stopped allowing herself to poop and we ended up having to get her a stool softener after about 4 days.  It took several days for her tummy to get back to normal.

It’s been a couple of weeks and she is still slightly traumatized by the experience. She still confirms that she is allowed to pee and poop in her pull-up and that she doesn’t have to use the potty yet.

The momma guilt is strong. It feels like I tortured my poor baby. But all of the advice I received I followed. All of the checklists say she’s ready. I did all the ‘right’ things. But they were only the right things according to someone else and according to the lists online. They were not the right things for my sweet, stubborn, and sensitive little girl. My daughter may be well past the ‘normal’ age of potty training readiness, but she is not ready to be potty trained yet.


For now, the potty has been put away, we’re letting her look at books about the potty, but only when she wants to, she’s watching dvds about potty training (and loving them). And we’re not pushing. We’re reassuring her that she can use her pull-ups as long as she wants to or needs to. And I’m working on better trusting my mommy instincts and believing that I know my daughter better than anyone else.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for those 36 hours, but I do know that from this point forward, first time mommy or not, I will not use any potty training advice that doesn’t feel right for MY daughter.


Currently I am reading this book. Potty Training Girls The Easy Way by Caroline Fertleman, MD & Simone Cave. The advice givers scoffed at this book when I mentioned that I thought this approach would work the best for my daughter. It advocates potty training sessions, an hour at a time where she is in underwear and playing one on one with an adult. And that hour slowly gets elongated until she in underwear at all times while at home. Then we tackle outside of the house and then at night. It is all about following her lead and not pushing her farther than she is ready to go. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but it feels like the approach my family needs to take.

I let the pressure get to me before. I gave in when people told me that my daughter was too old to be in diapers still and that there was only one right way to potty train her and I let my daughter down. And I’m sorry my sweet girl. I’m just doing my best and I’m sorry when that’s not quite good enough.

I’ll be over here giving my girlie squishes and letting her be little as long as she’ll let me.


Purging Toys

How do children get so many toys so fast? My daughter is three and owns more items than I do!


Obviously I know where the toys come from. Christmases, birthdays, doting grandparents, and myself. I’m one of ‘those parents’ that let my child get some small toy every week when we go shopping. It’s never over budget, but it’s nearly every week she’s bringing home at least one new toy. Excessive, I know, but for now that expectation is not one I’m willing to challenge. We’re working on potty training, sleeping in her own bed, and being willing to try new food.


So, the purchasing of a small toy is not the current battle. The way the toys seem to have gone from a bit much to complete overwhelm in the past few months is. Christmas is a big affair, then shortly after is her birthday and then Easter. All big gift giving occasions for us and our extended family. Toys have simply ballooned out of control.


Purging items we have too many of or don’t use any more isn’t a problem when it comes to my own items or to household items, but I can’t quite get myself to purge my daughter’s giant stuffed animal collection. She does play with most of them at least from time to time, but 20 stuffed rabbits seems a bit much. She’s not quite at the point developmentally to be able to decide which five she wants to keep and to give the others to another child.


All purging decisions are on me and I can’t seem to pull the trigger on that one. Logically I can see that she has far too many toys, but emotionally I can’t get past taking away her toys that she loves so much or giving away things that were very thoughtful gifts or that she used her own money to purchase.  Why does it seem so hard to give my child a better play space? It may just be time to put on my big girl panties and purge those toys.


How do you deal with your child’s toys? A toy rotation? Periodic toy purge? How old were your children when you let them be part of the purging processes?

Can I hate “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”?

I’ve been doing theme days for my daughter while we’re working on some schooling. I choose a book and then activities that go along with it. This past Friday we read “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” by Rosemary Wells. It’s my daughter’s favorite book. We then did several spider related activities and finished by watching a animated version of the song on Youtube.

That has since spiraled out of control in to a 50 video playlist of different videos and versions of The Itsy Bitsy Spider. She begs for me to play it again and again. She has had it going on the background while she’s playing for days now and to be honest it’s starting to drive me up the wall. I tried to convince her to change to something else, but she’s not having it.

If I never hear the Itsy Bitsy Spider again that will be fine with me, but she wakes up 23 minutes from when I’m writing this. 22 minutes. 21 minutes. Wish me luck.