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Why My 3 Year old is Not Potty Trained, and Why I’m Okay with That
Potty training is a huge topic among moms of preschoolers. How did you potty train? How long did it take to potty train? Did you do it cold turkey? What did you do about nights?
We actually did start potty training Aidalyn around 26 months old. I was pregnant with our second and was motivated to not have two in diapers at the same time. Potty training while being pregnant was not fun. We did the 3 day potty training boot camp. She was excited about big girl panties. She was excited about getting stickers and chocolate.
Aidalyn did great during the day. She was showing really great progress for about 3 months. We still had accidents during the night (never once was dry in the morning and rarely was dry after a nap). We were never “completely” potty trained. We could leave the house and stay dry, though. We thought we were on the right track.
Then the rains came down (literately).
Our house flooded from an upstairs toilet over-flowing… I was 35 weeks pregnant. (You can read the story here) We had to move out of our house for about 3 months. During this time, I gave birth to my second daughter (read her home birth story here).
This whole series of events was too much for a 2.5 year old. We spent one month in a hotel room, one month in a rental house, and 3 weeks in Louisiana with my parents while our house was being worked on.
Aidalyn started acting out in the hotel room. She was drawing on the walls and sheets with crayons ( she had never shown any sort of rebellion like this before). She also started crying about having to use the potty. She basically refused to use her potty or the hotel’s potty. She also had to start sleeping with the light on at night.
Using the potty got a little better once we moved into the rental house. We were back in big girl panties and using her little potty with lots of encouragement and rewards.
Then Annaleigh was born and that was another huge life change for a 2.5 year old.
Aidalyn’s personality is that of being a perfectionist, type A and in control. Her little world as she knew it was spinning out of control and the only thing she could control was #1 using the potty or not and #2 eating or not. We saw both of these issues expressed to the max.
We tried rewards, we tried charts… they worked for a short time. Then they stopped working.
Now she cries at the mention of using the potty. She will tell us at random times “I don’t want to use the potty.” She also says that the potty is scary.
I’m not saying that I don’t believe your 3 year old should be potty trained. I am saying I’m okay with my 3 year old not being potty trained.
Adam and I are both over achievers and like to put success on reaching goals.
When it comes to our children and their development…
It isn’t a race.
It isn’t something to brag about.
These are little people who need to be respected and given their own time to progress and grow.
Every child is different, despite the charts and graphs you always see.
Our job as parents is to help build the scaffolding to ease them into the next phase of growth.
I think that we would have been potty trained already if all the other crisis didn’t happen during the time of that developing skill. Who knows.
Right now, I’m focusing on changing Aidalyn’s inner voice. I keep reminding her that “The potty isn’t scary.” “Big girls use the potty.” “When you are ready, you let mommy know and we will use the potty together.”
I am going to be ready for her to show me that she is ready. I will help her as she gets over her fear of using the potty. Once that happens, I will be there to support and encourage her. But for now, I am waiting.
So to the mom who’s 3 year old isn’t potty trained, the mom who’s 6 month won’t sleep through the night, the five year old who isn’t reading novels:
You are a great mom.
Your kid is still smart and thriving.
Have you ever felt insecure about your kid’s development? How did you deal with it?