I'm Not Rushing My Kid With Potty Training -- Despite All the Pressure

little girl potty training

I've got a lot of this mom stuff handled. I breastfed for two years, I took teething in stride, and I've even become an expert at keeping my cool during toddler tantrums. But there is one thing I haven't mastered yet: potty training.


A few days ago, I was at a birthday party for my niece, and a fellow toddler mom asked me if we were potty trained yet. I literally laughed out loud. "No!" I exclaimed. 

While I've made a few half-hearted attempts, my 2½-year-old daughter refuses to sit on the potty for longer than about 15 seconds. After that my choices are either to forcibly hold her down on the potty, or let her get up. I obviously choose to let her get up.

More from CafeMom: Why I Refused to Potty Train My Son

I have to admit I've felt some shame for not having my daughter potty trained yet. Every single time I see my mom, she reminds me that my brothers and I were all trained by the time we were 18 months old. Instead of inspiring me to get busy with training my little one, it really just makes me feel like a failure as a mom. 

My daughter seemed to be ahead of the pack in other milestones. She had a full set of teeth before any other babies her age, she walked at 10 months old, and she could even count to 14 by the time she turned 2! So I naturally expected her to be a quick study on the potty.

I think that's why my mom's constant reminder that I was a potty-training savant kind of cuts me deep. If my daughter has been ahead of the curve in everything else, and I was potty trained so quickly, then my parenting must be the reason she's not catching on, right?


More from CafeMom: 6 Signs Your Toddler Is Ready for Potty Training

For some reason, as mothers, we tend to blame ourselves when things don't go perfectly. We think, "I must not be trying hard enough," "Maybe she isn't learning this because I work full-time," or "I shouldn't have waited so long before trying to teach her this. Why am I such a procrastinator?"

But the truth is, we are rarely to blame. While nurture is important, the more I see my friends and siblings raise their children, the more I'm reminded that nature has an incredibly huge impact on the development of our children. Each child is profoundly unique, and the best that we can do as parents is to adjust our parenting to work for each unique child.

Since I'm a bit neurotic, I had to do some research.

When it comes to potty training, there are a lot of different ideas and methods out there. However, there is one theme I see throughout the myriad of experts and articles, and that is, if they don't seem interested, they probably aren't ready. The best strategy is to just wait, and try again later.

More from CafeMom: 11 Genius Hacks to Make Potty Training Easier on You & Your Toddler

So that's what I'm doing. I'm swallowing my pride and waiting, because if I'm being honest, it was partly about pride and wanting to have a gold star as a mother for getting my kid out of diapers and into big girl undies (I did buy her the cutest little princess ones, after all).

I'm also accepting that children don't grow or learn on my schedule (or their grandparents'), but only on their own unique timeframe.

Acceptance and patience. I'm finding that those are the keys to motherhood. Accepting that both my child and I are not perfect, and having the patience to allow her to grow and develop on her own timeline.

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