Potty Training Troubles
A mom with spina bifida contends with potty training her daughter
By Go-To Mom Amy Blanchard , Wilton, NH
I admit, I've put off potty training my toddler long enough. Because of my own birth defect, spina bifida, I have to catheterize myself when I use the bathroom. How can I teach my healthy daughter to do things the "normal" way?
But one morning, weeks before her third birthday, her diaper-changing struggles finally wore me down.
"That's it! You're learning to use the potty today!" I told her as I ripped off her wet diaper, replacing it with a fresh pair of "big girl panties" from her as-yet-untouched supply.
I quickly established my plan. I'd simply have Sweetie sit on her potty chair every 20 minutes. She'd sit there for 5 minutes, or until "something" happened.
Well, the first 20 minutes didn't even pass before Sweetie had an accident. And she couldn't have cared less. She simply continued playing, ignoring her wet pants. Then, whenever I did sit Sweetie on the pot, nothing happened.
So it continued. At one point, after several stressful hours and many "carefree" accidents, I decided, "O.K., new plan. You're going to sit on that potty until you pee. I don't care if it takes all day. You're not moving until you're done."
And so we sat. 45 minutes, to be exact. And, you guessed it...nothing.
No sooner did I have her dressed and playing again than she wet her pants. Uggghhhh ! I absolutely couldn't believe it. How in the world was I ever going to get her trained?
Not only did this experience stop me from further training her that day, it also disheartened me from continuing at all. The sheer frustration of the situation, magnified by my newly realized understanding that I'd never be able to train her on my own (how could I possibly rush her to the bathroom in time to prevent future accidents when I couldn't pick her up and carry her?) stopped me from knowing how to proceed.
But now, six months later, I'm ready to try again. She's a little older, a little more interested, and I'm a little wiser. I'm hopeful that, with my mother's help, an intensive Three-Day Potty Training "Boot Camp" will be all it takes to get Sweetie trained. Or at least set her squarely on the road to success.
Oh, and then there's the threat of "no swimming this summer until you can use the potty."
Wish me luck.
This experience really showed me I have a lot more to consider when potty training my daughter than first meets the eye. It's going to take more than a "cold turkey" approach to get her trained. And I'm going to need help from others to get it done.
Be patient. Observe your child and how she learns about other things in her world, and what kind of reward system will work for her - if at all. Also consider your own needs and abilities. Above all, realize when you need help and don't be afraid to ask for it.
Want to know how she did?
Here are Amy's Potty Training Success Tips!