I can’t believe it. My little Punkin’ Bear turned 3 earlier this month and while I was so caught up in the excitement details of planning her party, I’m just finally getting around to reflecting on all of the amazing developments she’s made in her first 3 years of life. I suppose it’s natural for parents to be reflective and sentimental at their children’s birthdays, which I indeed was, but what has really struck me recently is just how far she’s come in the 2 weeks since her big day!
Ask most of my colleagues here at the office and you’ll know that potty training has been an interesting course for us. For the past 6 months, Punkin Bear has been hit or miss (mostly miss) on the training track. I thought for sure that moving into the “potty training class” at daycare with a more focused effort from her teachers would surely move the training along (plus a little peer pressure from her friends never hurts, right?). That was 6 months ago and the only thing it did was create a refusal on her part to wear baby diapers; instead only opting to wear big girl training pants. Great if she used the training pants in conjunction with the potty training, but not so much when she decided to use them solely as diapers – especially given that they’re more expensive than diapers!
We tried everything we could think of to help the transition. We tried the reward system, potty training books, and even a potty poster where should could proudly display a special sticker each time we had success (which , by the way, she quickly learned that she only had to go a tiny bit in the potty to qualify for this special treat and that the rest could be left to her pull up!). As we got a little more desperate, we tried switching to pull ups that change temperatures to help children know when they had an “accident” and even decided to go cold turkey into big girl underwear. Nothing worked. That is until her that magical day that happened just 2 short weeks ago– her third birthday.
Somehow, I think due to part desperation and part “training exhaustion” on our end, my husband and I spent the weeks leading up to her birthday less focused on the instant win of potty training in the here and now; instead shifting our focus to make it more of an evolutionary process. So instead of focusing on “why didn’t you tell us you had to use the potty” we shifted to “big girls tell mommy and daddy when they need to go potty” and “when you’re 3, you’ll be a big girl so you’ll remember to tell us when you need to go”. By speaking to something she ultimately wanted – to be a “big girl” which in her mind began at 3 – we found our sweet spot which finally worked! Instead of trying to make it a process that worked for us, we found a process that works for her. And I have to tell you, success has been SWEET! Like a light switch, she has been fully potty trained since her birthday. Did I mention we’re going on 2 weeks straight?! She just decided to do it and did it.
Amazingly, I was still fully prepared to take nighttime training as its own course – another evolution to come in the next few months. But Punkin has actually taken it upon herself to get up in the middle of the night, go to the bathroom and stay completely dry.
I’m just so proud of Punkin’ Bear. And, yes, while it is also a relief for my husband and me to have one less set of diapers to change (with BrotherSister due to arrive any day now!), I’m more thrilled about the fact that my little girl put her mind to something and did it on her own accord. It’s funny, but I’m really beginning to have an understanding and appreciation of the old cliché “It’s the little things in life”.