I'm not going to put pictures in this post... just because of the subject matter. If you don't care for bodily functions (though think of the title of this blog!), please skip this post.
Part of what has made my transition to motherhood so difficult is my constant worry that I am not doing a good job of parenting my son. This is because my mother is pretty much the epitome of a great mother. She raised five children over a span of decades and continues this in her role as a grandparent with less spousal involvement than I currently expect from my own husband.
I realize there are some cultural and generational factors involved, but I do often feel bad that, in addition to holding down a job, I sometimes just want a break from the constant barrage of needs or I don't know how to handle things like fighting naps, not listening to me, etc.
The latest item is potty training. My husband and I had agreed to make an attempt this summer, since it's acceptable to walk around with minimal clothing. The boy is around 2 2/3 years old, which some would argue is too early, and some would say too late. Most of my fellow parents with similar-aged kids had started/completed the process and insisted that I could do it, so I was feeling bad that I had even waited until this point.
I read too many things about "signs of readiness," and I felt he was ready -- great communicator, fighting diaper changes, knows about the potty, minds cleanliness to an extent. We started a little more than a week ago, and from the get-go, I was doubting whether I was reading his readiness signs correctly and whether I had set him up for failure. We went cold turkey on the diapers and only do pull-ups at night. I know the nighttime thing is under debate, and whether he'd get confused wearing pull-ups at all, but he still sleeps comfortably in the crib and weren't prepared to make two big changes at once. Of course, my wonderful mother used to wake us up in the middle of the night to take us to the potty, which I can't imagine doing for the time being.
It was clear that those "train your kid in a weekend" stuff was not going to work on our son, and every time I came across a "she just trained herself" claim, I wanted to roll my eyes as I cleaned up yet another puddle that happened RIGHT after we took him from the potty.
After the first five days with pretty much no progress, I wanted to give up. I didn't want him to start feeling bad since he's not ready. It would just be easier to wait until he's old enough to tell me that he's done with diapers and is magically trained, right???
We dialed the pressure down but kept going as to not confuse him. Some days later, the number of accidents went down. He still generally does not communicate in advance that he needs to go. However, I think he's slowly learning to use those (many) opportunities when we take him to the potty to actually use it, at least at home. That's actually pretty great progress to me... as I will take ANYTHING at this point. We're giving it another couple of weeks before I would let myself give up.
While we are nowhere near trained at all, I am starting to see some hope that this will someday be something I can look back on with humor and tell myself that while I'm not a perfect parent, I'll get the job done with minimal permanent issues (I mean, I don't remember much of being potty trained, do you???). All the while, I'm trying my best to not make this unpleasant for my son. After all, he loves underwear and not getting diaper rashes anymore. And I love that even if the poop sometimes doesn't end up in the right place, at least it's not sticking all over in a diaper.