I must take a moment and brag on my baby girl, Bella. I had been fighting, what felt like a losing battle, for the past 2 years trying to get her potty-trained. I first started trying when she was 18 months old but was already communicating to me that she had to use the bathroom. It didn’t work out well, though, because every time she actually had to sit on the toilet she got scared, of falling in I guess. And the traditional potty chairs were not a option as I quickly realized that using them was a bad idea when you have 3 little ones running around the house, and in and out of the bathroom all day long. Crawling babies + busy little fingers + chair sitting on the floor that could have urine in it at in given time = grossness. That’s why I was excited when I found the Bemis toilet seat that had a built-in potty seat. It fits smaller bodies and holds them up, which takes away the feeling of falling in. Bella was excited about it too, or at least the idea of it. I got the new toilet seat right after her 2nd birthday and tried potty-training again with this new approach. But she didn’t want to use the bathroom with this new toilet seat either. She didn’t want to take time away from playing to use it. I also tried rewarding her with everything I could think of. I would set a timer to go off every 15 minutes, and then I would take her to the bathroom…sometimes she would, but most of the time she would just sit there with nothing happening. I honestly don’t know how a little girl could drink so much, and sit on the toilet for so long, and still never pee. Except for, of course, when I would finally get her off the toilet because her legs were falling asleep. She would go as soon as I got her off the toilet and put a diaper back on her, however.
So then I figured that she just needed to wear panties so that she could feel wet and uncomfortable when she peed, and hopefully, that would make her want use the potty. Nope, wrong again. She didn’t mind being wet; she just kept right on playing – wet panties and all. I began to wonder if she had a physical ailment that kept her from feeling wet because who could be okay with just walking around in wet pants? Nobody, not even little newborn babies, hence the nonstop crying. But somehow she was. This led to much frustration, for me and her, so I would take a break from the whole ordeal, and then try again after a week or two, and we carried on like that for more than a year. I kept setting new goals: to have her using the potty by her third birthday ~ but that came and went…before we moved ~ no such luck…before Christmas ~ another fail…by the first of the year ~ still nothing.
Finally, I realized that this was something that was completely out of my control. I could continue to do everything I was doing, but if she didn’t decide to do it for herself, it just didn’t matter. She had to be ready. So I brought the matter into our bedtime prayers every night and asked God to help her, and me. And I noticed that she did start doing better. She would keep a dry diaper most of the time, but she would still not use the potty unless I made her. So then I decided to follow the advice of our pediatrician…I took her to the store and let her pick out something that she REALLY wanted, but I told her that we couldn’t get it for her until she went a whole week without having any accidents. She’s in love with My Little Pony right now, so I made sure that we went down that aisle of the toy store. And it was there that she found it, the thing she most wanted, a talking Princess Celestia. This was not your average, every day My Little Pony pony either ~ this pony was much bigger, had wings that moved and lit up, and was a whopping $20. And trust me, she WANTED it, real bad. So we came home and gave it another go. I bought training pants instead of diapers and prepared myself to just deal with whatever messes were to come. I got rid of the timer and decided to just leave it up to her to tell me when the “pee pee started coming.” And this time, any time she fussed I would remind her about Princess Celestia. Before I realized it, we were 3 days into a week without any accidents.
Sunday morning when Bella and I came downstairs, she asked me where we were going. I explained to her that we were gonna stay home to work on potty-training some more, (Justice was sick so I was keeping him home from church and decided to keep Bella home too) and when she started to complain and say that she didn’t want to, I reminded her that we couldn’t get Princess Celestia until she went a whole week without any accidents. So she said okay and walked away. But then, as I was walking away, I overheard her say, “Jesus, can you please help not to pee pee in my panties, and get Princess Celestia. Please help me pee pee in the potty, please help me.” I stopped and listened to make sure of what I was hearing. And she just kept saying over and over “please help me pee pee in the potty, please help me pee pee in the potty.” She was still saying it as I walked up to her, so I asked, “Bella, are you talking to me?” She replied, “No, I’m talking to Jesus!” And then the next day while we were eating breakfast, Bella pointed at the calendar on the fridge and asked me how many more days until she could get Princess Celestia, and immediately started asking Jesus for help again. And He did help her.
So, on Wednesday we got up and celebrated a whole week that Bella went without having any accidents. We went to the store and bought her her reward, and then we came home and had a Potty Party. She did it! She understood what she needed to do, she prayed and asked Jesus for help, all on her own, and she did it! So after 2 years of working, and striving, and trying, and rewarding, and bribing, and trying again…I can say that Bella is finally potty-trained, but not because of anything I did. She prayed and asked Jesus for help, and He did. I am so proud of her, but not for using the potty, but for understanding, as a 3 year old, that she needed God. So she asked Him for help, and won quite a victory.