Hi, my name is Shannon Strogal, I am a wife and a mother to four children ages 22, 13, 11 and 8. I work full-time as a strength and conditioning fitness coach in Regina. My passion in supporting women’s health, both mentally and physically, started from my own personal experiences. I hope my blogs inspire and resonate with fellow mothers. I truly believe that behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.
For parents there’s hardly a more frustrating milestone then potty training. All though we hope that the transition from diapers to underwear will be somewhat smooth, the truth is that it’s a process.
My potty training experience was so vastly different from one child to the next, that after four children potty training is still no picnic in the park.
With our first child, he was literally trained by the baby sitter in like a day. I picked him up at the end of the day and she said, “he had a good day and oh by the way, he’s potty trained”. I had no part in it at all, the sitter was obviously a magical potty training wizard. Fast forward 10 years later to the birth of our second child and the memory of potty training brings me back to enormous amounts of tears and frustration. It all started with family, mainly the grandparents and great grandparents that started questioning why our daughter wasn’t potty trained yet. I don’t recall anymore but I believe she was around the age of two. I started to hear how this person’s child and that person’s child were already trained, and so the pressure began.
We started with timing potty visits, we tried rewards, we tried sticker charts, we tried sitting there until in happened by fluke, we tried no diaper, pull ups, regular underwear, we literally tried everything…..and nothing worked. I was so completely stressed out, feeling like an absolute failure. I remember going out for a family supper and sitting in the parking lot before we were about to enter the restaurant and having a total break down from complete exhaustion from an entire day of potty training madness and cleaning up multiple accidents.
I don’t know when the exact moment was, perhaps it was in the parking lot that day, but I gave in and decided to ignore what everyone else was saying and to just leave it alone for awhile as it was obvious that she just wasn’t ready. 2 months or so later, she actually said to me she had to go potty and that was it, she was ready and it was done, just like that.
By the time our third child was ready I was much wiser, or bull-headed, and there was no way I was going to let anyone tell me when I should be potty training this one. I went with the flow and when our son was ready he let us know, and it was relatively smooth (ok, maybe not the learning to aim down part) but the entire process was fairly non stressful.
Our fourth child is special needs and this has a whole other dynamic when it comes to be able to be toileted but that’s for a whole other discussion.
In the end I’ve learned that no one can tell you when you should potty train your child, and it doesn’t matter if your cousins child was potty trained at 18 months. All children are individuals and will all be ready in their own time. So don’t beat yourself up, if after a few days it just doesn’t seem to be sinking in, they may just need a bit longer, or you may even need to give them a few more months to try again.