Monday, June 17, 2013

The Potty Training Contest I'm No Longer Winning.

You see I've won it before- the potty training contest. I won it in a big way: I had a boy potty trained at the ripe ol' age of 2.

Trust me, I did a lot of other crazy things that first time around in motherhood. I read books, which I never do (are blogs books?), I watched baby-shushing DVDs, I wrote down feeding times... Heck, I even scrap booked my pregnancy... Oh! And wait for it- I kept a journal of the first year of Cormac's life. Man that first child was spoiled!

Around the time he was turning two, I went on a short stint of bed rest because my daughter decided to prove in the womb that she was going to be a handful (nothing has changed). Before the bed rest happened I was in full blown potty-training mode with my almost 2 year old boy. I had a goal, it was simple: NO 2 kids in diapers. My daughter was set to come when Cormac was 2 years, 5 months. Therefore, I wanted him trained by 2 years, 2 months- so that it was a DONE deal. At 26 weeks pregnant with Birdie I was ordered to sit (more like lay) down and I told my husband he MUST seal the deal and do away with the diapers because who knew how long I'd be down and out. I mean, we had a second child coming- I couldn't change 2 kids' diapers. Shawn took the task seriously and got it done. He did the running him to the potty and I did the cheering from the couch. It didn't seem as hard as everyone made it out to be. We bought a couple books, and dished out a little candy, the rest came naturally and he seemed very "ready" to move in to big boy undies.

After Cormac was trained, I remember thinking, "Whew... he's 2... I've SO won. We're good- NO one can give us the weird, 'why is your kids still in diapers look?'" It was a huge relief to me and I felt good about telling people, "He potty trained at 2, it CAN be done!" Omg, I was that mom. That mom I am now cursing in my head. And now I know someone has definitely cursed me in their head.

In the last few weeks I've had a few friends, (whom I still love)- subtly mention to me that it's getting close to potty training time for my almost 2-year-old girl. One nursery worker recently told me, "She's ready to be potty trained, what are you waiting for?" Thanks, it hadn't crossed my mind. Oh wait... YES IT HAS. I mean, I get it- she's a girl and I had a boy potty trained at slightly over 2. People are expecting an overnight miracle potty training sesh from the O'Brien family. Oh, it'll be a miracle alright...

Here's the thing. There have been tons of gender stereotypes shoved down my throat from the minute I popped that first kid out. Stereotypes about boys vs. girls when it comes to walking, talking and of course... potty training. I totally bought into it when I was pregnant with my son. It all sounded great to me- I ate that stuff up. When we had a pretty easy time potty training our son, of course I figured I'd be hanging our daughter over a toilet at 6 months because she'd be signaling "Poo Poo" to me. Instead she was digging in her diaper and smearing it on the walls at 6 months. Too far? Sorry.

Well at 23 months, Birdie has given up on potty training, and so have I- for now anyway. Let me explain how it happened. After my last party we hit the ground running... I figured we were good- we had a full month before she'd be 2 and I said, "Let's DO this Birdie!" For two days she seemed into the idea. I stripped off the diaper, got out the potty, showed her the candy and asked big brother to help me cheer her on.

Within the first 10 minutes she performed. Done and done, I thought. Easy peasy. My 4-year-old and I jumped up and down and practically threw Swedish Fish at her face. We also danced. And clapped. And of course ran out and bought Barbie underwear. And she danced and clapped.... and very much admired those Barbie underwear.

Birdie yelled, "Poop in the potty!" a lot over the next two days. She talked about the potty nonstop actually. I'd rush her to it and cheer her on and she had at least a 50/50 success rate. But on the 3rd day she started yelling 2 terrible words: "No potty!" and getting right off of it the minute I put her on. We were having a major change in the tide in our excited potty house. She still wanted to talk about going potty, but she'd mainly just talk about it and then go. As in, wherever she was at that moment of talking about it- she'd go. Floor, grass, carpet...she had no preference. At one point she literally pooped on the floor directly next to the potty, I think her hand was even touching the potty. I kept reminding her about the candy, the dancing, the clapping and cheering... and don't forget the Barbie underwear. And suddenly she didn't seem to care about any of them one. little. bit. Hmmm... this was not exactly what I had in mind when she went the first time 10 minutes after bringing the potty out.

But now that I think about it... Birdie in general is not really what I've ever had in mind... She is a child who marches to the beat of her own drum. And that drum is playing reggae or some other crazy beat I have yet to figure out.

When Birdie was 9 months old I was shopping at Target one day (ok, every day) rounding out the baby section when another mom with a baby girl asked me Birdie's age. We quickly stumbled upon the fact the girls had the exact same birthday. Everyone knows this is a recipe for disaster. Especially being as it was the woman's first child. She whipped out a list of questions about what Birdie was doing and then she did it, she had her daughter clap for us. And then wave at us. My anxiety set in... Crap... we've got some homework to do...

Cormac hit all of his milestones early and I mentally gave myself a gold star for each one. And now here I was in Target doubting my mom skills because a stranger had made me aware of the fact that I couldn't even remember if I'd ever even shown Birdie how to clap... let alone wave. I felt behind in the contest. After that 9-month-old clapping/waving baby stranger, I suddenly felt like I was actually failing the contest. I used to have gold stars and "two year old potty training" stories... and now- now my daughter wasn't even waving to other babies- with the same birthday!

Fast forward to today... today I've moved on from all of the mom-contests. I'm over them. I refuse to frustrate the house hold with the idea that she must be trained at 2. My daughter is not ready to potty train. I know it. She knows it. Even brother knows it. It sounded like an ideal plan... because my other child did it. And I'm seeing for the first time in motherhood that yes, it's all true... every kid actually IS different. My daughter crawled early, my son didn't. My son potty trained early... my daughter is not. My kids are not fitting ANY of the gender stereotypes. Not one. All the weird mom-competition for what kid did what first? Done with it. If your kids wants to potty train at birth- awesome. 18 months? Good for you. 3? Sounds great. 5? Ok, now you're pushing it...

                                                                      xo Potty or Die xo

When I asked Birdie if she wanted to be a "Big Girl" she just yelled, "NO, Baby!" Alright... awesome.
Does she look like she's going to be an easy child to potty train?
On the 3rd day she woke up to "play" with the potty. I found it marked up (like everything else in our house in case you're not following me at @misspartymom on Instagram) and her toothbrushes had found a home.

While Google Imaging "potties" I came across this terrible idea. I mean, REALLY? 

I do not need to give my daughter a reason to have a gambling problem...

This is the only potty I found in my search that I thought was cute and modern... although Birdie would have the toilet paper unraveled in record breaking time and then shredded all over the house (not like she's EVER done this).... so I think we'll pass.
It was a great thought... full of ambition... we'll meet again in a few months great thought, and try- try again.

Potty Parties are the new party rage. You would think a party planner like myself would be really in to the idea of throwing one.  I like that it's a new party idea... and that this one by Mindy of Creative Juice is adorable (see the entire party on her blog here). I'm personally not going to throw a party in honor of poop- I do have a party drawing line.

Now these donut potties by Bonnie Nouvelle I could get in to. Quick, easy and a little congratulations snack after all is said and done seems about right? See the tutorial on the Bonnie Nouvelle blog here.

Annnnnd now we've officially gone too far. Party exit, happening now... (also from the Bonnie Nouvelle blog- link to full party above)

For now... I'll just use cuter diapers, to- you know... cheer me up... (see link below for more info)


  1. Oh my gosh you are hilarious! I have to agree mommy contests are typical for the first child mommas. I think that second and third kid always always always makes you eat your "perfect parenting" words! Another great, honest post from you friend!

    1. Says the woman who's had all 3 boys potty trained before 2, you are my idol... write a book or something already.

  2. this is quite possibly my favorite post of yours EVER.....and I am sooooooo glad that I do not have to attend a Potty Party of yours anytime soon! By the way, Massimo still seems to prefer Birdie's hot pink paci to any of his own....yet again, another example of how much I'VE let go after having FOUR kids that beat to their own drummer. Did I ever think I would be strolling through Albertsons with a 22 month old with a hot pink paci in his mouth? Thank goodness this is our last one.

    1. This literally made me LOL at Kay's... However when I'm searching endlessly for a paci I'm cursing the day I ever left that one at your house!

  3. italia didnt potty train until 3. because i dont push ANYTHING. why make my life harder and put pressure on? She also still sleeps with a pacifier at nap time. But guess what? She knows how to clap and wave... hahaha... just kidding. But seriously. who cares. No-one will go to prom with a pull up and pacifier. It will all work itself out. I do admit though, it was nice on the wallet, when we were able to stop buying diapers! xo your blogs are fun.

    1. Yes I'm learning to let go and stop pushing stuff I thought "should" have happened by now. Did I mention Cormac still had night time accidents? Maybe 2 was too young... whatever, we rejoice in the dry nights!

  4. LOL.. I remember thinking, "What terrible 2's?" when my first one hit it & passed it. I thought they just didn't know how to "talk to their kids"... That is... until my second child hit the terrible twos & I thought, "Oh THOSE terrible twos! Got it". Yep every kid is different & those momy contest will always be here. Loved reading about yours!

    1. Oh "Terrible 2's"- you have not been kind to me with either child- esp. this girl of mine! No fair!

  5. my Boy wasn't potty trained until he was three my family would push but he just wasn't ready. He was ready at 3 he saw his cousins racing to go and he went just like that all by himself. I was upset with myself too I can relate but Birdie will when she good and ready.


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