Today is day two of potty training Poppy. Look, I don’t love the term “potty training” either but I don’t know what else to call it. I’ve heard it referred to as “instilling toilet independence” but I dunno, seems to be more words for the same idea? Anyway, call it what you will, this week is devoted to getting Poppy out of diapers.

I don’t remember potty training Grady. I remember being lazy and letting him decide when he wanted to be out of diapers, and then when he did decide well after he turned four, he just stopped using diapers. We had some struggles getting him to give up Pull-Ups for pooping (I will never forget my Poop Doula days) but overall it was a relatively pain-free experience.

Poppy has some skin issues that would be better off not in the warm, dark, moist confines of a diaper. Her daycare is closed for two weeks so I’m home with her this week, and we’re spending next week at my parents’ house, so now is the perfect time for us to instill the crap out of some toilet independence. We figured she was physically ready (she goes long stretches with dry diapers, she knows when she’s going to go, she’s uncomfortable in a dirty diaper, etc.) but we were struggling with the mental aspect. Her tenacity is daunting. She told us she didn’t want to give up diapers and none of our attempts to frame it as fun, exciting, grown up, etc. worked to change her mind.

So I did what millennials do. I one-clicked a solution straight to my door.

Full disclosure: the book is long and my attention span is short. I made it about a third of the way through the book before our self-imposed start day but I credit what I learned in the first few chapters with getting us through an extremely rough first morning. I think my biggest takeaway of this experience so far is that diapers can provide a real sense of security. When Poppy woke up yesterday morning and her nighttime diaper came off and I reminded her she wouldn’t be wearing daytime diapers, she had what I can only describe as a toddler panic attack. There were buckets of tears (hers and mine), negotiations, confusion, anger, and regret (mine, all mine). But the book helped me stand firm while being empathetic instead of frustrated. We cuddled, read stories, coloured, listened to music, watched her favourite show, played cars, and talked about the potty a lot. We didn’t have a single successful toilet experience all morning, but it didn’t feel like a failure. My attention was 100% on Poppy for hours and to be completely honest, that doesn’t happen often.

Once we got through the challenge of morning, it was like a switch flipped. Poppy started voluntarily running to the potty on her own. We had some successes and some messes but we made it through day one.

I appreciated how the book prepared me for the first day. I didn’t expect to get anything else done, I knew I wasn’t going to leave the house, and I fully expected to be doing a whack of laundry that night. And all of those expectations were met.

We’re on day two but still in block one (the book separates the different stages of potty training into blocks) but Poppy’s confidence has grown. We even left the house in underpants and drove to the far away park, played, and made it home before Pops emptied her bladder on the bathroom floor. Progress, not perfection as the book says.

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