Toddler decision making

Potty training has been quite an experience in our house. We’ve had the range of experiences with the kids, from super-easy (Woody) to fairly challenging (Sunshine) and in between (Alfs).

Sunshine started the whole potty training process about a year ago. It was slow and accident filled for a couple months, but oh, she loved her Dora underwear, so we kept at it. Then things seemed to click, or mostly click. We were, however, continuing to use Dora pull-ups overnight.
We continued using pull-ups through the summer, with only an occasional overnight accident. In early September, Sunshine and I talked and I convinced her she didn’t need the pull-ups. She hadn’t had an overnight accident in about a month.

Of course, over the next two weeks she had several nighttime accidents, in spite of doing all we could to prevent them. Seems she wasn’t quite ready on some psychological level to give them up. So we went and bought more pull-ups. And she had no more overnight accidents.

Just before Christmas we “accidentally” ran out of pull-ups. I admit it, I was getting pretty tired of them. I really, really wanted my years of investment in Pampers and Huggies to be over once and for all.

The first night, Sunshine was really upset not to have pull-ups. I told her we could go get some the next day. She perked up when I said that and asked to get princess pull-ups. I said, “We’ll see.”

The next day we, gosh, forgot to go to the store. Again, at night, Sunshine was upset about not having pull-ups. This time she got a little whiny and said she really needed them. I said I thought she was doing great without them.

This overall pattern continued for three weeks. Sunshine sad about not having pull-ups at bedtime, me saying we could get some the next day, Sunshine getting through the night just fine with no accident, me “forgetting” to get pull-ups at the store the next day. Rinse and repeat.

Until this last Sunday, that is. Sunshine was sitting at the table about to eat breakfast when she jumped up, “Ooh! I need to go potty!” Off she went to the bathroom. She called for my help with the light switch, and after I turned the light on for her, she turned around and said, arms out and palms to the sky, “Mommy, I didn’t need a pull-up afterall!”

And that was that.

I find it fascinating to watch the toddler brain in action. The developmental hops, skips and leaps that happen almost daily. The firm decision-making, the determination. I keep telling myself that I need to take a mental snapshot of this or that moment so that when the kids are all grown up, I’ll remember the beginning of this trait or that one. Clearly, when Sunshine makes up her mind, she really makes up her mind.


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