The battle to potty train my 2 year old daughter feels a whole lot like the battle to be successful. My baby girl, Dylan, will be 3 in early February and we’ve been working for the last 12 months on trying to teach her how to use the potty. It’s been so much more difficult than it was with her two older brothers — who just figured it out.
We’ve talked to friends. Read some books about the subject. Used Google to figure out what we’re doing wrong. Nothing seemed to be working at all. Doing anything with an adorable 2-year-old who isn’t potty trained makes anything about 50,000 times more stressful.
That all magically fixed itself about a week ago.
As Sara and I were doing some evening grocery shopping together, Dylan happened to find that one toy aisle every grocery store seems to need to have. She quickly brought me Flashdance, which is a My Little Pony. If you don’t have daughters you probably wouldn’t know that.
She refused to let me put it in the cart because she knew that I would take it out when she wasn’t looking. So she held onto it until we got to the checkout aisle — and then passionately made her 2-year-old case for me to purchase it.
Which, of course, I did.
When we got home, I took Flashdance out of the packaging and gave it to her to play with. For a few hours, she was all about that pony. A few times Sara or I stopped her and asked: “Do you need to go to the potty?”
“No. No. No.” she would say, without even looking up from her play.
A few more minutes later she was tugging on my pants. “I’m wet, daddy. That’s gross.” I looked down and realized that her jeans were soaked. As a parent, it was one of those super frustrating moments.
It drives you mad.
And so I responded like any half crazed, underslept dad would respond. “Give me that pony,” I told her. “She is so upset with you.” I was just making it up as I went along, but the story sounded good so I stayed with it.
I took her new Flashdance and put it up on the on the counter and turned the pony’s head away from Dylan. “She is so upset right now, she doesn’t even want to look at you.”
Then I got Dylan undressed and cleaned up. She was heartbroken that she could no longer play with her pony.
That’s when the magic happened.
A few minutes later as I was explaining what the ruckus was all about to Sara we noticed that Dylan was missing — which usually means something is about to be broken or a wall is being turned into a canvas.
And then I saw her in our bathroom, sitting on the toilet. “Dad, I go poop” she said to me was a huge smile on her face. Sara and I were ecstatic. Clapping our hands and jumping around like fools. “Your pony is so proud of you,” I told her.
And we turned her ponies head around.
“See, now she wants to play with you.”
Since that crazy pony story, she’s been a master of the bathroom. She gets it. Problem solved. She figured it out.
Despite all the books and research and support from friends what worked seemed a lot like luck. What we thought would work, didn’t work at all. But, while we were working, while we were obsessed with figuring out this situation, the solution came to us.
Which is a reminder about how success happens.
Success often comes from unlikely channels.
Getting to where you want to be might be a noble cause, but don’t be surprised if you get there a different way than you are planning right now.
Be open to new ideas. Be open to change. Be open to doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes until you end up with your own pony success story.