The Anatomy of Potty Training

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By Colleen Lowe Smith


At two years nine months, Cassidy is officially potty trained.  We never made a big deal about it, and going to a toddler Montessori class helped a lot since the other children were either trained or training, in a unisex bathroom.  A couple of the boys were even proficient enough to pee standing, and there was a little stint where Cassidy wanted to straddle the potty standing herself. It took a little explaining why that wasn’t possible.  She figured it out.


Skip a few months and she’s out of her pull-ups (except for overnights; not quite ready for that yet).  Living in a rural area, we have to drive, far, to get anywhere.  I make sure to request that she attempts  to go to the bathroom before we leave the house, though she doesn’t always cooperate.  This leaves me sometimes with the fear that she’ll have an accident in her car seat.  So far, this has not happened.


Today we were driving home from her first day in her own Montessori preschool class (a blog for another day), and on the highway, 25 minutes from home, she said the dreaded words:  “Mommy, I have to pee.”  There was really nowhere to pull over and even if there were, she will more often than not walk into a gas station or restaurant bathroom that she doesn’t like and say, “I don’t have to pee anymore.”


“Oh honey,” I said.  “Can you hold it?”  We weren’t that  far from home.


She hesitated, and then answered, seriously and thoughtfully, “Boys can hold it…”


It took me a minute.  I nearly choked.  “No!” I said.  “I mean, can you hold it inside your body until we get home?”


“Oh can I hold it inside my body.  Okay, Mommy.”


I just shook my head and smiled.  There are so many things she knows that I didn’t quite know she knew.


About Colleen Lowe Smith

Colleen Lowe Smith lived as a wanderer and Montessori pre-school teacher in ten different states and New Zealand before meeting her husband and landing in rural Massachusetts.  Together, they raise their two year old daughter, and pigs.  She also has a 14 year old stepdaughter and 24 year old stepson.  Obsessed with higher education, Colleen has an BA in Studio Art, a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Studies), a MFA in Writing, as well as AMI certifications in Montessori education, and Psychosynthesis, a holistic form of psychotherapy.  She currently teaches at an awesome Montessori school where her daughter also attends.   

One thought on “The Anatomy of Potty Training”

  1. Reading this brought a smile to my face. Kids have a way to surprise us, don’t they! We do potty training at our preschool and we have such amazing experiences at times. Cassidy is a beautiful little girl. God bless.

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