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It's Possible: Potty Trained By 2

My daughter is one of those kids who essentially potty trained herself—obviously not completely, but she was showing all the signs long before I was actually ready to ditch the diapers.

The truth is, I never thought much about potty training. I'm one of those people who kind of just figured it happens when the time is right. But I'm also one of those people who likes to introduce concepts and allow children the opportunity to learn. So I got my daughter her first potty chair at about 16 months and we added sitting on it before bath time to our nightly routine.

There was never any pressure about it. Weeks went by and she did nothing but sit there. It was two minutes a day of her getting used to the potty.

RELATED: Newbie Parents, You Need to Potty Train, Too

But then, around 18 months, she peed on that potty for the first time. I hadn't been expecting it so I totally flipped out in excitement. We called everyone we knew and she got a treat in celebration.

It was a few more days before she did it again, but over the next month or so she started going on the potty more and more. By 20 months, she was bringing me fresh diapers and asking to be changed whenever she dirtied herself throughout the day. By 21 months, she had taken her first poo-poo in the potty and was starting to ask to go there rather than using her diaper.

All of this was completely unprompted by me. But I couldn't deny it much longer. My kid was ready to be potty trained.

I was the one who was dragging my feet.

You see, I kind of liked the reassurance of diapers. I liked not having to worry about where she would go on long road trips or being afraid of her pissing in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store. So I held off as long as I could. But as my daughter's second birthday approached, I could deny the truth no longer. She was ready.

I knew that the word "impossible" is one of my least favorites ... particularly when it comes to my child.

Following the lead of close friends who had successfully potty trained their 2.5-year-old son, I began looking into the various three-day potty training methods. I knew there were a lot of thought processes on how to best tackle potty training, but these methods suited my mindset; I tend to be the type of person who likes to just dive right into whatever I'm doing.

Everything I read about these methods made sense to me, including the arguments for ridding your life of diapers entirely because continuing to use diapers occasionally (or at night) could create confusion for children who then don't know when it is and is not OK to go in their pants. I also agreed that pull-ups probably aren't the best intermediary. After all aren't they basically still diapers themselves?

So, in my go hard or go home mindset, I decided that the weekend before my girl's second birthday, we would trash all the diapers and go all out. Yes, even for night training.

I posted something to this effect on my Facebook page and received a variety of responses. Several people claimed it was "impossible" to night train a child, that they weren't physiologically ready to wake up and go to the bathroom until around 4. These people cited experts and told me not to even try. But others chimed in that they had followed the same methods I was considering, to great success. One told me her daughter had never had a dry diaper at night before they went diaper-free, but within a few weeks, she was both night and day trained.

And those friends of mine who had used the same method? Their 2.5-year-old was also going through the night accident-free.

I knew that the "experts" were torn on this one, and I assumed that was probably because all kids are different. Years ago, I knew a family with an 11- and 9-year old who were both still wetting the bed. Their mother had experienced the same problem growing up. For some kids, it's just harder. And there is only so much that can be done about that.

But, I also knew that the word "impossible" is one of my least favorites, and that I didn't like the idea of discounting the possibility of anything without first trying it, particularly when it comes to my child. Why would I ever be so quick to assume she "can't" do something without at least giving her the opportunity to prove me wrong?

It was frustrating, if only because it felt as though there was no rhyme or reason to any of it. But just as suddenly, the accidents were over.

So, that fateful weekend came and we went all in. That first day was less than enjoyable. A lot of urine wound up on the floor (most of her poop, too). By the end of the day, I was questioning my reasoning behind this whole plan. Maybe she was too young? Maybe she wasn't ready yet? Maybe we should just quit?

But by day two, something seemed to have clicked. We had only one accident. Day three was completely accident-free.

One thing no one warned me of was that those three days weren't the end of it. Over the next two to three weeks, we had a handful of accidents. She would go three or four days perfectly, and then suddenly pee her pants three times the next day. It was frustrating, if only because it felt as though there was no rhyme or reason to any of it. But just as suddenly, the accidents were over. It was a few weeks of extra work, and then she was fully trained. We haven't had an accident in weeks.

The night training was a little different. I followed the "rules." I began limiting her liquids a few hours before bed, put her down without diapers and got her up once in the middle of the night myself for a potty break. But she was still wetting the bed somewhere between that middle of the night trip and when she would get up in the morning. What was worse was that she didn't seem to be bothered by it, so I never knew how long she had been sitting in her own urine. And she still had pee to put in the potty when I got her up. I have no idea where all that fluid came from!

After about 10 nights of that, I gave up. She was doing well with day training, but hadn't had a single dry night. And I was tired of doing all that laundry. So I put her in a diaper and called it good. I told myself we would attempt nights again in six months.

Here's the irony: A few nights later, she woke up in the middle of the night yelling out "potty, potty." So, I took her. And the next morning, she got up dry.

That trend continued, even with the diapers on. She now calls out for me once most nights to go to the bathroom and wakes up in the morning dry at least five nights a week.

Don't automatically discount anything as impossible when it comes to your kid and potty training.

Something had clicked. And thankfully, that something wasn't hindered by my giving up and reverting back to diapers.

Those nights still aren't perfect. But just a month past her second birthday, they are vastly improved from what I had thought possible when I put her back in nighttime diapers. I truly believe that is due, at least in part, to the fact that we started out diaper-free. I certainly don't think it would have happened if we hadn't gone all in and at least tried.

But here is where I admit to another truth: Our life is not better because my child is now potty trained. In fact, in a lot of ways, it is now much harder. She totally uses the potty to manipulate me, suddenly needing to go every time we are in a new environment or are doing things she doesn't want to be doing. Plus, my child, who has been sleeping through the night since she was about 6 weeks old now wakes up at least once almost every night for a potty trip. Unlike during the day, when she is perfectly capable of going on her own, she wants me with her during those middle-of-the-night potties. She goes right back to bed after and I'm usually still awake when it happens anyway, but it's certainly more of a hassle than diapers ever were.

So I get that this method might not be for everyone. I understand those parents who say they would rather stick to pull-ups and take their time, even if it means another year or two of potty training. I don't see anything wrong with either way of doing things; I think it is all about deciding what is best for you and your kid.

RELATED: 5 Lessons I Hope My Daughter Learns From My Past

My only point is: Don't automatically discount anything as impossible when it comes to your kid and potty training. Because you never know, they just might surprise you.

If nothing else, we're saving about $50 a month on diapers now, which is always a nice win for a single mommy on a budget!

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