Little Miss Perfect

We’ve had a major development since the beginning of the New Year.  Ella has potty trained!  *happy dance*


She started the process about a year ago, right after Penny was born (and shortly after I started blogging).  I chose to ignore it.  No way I was going to potty train an 19 month old with a newborn.  Plus, having already trained Samantha, I knew it was an interest versus actual readiness.  I decided to be zen with her potty training and just let it happen.  So for the last year she’s been going on the potty once or twice a day when the whim hit her.

I upped the ante a couple months ago when I realized she was going #2 almost always on the potty and never #1 by bringing out the M&M bribes. I know not everyone is into the bribery, some only use stickers, but I use M&M’s.  My kids find candy highly motivating.  Stickers, not so much. One for #1, two for #2, and when they figure it out, three for both.  It worked well for Samantha, who no longer gets a reward for using the potty, and it’s working well for Ella.  (Except the part where I’m afraid she might give herself a hernia trying for three.)

Anyway, we noticed the time was coming close around Thanksgiving when she started taking her diaper off and going to the potty virtually every time on her own.  Again, though, I waited.  The zen moment had not happened.  Plus, no way I was potty training during the holidays.  I told Ella we would potty train after we got home from Grandma’s on New Year’s, and she seemed excited.

Then, the zen moment happened.  Ella announced she wanted to wear panties.  I offered a pull-up, fearful of the cleaning I was going to have to do, but she insisted as only a two year old can, with an epic tantrum.  Fine. Panties. And that was it. She was trained.   One accident day two and no more.

I should have known.  Ella does things when she’s ready.  She always has.  She crawled the latest of the three at 6 1/2 months.  She would get on her hands and knees and not move for weeks.  Then, one day, she just took off.  Crawling like a pro.  Taking the step in our house without falling on her face.  Same thing with walking.  She just stood for the longest time.  Again, my latest walker at 10 1/2 months.  But the day she took her first step, she walked.  No falling.  No black and blue bottom like her older sister.  She was ready and she did it.  That’s just her personality.  She knows what she wants, when she wants it, and how to get it with no help.   I’ve always thought of it as her being very independent and, ahem, strong willed.

Of course she would potty train herself without needing help.  That’s just Ella.  When she has to go, she goes. Alone. With the door closed please. Nice for me, I know.

Then came the first day she went to school potty trained.  I was concerned she’d have an accident with all the distractions so I got her into a pull-up (with panties over it).  We told her teacher she was potty training and crossed our fingers.  When we picked her up, her teacher said she did a great job and just went all by herself when she needed to (of course she did) and she should just wear panties to school.

Encouraged, that’s just what I did the next time she went.  When I picked her up, her teacher said she had an accident.  She went to the potty, but couldn’t get her leggings down fast enough.  And she was distraught.  That was the word she used.  Distraught.  She told Ella that accidents were okay and no big deal.   But it was a big deal to Ella.  Ella doesn’t have accidents.

When we got home I told her how proud I was of her for being potty trained and what a great job she was doing and how fast she was training and what a big girl she was.

And she said, “But I’m not.”

“You’re not what?” I asked.

“I not doing a good job.  I peed on the floor.”

And then it hit me.  Ella is not independent and strong willed (well, ok, she is), she’s a perfectionist.  And it makes me sad.   It’s not that I don’t want her to try her best and do something perfectly if she can.  I just don’t want her putting that kind of pressure on herself.  At two and a half. To not try something because she might fail.  To beat herself up over a mistake. I want her to be happy with herself, just how she is.  Peeing on the floor and all.

Do you have a little perfectionist?  What do you do to help them mellow a little?  Maybe she needs some yoga?

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9 Responses to “Little Miss Perfect”

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  1. NotJustAnotherJennifer
    Twitter: MidwestMomments

    Yes, yes, yes! Our 3 YO DD is a perfectionist. She gets upset when she has an accident, too, she wants her blankets fluffed out perfectly flat, etc. I worried that she had OCD. But then there are things she does that are typical preschooler stuff and I know she’s fine. I try to remember not to get mad at myself over mistakes I make and let her know it’s ok to mess up. It’s tough though. Great post!

  2. Nice site, from a children author

  3. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
    Twitter: kristinglas

    Hmm, that is tricky. Keep changing her routine up, don’t let her do everything the same way everytime. Reinforce the practice to improve idea. I’m not really sure.

  4. Moomser
    Twitter: moomser

    Having a perfectionist is hard, but it’s the way she is. I don’t think there’s a lot you can do other than just telling her it’s ok when things don’t go exactly right. She’ll always be her own toughest critic but at least she’ll have comfort from you when she can’t comfort herself, and that certainly helps.


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