Ah, potty training! Go to a local bookstore and you’ll find dozens of books on the subject. Search the net and there are thousands of websites with information on how to do it without stress. There are even people who are capitalizing on parents’ frustration with potty training by offering to do it for you, for a hefty fee! Honestly, I can’t imagine anything more unseemly than paying someone to teach my son to “go.”
I have successfully potty trained two out of 3 children so far, baby number 3 is only 14 months old so he is problem free for at least a few months 😉
I seem to be the envy of playgroups when other moms see that my 3 year old has been in white leggings for over a year. My oldest son was also 2 years old when he was potty trained.
For me, potty training starts with a newborn. Now, don’t get me wrong… I change my babies’ diapers (unlike the native African mothers who carry their babies on their backs and who, to keep them from getting dirty, learn to read their babies’ signs so well who know when their newborn needs to be carried over a bush…no I’m not kidding!) but I’ve always used cloth diapers, which encourages babies to potty train early. I’m not a long-haired, barefoot, off-the-grid hippie (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you’re more likely to find me in Doc Martens than Birkenstocks!), but I’ve been changing diapers since the beginning. . .
It has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but I also like the fact that my babies begin to associate the uncomfortable feeling of wetness and know that they can prevent it. Most babies wake up dry in the morning at several months of age, showing that they are physically capable of “holding it together.” In my opinion Pull Ups are evil and yet another invention from a smart businessman that parents now think is a necessity. Along with formula, baby swings and the like. Pull Ups only allow a 5 year old to continue to get dirty. Research has shown that babies in cloth diapers are potty trained several months earlier than babies in disposable diapers.
So here’s Grandma’s recipe (and I owe it to my mom, like most of the good things I know about parenting) for easy potty training, even if you choose not to wear cloth diapers. .
Let your baby go into the bathroom when you go. That way, they know what’s going on there. You don’t have to be graphic, just talk to them about what toilets are for. If you’re a woman who’s home all day with boys, encourage Dad to show them how it’s done. You don’t want them to think that if they go to the bathroom their equipment will fall off, as Mom obviously did. Strange, but true…some children will come to this conclusion.
Buy 3 or 4 of those cheap molded plastic potties and put them around the house. At least one in each bathroom and one in the kitchen or in the room where you spend the most time with your child. Stick a towel underneath for the sake of your rug if said child is a boy. Speaking of guys… you can take advantage of nature here by keeping an open mind. I know of at least one child who was trained when his mom dropped him over the side of the deck.
The summer that your son is closer to two, take two days and do not leave the house. Let your child run around naked from the waist down, with a large t-shirt on top so private parts stay private.
Every 10 minutes, naturally place the child in the pot. DON’T ASK crazy questions like “Do you need to go to the bathroom, honey!?” We’re talking about dealing with a two year old here! Just do it like it’s the right thing to do, and don’t ask for permission. Don’t force him, and if he wants to get up right away, let him. If you have a resistant child, set a timer to go off every 10 minutes. It’s amazing what a child will do when the power dynamic is taken away from them. When the “potty timer” goes off, it’s time to sit on the pot!
Use praise but don’t overdo it. Act as if this is expected. Just relax. Say “You pee in the potty, just like mommy and daddy (and your older brother, and your older playgroup friend…Thirds are gold here!!).
Do not give too much importance to what is happening. Don’t spend hours reading potty training books or videos to your child. Again, be cool. If you make it a big deal, your child is more likely to get involved and resist.
Have some “big boy shorts” or “big girl panties” that you know your son will like, maybe you’ve picked out together, ready by the end of the two days. Your child is less likely to have accidents if he soils his new underwear.
When the inevitable accidents happen, don’t scold. Be patient and kind. This is part of the job. Remember that even if you decide to go into carpet cleaning, you’ll still win if you don’t have to buy diapers for another year or two!