By: Tanya Pimental
When I look back at my experience in potty training my first born, I realize how much I learned from her. I feel somewhat a fraud in posting about potty training, because I really didn’t do it. Maybe that is the key thing in our situation. At the end of it, the most important thing is they get trained to use the toilet and in time to start school.
Anyone who tells you there 18-month-old is potty trained is full of it. I admit that it is possible, but in reality, it’s rare from what I can see and not without endless stress and accidents. So to that point, let me tell you my daughter was a month shy of her 4th birthday, before we were able to say she was potty trained. If you are starting to feel like your kid will never get there, just remember that each one is different and that my kid was on the later side in this regard.
It stressed me out beyond belief. I felt like a failure in this regard. Why wouldn’t she use the toilet? Well, she just didn’t want to. Could she? Was she ready? Did her Mom ask her 50 times a day to try to use the potty? Yes. Yes. Yes. It didn’t matter. She was going to do it when she wanted to and as soon as I stopped talking about and internalized the stress she was causing me as an embarrassed mom, she finally decided she wanted to wear underwear. We went from full time diapers to underwear all day and overnight with maybe one accident ever. Yup, she trained herself.
There are endless gadgets out there and tips and tricks. They work for some folks and not others. For me they seem like a lot of time and effort. I don’t have any extra minutes in the day and quite frankly, I’d rather focus any effort I have in a day to something more fun than timing when I need to get my kid to sit on the toilet. I guess this is just how I parent.
This post was brewing in my head after I went to pick up my middle man from child watch today at the Y. He was sitting at a table “reading” the Potty Book for Girls. It made me giggle. Admittedly, had he been sitting there in a diaper and I had been trying to get him to train, I’d have been annoyed. But instead, he was there wearing spider man underoos. It feels so good to have two kids out of diapers.
The promise of awesome potty prizes and special days full of fun did nothing in the way of getting him interested. I realized quickly he was going to be just like his sister in this regard and I was ok with that. If it meant I didn’t have to push and that I didn’t have to deal with accidents in the process, I decided that I was taking the backseat once again and letting it happen when it was going to happen.
Shockingly, it happened about a month ago. The trick in his case was nudity. He was pantless for about a week once he used the potty all on his own. And it worked! Once we were able to put pants on, we tried venturing out without a diaper and it was a success. There have been a few accidents, but really nothing to major. He has rocked the potty.
Lesson learned for me is that you don’t need the potty chart, the rolls of stickers, the special seat, a timer to help you remind them or anything else. It’s going to happen when they are good and ready. It’s easy for me to tell you not to stress about it, but that is only because I surely did the first time around. But trust me, it doesn’t have to take over your life.
If you are however looking for something fun, we love this book around here, How to Potty Train Your Monster by Kelly DiPucchio. It may just be the subtle hint at bedtime that it’s time to start thinking about loosing the diapers.