By: Tanya Pimental
My strategy for eliminating diapers likely differs from most. I learned so much from first born in regards to potty training. Honestly, I thought she’d go off to middle school wearing diapers. I felt so much parent shame. It made me truly unravel at times. She’s a smart and sweet 9 year old now who stopped wearing diapers a month shy of her 4th birthday.
Yes, you read that right. She was almost 4 and she was wearing diapers. It made me feel like an awful parent. One of my biggest jobs was to get her into underwear and I felt like I had failed. We spent months talking about it. This kid was talking in complete sentences at 18 months. I really did try all the tricks. She just had a mind of her own. And guess what, the day she decided to wear underwear was it. She never had an accident and was both day and night trained with a flip of a switch. The year of talking about it, encouraging potty use, and shaming her diaper wearing was all pointless. She did it all on her own when she was ready. Imagine that.
With my son, I chose to let him take the lead. There was no way I was going to deal with endless battles to use the potty. I casually bought underwear but never made a big deal about using the bathroom. And imagine how great it was at 3.5 when he decided he wanted to ditch the diapers. It was easy. My first born had taught me to not stress. She taught me that not all kids are potty trained and diaper free at two years old like some would have you believe. I wasn’t chasing him down every twenty minutes to try. I didn’t have to deal with all the extra changes of clothes when we were out and about. He has always been the easy one.
Here I am with my third. She’s got a spunky personality and a “you can’t make me do anything” attitude. She is 3.5 and still wearing diapers. That said, she has a crazy obsession with all things potty related. Potty talk and pretend doll house potty use are all the rage. Heck, she has watched the same episode of Daniel Tiger where Prince Wednesday uses the potty, over and over and over. Just when I thought I should intervene and run with it, about a week ago she announced she needed to use the potty and much to my delight , she did. There she sat in all her glory. And now we off on this potty training railway. Despite our making strides daily, we did deal with a number two in the tub today. But I guess it’s safe to say we are on our way to being a family of five underwear wearers.
My advice to those gearing up to make the move to being diaper free is simply to let your child take the lead. Don’t rush it. No one wants to rush to a bathroom from the back corner of Target or ask your kid to try try every time the timer buzzes. Accidents are no fun at home or out and about. Start out slow and keep things casual. Read books like, How to Potty Train Your Monster. Point out how awesome underwear is to have in your wardrobe. I promise you, from a mom of three, that your child will not wear diapers into middle school. And lastly, if your three or almost four year old hasn’t quite made the leap from diapers, don’t dismay as you are certainly not alone.