Oh potty training. There's no fun in it when you call it that. The other day I heard a mom ask her toddler if he wanted to take a "potty break" and I thought that I would try that with mine but what toddler would want to take a break from playing in the sand with his favorite excavator truck (that he so patiently waited to get from a boy who was playing with it). Mine said no. Then there was some bribing and bickering mixed in with a little bit of "two more minutes" screams and then off we went to take a "potty break."
My son is three in a week. I started potty training him at 9 months. No kidding. I have a picture of him at 9 months sitting on his potty with a book reading. Did he go? Yup. Did he know that he needed to go? Nope. And that's the difference. I timed it perfectly that he had to go and then placed him on the potty. That's not really teaching your child to go to the restroom, that's more of training yourself to catch when your child needs to go next. I read about those three day potty training systems or when you can invite a person to your home to train your child to go and I just thought all of that was ridiculous.
I was born in the Soviet Union and back there they didn't have diapers so potty training was encouraged as early as you could get a child to sit. I get it, it sounds very crucial when there are no diapers. Very unsanitary. Anyways, my parents are old school. They bought my son his first potty. When the whole 9 months training didn't work, I started back up at 18 months. Honestly by that point everyone was asking me why he isn't potty trained yet. Even my son's pediatrician kept asking. I felt guilty. I felt so pressured. I felt partially it was my fault because diapers are so convenient. I was too busy to keep up with that hassle. At that point I gave up and just moved on. I smiled when people would ask why he's two and still in diapers. My response was always, "he will get there when he's ready." And that's so true.
It happened and it happened on HIS time, not mine. My son so eagerly decided to use the potty on his own. It was kind of funny because he went on a diaper strike. I am no expert in the potty training field but there is one thing that I know, and I know that kids will start doing it on their own when they are ready. I was filled with guilt these last two years over potty training, but now I wish I didn't stress over it so much. My advise is to make going on the potty a family affair and incorporate something fun for the toddler to enjoy.
Here are my tips:
1. Wait to potty train until they are ready to tell you if they need to go. They need to be talking to tell you.
2. You can start earlier by taking them with you to the bathroom and explaining to them what the toilet is for
3. Buy potty training books. My son loves Elmo and I started reading him potty books around 18 months. I continued and he was so proud to say he was going to the potty like Elmo (you can find the links to the books below).
4. Make it fun. I got underwear in the themes of my son's favorite characters. He was excited to wear them!
5. Get a potty that your little one likes. I had the seat that you put in the toilet as well as a potty. He preferred the potty and I did too. Especially for night training. He could just get up in the middle of the night by himself and use the conveniently placed potty next to his bed.
6. Ask! Ask! And Ask! a hundred times if they need to go throughout the day. I started asking every 10-15 minutes, gradually increased it. Now my toddler says, "Mom, I will ask you if I need to go!" I still ask:)
7. Use an award/incentive system. It can be anything from "wow you did such a great job" to getting them a small toy when they are finally diaper free. We did a whole cheering thing when my son started going on his own. It made it fun for him.
8. Just remember all kids are different. It doesn't matter when your friends kids started going to the potty. Be patient!
9. Going poop on the potty is a whole different story. Get ready for constipation which is very common. I will discuss how to battle it in my next upcoming blogs.
10. Some kids are night trained faster, some aren't. Some will still have accidents. Just remind them it's okay that accidents happen and they can try again next time. If you make a big deal out of it then they will get scarred.
11. Remember to give less fluids during naps and before night time sleep.
12. I don't recommend pull ups. They don't teach your child not to pee in the diaper. Mine just thought they're diapers, so no potty training happened in them. Kids sometimes learn through accidents. They will understand that if they pee themselves while in underwear they will get wet. We learn from our mistakes right? Just encourage them and let them know next time they need to go in the potty.
If it doesn't happen at 18 months, it will happen at 2 or 3. All kids are different. Once they are ready they will let you know and potty training will be a breeze! Don't pressure them!
How many adults do you know that are wearing diapers?