Before Jack was even born, there was one thing I was already dreading.
Although I had worked at a daycare for several years and helped to potty train many children, it was something I did not look forward to with my own children.
It seemed like from the day he was born, I was seeing articles about the infamous three-day method at 18 months or why I should potty train him as an infant.
Instead of feeling motivated and empowered, I felt kind of annoyed. Can’t I just let my baby, well, be a baby?
So, I ignored all of that until Jack turned about two. I thought it might be a good time to try potty training him.
He wasn’t having it.
A year later, almost on his third birthday, we tried again. And he was potty trained within a day.
It was at that point that I realized the real secret to potty training:
There isn’t one.
Now, before you exit out or call me crazy, hear me out. This is for all those moms (like me) who might have felt a little frustrated at their child not potty training the “right” way or the “right” time. I know I only have one child who has been potty trained, but I worked in a daycare for two years with the two and three-year-olds, and I observed this time and time again. I also have lots of nieces and nephews and a mother who had six children, so I like to think I’ve seen many different stages of potty training! For every three-day potty training success story out there, there’s a story of a child who didn’t potty train until they were four, despite their parent’s best efforts.
You just have to show some patience.
I’ll admit, when I saw some of my other friends potty training their kids super early, I felt a bit like a failure. But then I remembered – he’s only two. Why was I in such a big rush?
[clickToTweet tweet=”No child will go to college without being potty trained.” quote=”No child will go to college without being potty trained.”]
Right before we moved to Colorado, we introduced the idea of the potty to Jack. He thought it was interesting, but he really didn’t seem interested or ready. Sure, I could have made myself stay at home for three days and try and get him to do it, but since we were moving and not even going to be living in the same place for more than two weeks at a time for over a month…it wasn’t the right time. The previous four months had been us constantly going different places, and I do believe a child needs a consistent environment to potty train.
So, right before Jack’s third birthday,I was talking to my sister-in-law, Charbel. She told me how she realized that when she was potty training her oldest, Benji, that she just didn’t need to stress out about it, and that he would eventually figure it out. And guess what – he did. After she told me this, I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about it either.
As I already said, right after Jack turned three, it’s like a light just turned out. We really hadn’t pushed potty training for a little while (beyond buying a potty chair), but one day we asked him if he wanted to wear big boy underwear (as we had done several times before), and he said yes!
We had tried this before without success, but this time, he pretty much potty trained himself in one day. We didn’t mess with him running around with no clothes on, pull-ups, or major messes. We didn’t even have to bribe him with treats or fancy sticker charts. He just was ready, and that was that. Easy as pie.
When we went to his three-year-old well-child appointment, the pediatrician said it was awesome that he was already potty-trained at the age of three, because, well, many boys aren’t. And that’s totally normal.
So, the secret to potty training is there isn’t one. All children develop at different rates, and what works great for one child might not work well for another. Potty training can be stressful for parent and child. Some children may take more encouragement than others. You may need to just take a break if your child just doesn’t seem to “get” it.
You can look for cues and their own readiness, it can be easier. Here are a few “cues” that might indicate your child is ready!
• Going for longer periods of time with a dry diaper
• Brings diapers to you, or tells you that they are going to go to the bathroom in their diaper
• Hides when they go to the bathroom in their diaper
• Shows curiosity in the toilet
• Child shows dislike and discomfort with a soiled diaper
There are so many ways to potty train, and I recommend looking into different methods. If you want to encourage your child more than we did – that’s great! But if you want to wait until they show they are ready, that’s great too. You can use sticker charts, treats, three-day-methods, no clothes, or even elimination communication (which starts in infant-hood) if that’s your thing! Just remember, no matter what you do, it does take patience and time. And you aren’t a failure if it doesn’t work the first time around.
While the allure of not buying diapers might make you push them a little harder, trust me, one day they will be potty trained.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.
You’re so lucky your kid potty trained in a day. We’re almost a month into this and she still pees on the floor. Ug!
Lisa (mummascribbles) says
This is so true. We are in the midst of kind of potty training. We started trying over the Christmas break and he showed no interest until he did his first wee on it on the last day of the holidays! We therefore didn’t go back and just carried on when and if he decided to use it. 4 months later and it has progressed but we are still nowhere near complete. But we aren’t in a rush! He now uses the toilet rather than the potty but he forgets to tell us most of the time! It’s extra difficult because he spends two days a week at nursery, three days with my mum, the weekends home with us and a lot of time in the car! it’s not easy amongst that. We’ll still keep progressing though and if it takes a year then so be it! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
Yes! I love this post! Thank you!!! My daughter is 2 and a half and not toilet trained. We’ve had some constipation issues over the past 18months and it’s often a struggle for her to do #2s. Our maternal child health nurse told us not to push so we didn’t put her off so we didn’t. In the past two months, she’s shown a lot of interest in going, but tends to go in her nappy and then asks to go to the toilet! I’m not worried about, I tend to subscribe to the philosophy that she’ll work it out too – but it is nice to see others in a similar situation!!! #twinklytuesday
I hope I’ll have enough patience when the time comes heh
It’s hard! 🙂 But I have confidence you will!
Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
This is so true! We started potty training our son last week, and some days are definitely better than others. It’s awesome that some kids can potty train in a day, but that is not the majority! And as a parent, the best thing you can do is to be patient and let them take their time. Because like you said, it will happen one day! It’s not something that can be forced.
Agreed! I think it’s hard for a lot of people when they see a kid getting potty trained super early or fast. It’s just important to remember that’s not always (or even, usually) the case. 🙂