My youngest daughter recently hit the 18 month mark and I am starting to get bombarded with those dreaded potty training emails. 18 months, ready to start potty training? Potty train in just 3 days! Top picks for potty training success. We’ve all seen those and most of us have tried at least one of the tools out there to get our kids potty trained. Let me tell you a little secrete…I hate potty training, like really HATE it.
We started potty training my now 3 1/2 year old at about 18 months in hopes that she would be potty trained by the time her sister was born. Unfortunately despite our valiant efforts that did not happen. We tried everything! Switched her to pull ups, let her wander around the house pantless, put her on the potty a few times a day, tried the 3 day potty training program, tried a sticker chart and incentives. She was not having any of it!
She could care less about using the potty no matter how exciting we made it. Although now thinking about it, how exciting can potty training really be? We would watch for signals. Anytime she had to poop she would go find a place to hide and squat. If I saw her, I would ask if she wanted to go on the big girl potty, no such luck. After months and months of frustration, mostly on our end, we gave up. We kept her in pull ups and would causally ask every once in a while if she wanted to sit on the potty. Sometimes she said yes but usually she said no.
We were getting close to her third birthday (Gasp! I know, not potty trained by her third birthday!) and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Her pediatrician told me not to push her and that he had never had a healthy patient who wasn’t potty trained by kindergarten. Whew, well that’s a relief. So we patiently waited for her to be ready. Then one day, she asked to sit on the potty and actually went! One day turned into two days, two days turned into a week and soon she was going on the potty consistently at home. We still had a problem when it came to public restrooms and honestly I don’t blame her. Most of the time they are dirty and smell. I ended up having to buy her pain in the a$$ stick-on Sofia the First potty seats to get her to go in public restrooms. A month of using those and she was good to go.
A couple of months after she turned three she was fully potty trained. Hallelujah! The awesome part is, in these past 5 months that she’s been potty trained, she has only had ONE accident and it was while she was sleeping. Maybe there is something to be said about not actively potty training. Or maybe we just got lucky after over a year of struggling.
Our youngest is now 1 1/2 and we have decided that we are not doing any active potty training with her. She is already asking to sit on the potty and has been telling us when she goes potty in her diaper for the past few months. Smarty pants! She is now in pull ups but I am not pushing anything. If she asks to sit on the potty great, I may ask her once in a while but this time a round I’m not stressing. Kids know when they are ready and if they don’t need to be potty trained by a certain time, why push them. It just creates more unnecessary stress for everyone.
Every child is different and I learned that more than ever during our potty training experience. We had friends who swore by the 3 day potty training program. Friends who had success having their kids run around sans pants for a week and friends who got their kids potty trained by using incentives. Our success came when we took a step back and let our daughter decided when she was ready to use the potty.
Now if anyone asks me for potty training tips, my suggestion is, don’t potty train. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and think that I’m crazy. I understand that some parents have no choice and they have to get their kids potty trained by a certain age, while others are just fed up with changing diapers. However all kids are on a different time line. Some are ready between 18-24 months and others are not ready until 3 or older. Pushing them before they are ready only causes, frustration and stress for everyone involved.
Introduce the concept of using the potty, read a book with your kids and casually talk about it on occasion but don’t push them. Be there to help and guide them when they are ready but don’t force them if they are not. If your kids are truly ready to use the potty, they’re not going to need a 3 day intense program or to be sat on the potty every 20 minutes. Let them lead you on their potty training venture. It may take a little longer but everyone will be much happier!
Did you have success with potty training? What tools worked or didn’t work for you? Share your experience below.
Live, Laugh, Love,