Potty Training: What I learned (the hard way)


Hard to believe, but I potty trained Isaiah just over a month ago.

(It feels like a year ago)

He did such a great job, and I couldn't be more proud of him. I did the training in one day, and it took him just about a week to get it down pat, with no accidents. He now goes completely on his own, with no help whatsoever. It's crazy!

And while I'd love to go into super detail about our training, I wont do that here. Because while it's true that this is my personal journal of sorts, it's also true that some information should be left private to my boys. And the topic of using the potty falls into that category for me. I think it's very important to evaluate the information we share, especially without our children's permission. And since he's too young to make that call, I'll do it for him. ;)

What I will do, however, is share five important things that I wish I'd known. I've had so many friends ask me about training, since we were the first to go (no pun intended). So I thought long and hard about what I would tell them all, if I could. So here goes...

1. Understand what you are asking. Before you start your training, take a step back and assess what you are really asking your child to do. This is a life lesson, just like any other. It may seem like a simple task to us, but it's daunting to them. Patience (which is hard to have when you are cleaning up poop), love, and encouragement will go a long way. And mistakes will happen. Yours and theirs (I'm still beating myself up for mistakes I made during training). When your child was learning to walk, did you scold them for falling down? Of course not. Take that same "can do" attitude along with respect for the issue at hand, and bring them both to your training. It will work wonders.

2. Go rogue. Every child is different. So no matter which training method you choose, one thing is for certain: you WILL go rogue. There is just no possible way for you to follow the book exactly. Now, I highly recommend following your chosen method as closely as possible. Just remember to give your child, and yourself, some grace when things don't go exactly as planned. Be prepared to be unprepared.

3. Find what drives them. It may be M&M's, it may be verbal praise (think potty dances) but chances are, you may not know what IT is until you begin training. For us, I was certain it was food. I even offered to make cupcakes at one point, which worked...for one day. I never would have guessed in a million years what would seal the deal in our house. Wait for it. Stickers. Once Isaiah could visually see the positive reinforcement and encouragement...he was in it to win it. The best thing to do is roll with it. Try different things until you've found the one thing that seals the deal. It may just be the last thing you expect.

4. Timing is everything. I really believe this. I wouldn't even try to potty train until you are absolutely sure that your child is ready. I think one of the reasons Isaiah caught on so quickly was simply because of his age (one month shy of 3 years old). We weren't fighting an uphill battle, so to speak. Check the usual signs of readiness, and be sure to work on things with them (like dressing themselves and your family's preferred potty language) for a few weeks/months before.

5. Don't give up. Look, this is a rough business. Isaiah only took one week, but I can guarantee you it felt like one year. And on day 6, I was reduced to tears and wondering if I should give up and try again in a few months. The very next morning was when it clicked. I've heard so many others say the very same thing. Honestly, I think it's because you let go a little when you feel you've hit rock bottom. You relax, and in turn, your child relaxes. Don't give up. They will get it. And you will, too.


Chris said...

I had the same experience with my son. A month before age three, he decided he wanted to use the potty, and we had very minimal accidents. We'd tried once before and it was like hitting your head against a brick wall... So I FULLY support #4. Don't even bother without the timing being right (that doesn't mean not to maybe push them towards it when they're headed to the tub, getting dressed in the morning/night, or similar).

monika sharma said...

Potty Seat is for making your baby feel comfortable while traveling.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I want to share with you my experience with potty training. When my daughter was 15 months, we started the potty program. It was full of reward, because in a week she was doing no 2 only using the potty. But, after about 3 months, she had some nasty problems with diarrhea and she refused to use the potty. She would start crying only if I showed it to her. And this continued until I decided to stop and take a break. I read all that is available online about potty training, but I was desperate, I didn't know what to do, until a came accross a guide that saved me. I followed the steps and in 5 days my daughter was fully potty trained, no1 and no2....This was 6 months ago and since then she had again diarrhea, but she never stopped using the potty. I truly recommend this guide. http://bit.ly/1i1deHG

Janssen said...

We had a really easy time with potty training and I attribute 95% of it to waiting until she was close to 3.

Alli Aars {You have your blog, we have Aars} said...

Totally agree, Janssen! And thanks for sharing, Anon!

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