When you’re the mother of a toddler potty training is a part of life. Before you do it, you hear the constant questions of “is he potty trained”? or the lovely “He’s STILL in diapers”? I loved when my hairdresser so fondly remembered that her daughter potty trained herself at 18 months in one day.
Awesome, good for her.
I also know people who have potty trained their children at ages 4 and 5. There is so much literature, so many opinions and so many “dos and don’ts” that even the idea of potty training can be overwhelming and down right intimidating to both you and your toddler.
At about 20 months my son really started showing an interest in using the potty. He would go to the restroom with my dad and they would potty together. My favorite day was when I was at work and my dad sent me a picture of my son standing next to the toilet pointing at a piece of poop floating in the potty. There’s nothing like coming out of a meeting, looking down at your phone and seeing poop and then feeling proud and excited, but thinking better of it before you start showing your coworkers. Oh mom life.
In fact by 23 months, Sebs was peeing in the potty whenever he was home, he was quickly becoming a pro. Then my dad died and the diapers went back on. Both Sebs and myself couldn’t keep it up at that moment. Since then he has absolutely protested and HATED the idea of using the potty. I was afraid we had missed our “magic window” that they always talk about. That window where your child is actually interested in the potty and if you don’t train them right then and there you have missed the boat and it will now be near impossible to train them.
Then two weeks ago, when Sebs had his ear surgery, I decided to try it again. We had cleared the weekend not knowing how he was going to be after surgery. He ended up being fine, so we had an entirely free weekend. A rare occurrence when you have a kid. So I made a chart and put it on the fridge and every time Sebs went pee pee in the potty he got a sticker. When he got 5 stickers he got a prize from the prize box. The prize box was assembled from little trinkets I had around and by raiding various dollar bins. That first day he made a lot of progress and we went out to dinner that night, I put a diaper on him to be safe and it was still dry when we got home, I put him the potty and sure enough he filled it up! So for a week when at home he had underwear on and at bedtime he would wear a diaper. We started venturing out without a diaper a few days into potty training.
He was over 2 weeks without using a diaper, I was beyond thrilled, no accidents! Then the first bed wetting happened and all hell broke loose. He was in our bed at 2am and he wet the bed. I took him to the potty and the hysterics began. he refused to leave the potty. “More pee pee” he screamed. Both my husband and I tried everything we could to console him off of the potty and into bed. Finally at 4am I convinced him to come to bed without his pants on. This same incident took place the next night just without the bed wetting, I asked him if he had to pee before coming into our bed and he went off again. Of course this only lasted 30 minutes this time and now he’s curled up in my bed while I am wide awake writing this.
Though I felt behind in potty training my son, now when I tell other parents that he’s mostly potty trained they are floored. Their 3 year old is still working on it, or they haven’t even thought of it with their child who is Sebs’ age. One thing I have learned with potty training is it is a process for both parties. There is no time limit on it. When you actually get to it and find a process that works for both you and your child it doesn’t really take them long to get the hang of it. So don’t fret if your child isn’t there yet, everyone learns differently and at different paces, potty training is the same way.
Next step: taking off and pulling up his own pants…