Ah, potty training! Go to a local bookseller and you will find dozens of books on the subject. Search the net and you will find thousands of websites with information on how to do it stress-free. There are even people who are taking advantage of their parents’ frustration with potty training by offering to do it for you, for a hefty sum! Honestly, I can’t imagine anything more unseemly than paying someone to teach my son to “go.”
I have successfully potty trained two out of 3 kids so far, baby number 3 is only 14 months old so he’s trouble free for at least a few months;)
I seem to be the envy of playgroups when other moms see that my 3-year-old has been in white boxers for over a year. My oldest son was also 2 years old when he learned to go to the bathroom.
For me, potty training begins with a newborn. Now don’t get me wrong … I change my babies ‘diapers (unlike native African mothers who carry their babies on their backs and who, to avoid getting dirty, learn to read their babies’ cues so well that they know when your newborn needs to be held over a bush … no, I’m not kidding!) but I’ve always used cloth diapers, which encourages babies to train early. I’m not a long-haired, barefoot, off-the-grid hippie (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you’re more likely to find me at Doc Martens than Birkenstocks!) But I’ve changed cloth diapers from the start . .
It has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but I also like the fact that my babies are beginning to associate with the uncomfortable sensation of wetness and the knowledge that they can prevent it. Most babies wake up dry in the morning at several months of age, which shows that they are physically capable of “holding” it. In my opinion, Pull Ups are evil and yet another invention that a smart businessman came up with and is now thought by parents to be a necessity. Along with formula, baby swings, and the like. Pull Ups only allow a 5 year old to get dirty. Research has shown that babies who use cloth diapers learn to go to the bathroom several months earlier than babies who use disposable diapers.
So here’s Grandma’s recipe (and I owe it to my mom, like most of the good things I know about parenting) for easy potty training, even if you choose not to dye the diaper.
Let your baby go to the bathroom when you leave. That way, they know what’s going on there. It doesn’t have to be graphic, just talk to them about what toilets are for. If you are a woman at home all day with boys, encourage Dad to show you how. You don’t want them to think that if they go to the bathroom their gear will fall off, as Mom obviously did. Strange, but true … some children will come to this conclusion.
Buy 3 or 4 of those cheap little molded plastic urinals and put them around the house. At least one in each bathroom and one in the kitchen or the room where you spend the most time with your child. Place a towel underneath for the sake of your rug if said child is a boy. Speaking of guys … here you can take advantage of nature by keeping an open mind. I know at least one kid who was trained when his mom let him go around the side of the deck.
The summer that your child is closer to the two of you, take two days and do not leave the house. Let your child run naked from the waist down, wearing a large T-shirt on top so that intimate parts are kept private.
Every 10 minutes, place the child in the pot naturally. DON’T ask crazy questions like “Do you have to go to the bathroom, honey?” We are talking about dealing with a two year old here! Just do it like it’s the right thing to do and don’t ask for permission. Don’t force him, and if he wants to get up right away, let him. If you have a resistant child, set a timer to go off every 10 minutes. It’s amazing what a child will do when the power dynamic is removed. When the “potty timer” rings, it’s time to sit on the pot!
Use praise but don’t overdo it. Act as if this is expected. Just relax. Say, “You put pee in the potty, just like Mom and Dad (and older brother, and your older friend from the playgroup … thirds is gold here !!).
Don’t make a big deal out of what is happening. Don’t waste hours reading books or videos on how to go to the bathroom. Again, be cool. If you make it a big problem, your child is more likely to jump in and resist.
Have some “big boy shorts” or “big girl panties” that you know your child will like, perhaps you have chosen together, ready by the end of the two days. Your child will be less likely to have accidents if his new underwear is going to be damaged.
When the inevitable accidents happen, don’t scold. Be patient and kind. This is part of the job. Remember that even if you decide to start carpet cleaning, you will succeed if you don’t have to buy diapers for another year or two!