I have declared my potty training years OVER. My fourth, and final child (unless by some HILARIOUS chance God pulls a really REALLY big joke on us, or we adopt), is potty trained. And the heavens opened…. revealing the glory of NO MORE DIAPERS!!!
Now, in my 9.5 years of marriage, I have had kids in diapers for just about 8 of them. In those 8 years, 3 different times, there were 2 in diapers (or training pants) at one time.
Here’s what people WILL tell you about potty training: “Don’t stress, they will get it when they get it!” or “Girls are easier to train than boys” nevermind the pressure that your almost 4 year old still hasn’t gotten it (… or what that even means!)… and what they DON’T tell you is the countless accidents you will endure if you push too soon, or that just because they are potty trained doesn’t mean they won’t wet the bed, or have accidents or… yeah. There’s just a lot to learn here.
So today my friends, I’m going to tell you what no one else will.
When I started out potty training my daughter (the oldest and first), I think she was around 2.5 when she first mentioned wanting to use the potty. We tried it, it didn’t go over well so I determined to wait and try again… Well, child #2 was in diapers also… and frankly potty training was too stressful to add to the daily schedule (or so I felt) So I postponed. Fast forward to my daughter almost being 4 and still not potty trained and… I was near freak-out mode! At this point I had her in training pants, Toddler in training pants… and a new baby. In diapers. Opps, forgot, I had THREE in diapers or training pants at one time. I was getting desperate. I had tried to potty train her… because GIRLS WERE EASIER everyone said.
Well let me tell you, girls are not easier. I don’t care what people say- it’s not true. What IS true is that some CHILDREN are easier to potty train than others, but it is NOT gender based.
Being fair… when I finally realized we HAD to do something about this, I pushed. I pushed hard. To this day… my almost 8 year old struggles to not pee her pants because… she’d rather go play! And it probably didn’t help that I pushed so hard. Hind sight is always 20/20, and while there are some things I could have done differently… I’m not positive what it was. I had tried to wait for her cues, but felt like they never came. Maybe every other month I should have kept trying by putting her on the potty.
Ok, let’s move on to the more encouraging potty training endeavors.
Child 2, after seeing his sister struggle, hit age 3 and simply walked down the stairs one day and said ‘Mommy I want to pee on the potty’. AND THAT WAS IT. Now, this child is a people pleaser- he likes to make mommy happy. So… he saw how happy I was with him for going on the potty, and that was that. He never really had accidents or anything ( meanwhile, his older sister would still hide and poop her panties…).
Child 3… I don’t remember how it started, but I do remember being happy he seemed to ‘get it quickly’ after he turned 3, but then he also quickly, seemed to be picking up his sisters habit of peeing her pants… and pooping. I was feeling discouraged, when he stopped. He just stopped having those accidents, and went on the potty for good!
And here we are today- child 4. Last week he woke up, still in his night time pull up and said ‘I want to pee on the potty’. I really didn’t want to deal with it that day, but hesitated saying no thinking ‘Maybe, just maybe, he will be easy to potty train AND BEFORE he’s 3’. So I sucked it up, put off the laundry I was working on, and he went on the potty. He had a few accidents that day, 2-3 the next day… but he’s leveled out and only has accidents if he’s REALLY distracted with playing. He’s done AMAZING!
So, when people say ‘they will let you know when they are ready’, what they SHOULD be saying is, ‘They will ask to go on the potty when they are ready to learn’. I honestly didn’t know what they would do to let me know when they were ready… no one defined that for me. So my best tips for potty training? Here they are:
- Your children will realize the need for using the potty- they see you, their siblings, and probably friends headed to the bathroom and will want to do it to… one day they will ask, ‘Can I go on the potty?’ GIVE IT A TRY, every single time… well, every single time you can deal with it mentally.
- When they have successfully ‘tinkled’ on the potty, PRAISE THEM! Even reward them if you are so inclined (or… desperate).
- Reinforce and encourage! You do have to keep reminding them ‘do you want to go on the potty’ through out the first few days. They will feel that ‘release’ when they go, and they just have to be reminded that when they feel the URGE for that release, where they do it at!
- Celebrate and do a happy dance when you can say bye bye to the training pants! Now, I will keep child 4 in training pants at NIGHT for awhile, but during the day isn’t really an option. And if you need encouragement- on day 2 of potty training for child 4, we were going to be out and about for awhile so I (being the chicken I can be) put an easy-up on him. We got down the road a ways and he said ‘I need to go potty’. I told my husband to ignore him, he had a pull-up on. Well, my WISE hubby decides to NOT ignore him and stops at a store about 5 minutes later to let him go potty. He had HELD it (even though he was in a pull up), stayed dry, and TINKLED IN THE POTTY! I was so proud, and so happy, and then KNEW he really was ready.
I know I tend to ramble, but I really hope this helps some of you with your potty training blues! Honestly, if it’s too much- wait and try again in a month or two. When the kids 20, no one is going to ask them ‘so, when were YOU potty trained?’. It’s going to be alright mama- you got this!