In parenting, there are always those few milestones that terrify you, at least there were with me. My son is my first born, and I clung to him until he started physically telling me to back off. Potty training has been something I felt ready to tackle. I waited for every sign, I talked to his pediatrician, and I started asking questions from other seasoned moms in my family. I also read a million of those articles on Pinterest that say they trained their little boy in a weekend.
He started showing some readiness signs around two and half years old. As his third birthday approached, I was mortified he wasn’t completely potty trained. So, I attempted the Pinterest method I had seen on almost every mom blog I follow. I got all of the supplies I needed.
- Pull Ups
- Cute underwear he picked out
- Stickers and lollipops for rewards
- Potty Apps and games recommended to me
- Cleaning solution
- Potty seat for the big toilet
- Mini potty
I got both the mini potty and the seat insert for the bigger one, because I wasn’t sure which he would want after we started. He got to pick both out, as well as a stool for the bigger toilet. I was ready.
It was rocky the first day with a few accidents. We went through a few pairs of underwear in a manner of two hours. I was pretty sure he was peeing more than ever. He pooped in a pull up which sucked. It was discouraging. Then, the next day, there was only one accident. We were in and out of the bathroom every 20 minutes. I was constantly asking him if he had to go. The third day he told me he was too tired to use the potty and to just change him -he’s quite dramatic and even threw in an eye roll and face palm. I kept trying and trying.
The most frustrating part was using the potty apps and games. He would sit and play on my phone rather than go potty. I would have to remind him to not hold it. He would usually go then, but he would ask to use the potty just to get to the games. It wasn’t a reward or motivator that worked well for us.
After a check up with his doctor for just the regular wellness stuff, I told him my struggles. He laughed at me. He said when he wants to, he will. He said the simple fact that he has interest is great for his age. He told me never to be discouraged and don’t try to put him in a timeline with other kids. The timeline is a guide not a rule.
At this point, he turned three years old less than a month ago, and he is sometimes potty trained. I didn’t give up. I still ask and encourage. We work on it everyday. I just decided not to try and “make” him be potty trained. Instead of following steps and how to examples. I made a list of what not to do.
Disclosure: If you’re one of those moms who has a kids that magically woke up and decided they “don’t like feeling wet or dirty,” then good for you. But this is not for you. This is for the moms that go through a few loads of laundy a day. This is for the moms who’ve had the mini potty spill over on to their floor. This is about the natural disfunction in toddler potty training because it’s perfectly okay.
What Not To Do
- Don’t punish for accidents. It only discourages and makes them have fear.
- Don’t overspend. Rewards can be simple and cheap. The dollar stores are a gold mine for toddlers.
- Don’t compare to other toddlers. Every toddler is different.
- Don’t stress the timeline. Yes, it’s possible to potty train before two years old, but the timeline is a guide not a rule set in stone.
- Don’t blame yourself. I felt like I was doing eveything wrong, but he just wasn’t completely ready. It is okay to have set backs.