On (Not Really) Potty Training

posted on: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We're at that potty training age with Oren now. Well, since he'll be three next month, we've been at that potty training age for awhile now actually. Usually around their second birthday we pull out the old potty seat, show them the drill (we did this with Wes as well) let them know if they use the toilet they get a small reward (a little piece of candy or marshmallow) and let them have at it. With both boys there was an initial interest (mostly due to the candy factor) which gradually tapered off until they were really, actually ready for potty training. Which usually happens around age three for boys, and I'm totally cool with that.

Some parents might find this wait annoying or frustrating, but here's the thing with me. I HATE potty training. In my opinion it's infinitely easier to change a diaper than deal with taking a toddler to the bathroom. I can change a diaper with my eyes closed (not that I'd recommend that ;) and it takes all of about 10 seconds. Taking a toddler to the bathroom, especially one who's not very interested in it yet, is so much more time consuming with the waiting and the wiping and the hand washing etc etc. Yes, it's true, I may be the only parent in the history of ever who actually wants their kids to stay in diapers! Ok, so I don't actually want them to stay in diapers forever, but I for one, am completely fine with waiting until they're ready. Yes, we pull out the seat and introduce it to them at age two, because I want them to know it's available and an option if they want it, but I surely don't expect a two year old to hop right on board. I found with Wes and I'm finding the same to be true with Oren that they will be ready when they're ready and there's not much you can do to change that.

On the day before Wes's third birthday he came up to me and said he wanted to wear underwear from now on. So I said sure, let him pick out a pair from his drawer and that was the end of it. He never had another accident or used a diaper again (except for over night when I still put a diaper on him just in case). I certainly wasn't going overboard trying to "train" him at the time, I'd simply provided the tools and information he needed and he was just finally ready. He came to me and initiated it himself and I could not have been prouder. The more I thought about it the more I came to believe that you can't force them to be ready to potty train before they actually are. Wes was ready right around his third birthday and that's the typical age for boys in the US, and I didn't do much to get him there. Even if I had, would he have been trained any sooner? I seriously doubt it. I think we would have just had a lot more frustrating days during the process.

Abby baked him his own batch of mini cupcakes to celebrate (which we told him was the grand finale of the treat/reward system which put an end to that nicely) and we were good to go. I never pushed him, never forced him and never, ever made him feel badly for an accident or for not being ready.  And it worked! The best part was how easy the whole thing was.

 Wes and his cupcakes 2011

I'm doing the same with Oren, and I just keep in mind that no matter what form of potty training you do (or don't do), ultimately you end up with the same result  - which is a potty trained kid. And I for one prefer the no stress, no guilt, no rush route. Oren has been using the potty on his accord every day lately and he rarely even remembers to ask for the treat afterwards which tells me we're getting very close. But no matter how long it takes him, I'm ok with it. He won't be 17 and still in diapers. It will happen naturally and in his own time when he's ready. And I'm just fine with that.

So you guys tell me, what approach did you use to potty train? If you made a more concerted effort do you think you got results any sooner than if your child would have determined the time line? If so, how much extra effort did you put in? What methods did you use and most importantly, was it worth it? I'd love to hear!


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