Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Don't Make Potty Training Harder Than It Needs To Be

I'm a super laid back type of mama.  I took that same approach to potty training both of my boys.

Now, sure, neither of them was potty trained before three.  If that's a deal breaker for you well.. I guess my laid back strategy won't appeal much to you.  The thing is.. why rush it?  With Matthew I tried to force it.  He was about two and a half and I thought he was already "late" potty training!  So I started taking him into the bathroom.  He had his Cheerios and his potty book.  And we would read and snack and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Finally, after 20 minutes, there'd be a tinkle!  And a celebration!  He'd get off the potty and I'd put on his big boy underwear and he'd pee them.  And the floor.  Immediately.  I'd clean it up and we'd try again in another half hour or so.

WHY did I put myself through that torture?  A week went by like that before I gave up.  Many parents would have pushed ONWARD.  Not me.  Does that make me a shitty mom, or lazy?  I don't think so.  I like to say I'm kind of good at choosing my battles.. and that battle was one to save for another day.

We tried again after his third birthday.  We started with pull-ups but I quickly learned that they were less than useless.  Why rush to the potty when you were wearing a diaper anyway?  NOPE!  That technique got thrown right out the window!  I mean, it was nice to have as a backup overnight (and in fact he still needs them overnight) but they didn't actually help us potty train.  So I just put him in underwear.  He was better at peeing in the toilet when I took him to it.  He wouldn't tinkle and tell me he was done just to pee on the floor anymore.  Were there accidents?  Oh hell yes!  The first day, if I didn't take him to the potty, he sure didn't take himself!  The next two days, he tinkled in his underwear and told me he needed to go.  The next few days he was getting really good at telling me he needed to go before he tinkled, but still missed a few times.  He just kept getting better and better, and within two weeks he was completely potty trained!

So with Lucas, I took the same approach.  I introduced him to the potty early, around two.  I'd give him the option of sitting on the potty after each diaper change.  He would take the offer more and more the closer he got to three.  Soon going potty after a diaper change was his habit and he'd be coming to me as *soon* as he wet his diaper for me to change him.  Sometimes just a tinkle.. and he'd want his diaper off and pee on the potty.  That was a great cue for us to start using underwear.  From there it was just a matter of patience and letting him get better at it on his own, mostly.

We never used fancy potties (and both of my boys preferred using the "big potty"), or sticker charts, or prizes from the dollar store.  That always seemed so unnecessary to me.  Lots of praise, clapping, and high fives were enough for us!

So, if you're anything like me.. my best advice to you is be relaxed about it.  Don't obsess over how long it takes or when Supermom's kid started potty training (9 months?!).  Just follow your toddler's lead and you'll do just fine.