It’s not uncommon for readers to send questions my way.
- Help! When will my baby sleep through the night?
- Why won’t my toddler nap anymore?
- What can I do to get my kids to stop fighting?
- How do I explain such-and-such decision to our family?
You get the idea…and right along with those kinds of questions, I’m often asked things like,
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How do you handle potty training in your house?
I never really know how to answer this question, because – as with most things – I’m right there with you in figuring these things out as I go…
…but I’ve finally decided to go public with my thoughts on the potty. Maybe it’s because I’m four kids in to this whole parenting gig and finally feel like I’ve chilled out about some things. Actually, I dunno – I still have issues, but don’t we all? Anyway, here we go.
Disclaimer: After reading this post, you may lose all respect for any parenting encouragement I might choose to offer. 😉
Potty Training In Our House
When my oldest was a little tot, I picked our pediatrician’s brain about the topic. My baby was maybe one at the time, and all of the online parenting blogs that were encouraging potty-training for one-year-olds had me feeling a little curious.
Me: So, what is the average age you see your patients potty-train?
Doctor: Fully potty-trained? Like no Pull-Ups at night?
Doctor: Average would be at least 3.5 years old.
Whew! I was good to go. Now, I could relax and not think about it much until his third birthday.
Me: So what about the moms who say their child is potty-trained at nine months old?
Doctor: The parents are the ones who have been trained…not the babies.
So here’s what we did…
As our little tyke started watching more and more Daniel Tiger, we made sure the potty episode was on repeat. Then we bought him the Daniel Tiger Goes to the Potty Book. Over the course of several months, we just made the potty a part of our conversation – adding to our collection of little potty-themed books. As he started being interested in the toilet (Whatever on earth that actually means.), we bought a little seat for him to sit on and read his books…and over time, he started using the bathroom in the toilet.
When he first started doing this, we would give him one skittle for liquid and two skittles for solid (if you know what I’m sayin’…) – but that became this whole big complicated unnecessary piece that resulted in tantrums when we found ourselves out-of-town and nowhere near our container of little red-dye-filled poison candies. Lesson learned.
Anyway, somewhere around that 3.5 year mark, he seemed ready for us to take away the diapers. So I would say, we potty-trained him in about…um, two years or so. How’s that for a best-selling book?
I can see it now:
Potty Train Your Child in Two Years (Or More)
Then his little brother came along…and we did the same thing with him.
Right now, my oldest daughter is right smack dab in the stage of sitting on the potty with the Daniel Book and cheering every time she gets the chance to flush. When she seems ready for us to take the diapers away, we’ll do it.
But around here, there’s no potty boot camps where the kids run around buck naked for the weekend with them [hopefully] by Sunday deciding they don’t like to mess on themselves. Hey, maybe that method worked for your kids. It’s a thing. I’ve read about it. But it’s not a thing for us…
…and maybe it’s not a thing for you either. If so, this post is for you.
The best potty-training advice I’ve ever heard came in the form of a question,
How many sixteen-year-olds do you know who still aren’t potty-trained?
In other words, chill out. They’ll figure it out – and there’s no sense in you losing your mind in the process.
The worst potty-training advice I’ve ever heard was,
When your child is able to point to their body parts, they’re ready to be potty-trained.
Ahem…sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Seriously? Being able to point to your bellybutton is a far cry from being able to navigate the bathroom stall in your local Super Target. Good grief. Is this really the stuff we are telling new moms? We must stop.
We must tell them that it’s perfectly normal if their child isn’t potty-trained until well beyond when the experts say…and that if they would like assistance introducing their little ones to the idea of the toilet, Daniel Tiger will be there to support them through it all.
- Episode Download: Daniel Goes to the Potty
- Daniel Goes to the Potty Book
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Potty Time Toy
- Potty Time! Book
If you’re a mama of little ones, I am right there with you! I have four kiddos – each one with their own unique personalities and specific needs. My encouragement to you? Relax. Let your kiddos lead they way. They will eventually get it…when they’re ready. Whether for your child that means 9 months or 9 years old, be the mama each of your kiddos needs you to be – not the one the online articles have said you should be.
There are three things in parenting that you don’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about – eating, sleeping, and going potty. All those things take their course quite naturally, believe it or not, if a parent stays out of it. – Kevin Leman
Question: What has been the number one sign your kids were “ready”?
Answer: For us, them taking off their diaper and asking for a new one is usually our biggest clue. I’m not even kidding, but I am laughing out loud as I type that.
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