Potty Training

Because life goes on….

Of all the parenting decisions we’ve made in the last 2.25 years, potty training has been one of the most difficult. All around me, parents are talking about “readiness” signs, like hiding to poop (need for privacy), communicating that they need to pee/poop (or already have), ability to take their clothes on and off (pants, at least), and a handful of other signs. When I read these lists, it wasn’t clear to me if my daughter was ready or not, and the last thing I wanted to do was force her to do something before she was ready and forever scar her.

Then I found Oh Crap! Potty Training. Actually, I first heard the author interviewed on my favorite podcast, and I liked what she said. She dismisses the whole idea of “readiness,” pointing out that in her experience, waiting until kids are “ready”(usually around age 3) is too late. For some reason, it becomes harder to teach them how to use the toilet if you wait until you see the typical signs. Instead of “readiness,” she advises to consider whether your child is capable of learning how to use the toilet. There aren’t concrete signs, necessarily; it’s something each parent has to determine on their own. Also, in the author’s experience, age 20-30 months is the prime time to potty train with the greatest success. At 27 months, C was right in the zone.

After listening to the podcast, I bought the book and dove right in. The author outlines her method, which isn’t complicated by any means, but requires determination, focus, and commitment on the part of the parent(s). I decided that (American) Thanksgiving weekend would be the best time to start, since I would have 4 days in a row at home with my daughter. I told her daycare provider, and she agreed that C was more than ready, and wished us luck.

I won’t go into detail (you’re welcome), but I will say that it was very, very intense and exhausting those first few days. The first day is literally watching your pantless child for signs that she needs to pee or is in the process of going, and getting her to the toilet ASAP. You can’t look away for a second! Even though things clicked fairly quickly for C, it was still tiring and disappointing when she didn’t make it in time and I had to clean up yet another mess. But, by the end of that first day, she actually initiated peeing on the toilet herself! It just kept getting better from there. Her first day back at daycare was a disaster, but only because they do things differently there. Now that she has learned the ropes, she stays (mostly) dry all day long. The times she isn’t dry are primarily because the daycare provider couldn’t help her in time, or because…

….Poop. We’re still working on that one, 11 days later. In fact, there’s a whole chapter in the above-mentioned book devoted to the topic and all the ways it can be challenging. For C, it’s a matter of not yet recognizing when it’s coming. I can say we’ve had a few successes, which were celebrated with much fanfare. And there’s a standing promise of candy for each successful poop in the toilet. (The book actually recommends against rewards, but we’re doing it anyway.)

We also have not tackled night training. She discusses it in the book, but we decided to wait on night training until she’s more fully day trained. To be honest, I’m hoping she just learns to either hold it all night, or wake up on her own when she needs to go. (Ha! Famous last words, right?)

I cannot recommend this book enough! If potty training has crossed your mind at all, even if you don’t think you or your child is ready, I suggest reading this book now. At the very least, check out the podcast interview with the author, or read her blog. It gave me the confidence to say with certainty that my daughter was capable of learning, along with all the tools I needed to have a successful start. It will be months before I can say she’s fully trained, but at just 11 days into it, she’s already nailed one aspect of it. Also, there’s a Facebook group that goes along with the book, where you can get advice and tips from other parents. I’ve posted there a few times, sometimes just for reassurance, and it’s been a wonderful experience. Oh, I almost forgot, there’s also a YouTube channel.

Note: I was not paid or even asked to write all these positive things about the book. I just loved it that much!