Potty training…this was one milestone I was not looking forward to. I tried to read up on what to do. I wanted to gauge if my boys were even ready to tackle the toilet monster. It is definitely an ongoing process in my house. Start too soon and you just get frustrated and need to clean up pee all over your house. In my opinion, I don’t think that there is a magic age to start potty training. As someone who has three kids exactly the same age I can tell you that they do not all wake up on the same day and start peeing in the potty. They are all different and have reached their milestones at their own pace. Liam crawled first, Caleb walked first, Jake is the tallest. One other hurdle I face is that my boys are all (or were) language delayed. They simply did not possess the vocabulary or the capacity to understand the concept of using the potty.
After reading things here and there and asking friends what they have done I decided to wait until the summer and try with my “oldest” by two minutes, Caleb. He seemed to be the most ready. I let him run around with no diaper. I let him try pull-ups that got cool when he was wet. I got a potty seat that fit onto our toilet. He had minimal interest and just ended up peeing on the floor a lot. After letting him have accidents for a week I put him back into diapers. I do not think Caleb liked being in the bathroom and spending time on the potty. I think he was too afraid of missing something. Caleb is the type of kid who always likes to think he is in charge. I could not just sit in the bathroom with him and wait for him to pee or poop while the other two wrecked the house. Worse yet, all four of us would end up in the bathroom and then the real chaos would ensue.
As we got closer and closer to September when the weather was getting cooler I finally broke down and got a little potty to move around the house. I was reluctant to purchase yet another item I would have to clean, but it was inevitable. Caleb felt more confident on the smaller potty where his feet could touch the floor and he could be around everyone else. I could have the potty in the middle of my living room and he could still watch Curious George with his brothers. I also would let him play games on my kindle. Anything to keep him sitting down until he peed.
I started with a step by step approach. I put Caleb in underwear only at home and made him sit on the potty every hour. When we weren’t at home I would have him wear a pull-up and ask about the potty but would not push the issue. I found that Caleb did not (or would not) tell me he had to go potty. Over the course of a few weeks Caleb was starting to develop a schedule of when he needed to pee. He filled his sticker reward chart to capacity. As he got better and better I asked the preschool if they could show him the potty at school and ask if he had to use it so when the time came when he would wear underwear to school he would be ready. After a couple of successful weekends of wearing underwear out of the house, I went all in and let him wear underwear to school. He did great and has been great ever since. Don’t get me wrong, he has accidents from time to time and getting him poopy trained on the potty took a bit longer (and involved swedish fish and chocolate) but now he is a pro. Accidents are scarce and usually involve him peeing on the back of his pants because he does not get them down quick enough. He is also finally telling me he has to go potty, although when we are out doing fun things we do still have to force him to take potty breaks. We also keep a travel potty in the car and a folddable potty seat for the diaper bag so we are always prepared.
My thoughts on potty training is that you cannot potty train your child in one or two days. It is a process that takes time and there is no magic age or day to start. For me I am taking it one toddler at a time! We keep bringing up the potty to Jake and he will sit on it from time to time but mostly to use my kindle to play games. Just last week he told me he wanted to use the potty so I waited to put a diaper on him after bath. However, after a few minutes he ran into my dining room and proceeded to pee on the floor. I tried to look at the bright side of things and took some comfort in the fact that he came and told me he peed on the floor. One down, two to go!!