Potty training (or the more politically correct toilet training) of your children – for some reason, this is something that really intimidated me as a first-time mom. When we got to the point that I thought we should start trying to potty train Matthew, I knew in my heart that it was the next big hurdle we’d BOTH have to overcome.
However, I was secretly hoping that he would either:
- Be shown how to do it once, totally catch on, showing me just how much of a genius he is and magically never have an issue again, OR
- Be taught at daycare and then it wouldn’t be anything I’d have to deal with.
Too bad neither of those things happened.
I don’t know why this was such a big mental hurdle for me. Perhaps it’s because I really hate cleaning up these types of messes. Maybe it was because it had just gotten so easy to put him in a diaper and not have to worry about stopping when running errands or going on long car trips. Or it might have been because I had zero idea of how to potty train someone.
Either way, there was some serious resistance going on around the idea of potty training in our house. And it wasn’t resistance on Matthew’s part!
But then I had a conversation with my neighbor about my hesitations. She’s a mom of three (just welcomed her third baby this week actually – Congrats!!), and had successfully potty trained her first (her second was still too young). She told me about a book she read, with a plan that she followed, which worked like a charm for them.
And that’s when I finally smiled for the first time in regards to potty training.
I love books! And I love books that give me a clear plan to follow which can improve my life. A book recommendation from a trustworthy friend with a proven plan of action? Now this is something I could do!
So I logged onto Amazon and had the book shipped to me in 2 days, reading it over the course of the next week. By the end of the book I was convinced that Matthew was ready to potty train. In fact, I was almost worried that we were starting too late! (He was just a little over 2.5 years old at the time). Regardless of any lingering hesitations, I now had a plan of action.
My husband isn’t a big book reader, so we sat down one evening and I discussed the highlights of the book with him and the plan we were going to be doing. We set a start date and coordinated our work schedules/vacation days so that Matthew would be able to stay home a whole week between the two of us while we were in the beginning training stages.
And interestingly enough, that’s when I started to get a lot of doubts – not from me, but from everyone I ran into that felt like sharing their opinion!
The author mentions in the book that over the years, potty training has been getting pushed back father into a child’s life, happening now when they are much older compared to when it was done in the past. But the older a child gets, the more ingrained they get in their habits and can be less willing to change, making toilet training that much more difficult. She had me convinced that Matthew was ready to do this and completely capable of catching on. But over the next few weeks while waiting for our set start date for potty training, I received criticisms everywhere I went. I remember sitting at our local library during a toddler session, and somehow toilet training came up in conversation between myself and another mom. She had a little boy who was 4 and still in diapers. Without request, she spend roughly 20 minutes essentially telling me I was crazy to try and potty train Matthew at 2.5 years old and trying to talk me out of it.
I just smiled, told her I thought he was more than ready, and excused myself as quickly as I could. I didn’t need people who didn’t know my child trying to tell me what he was capable of doing.
The day to start potty training finally came. And what a day it was! All my fears came true. We had a ton of accidents, a fair amount of resistance, and a lot of messes to clean up. But nothing was catastrophic, we all went to bed happy, and I could see the wheels turning in Matthew’s mind, mulling over this new information he had been given.
Day 2 was much better, not perfect by a long shot, but we absolutely made progress. By the end of the first week, Matthew was successfully using the toilet 95% of the time – even making it through naps and nighttime with no issues!
Week 2 he returned to daycare, and in that new setting away from his dad and I, everything fell apart. He regressed significantly, coming home with multiple pairs of soiled clothing each day. There were too many distractions. Each night we had a discussion with him about the potty and how he had to do just as good at daycare as he had done at home. But every daycare day that week was a struggle. When the weekend came, we went back to the plan again, following it to the letter. And he did great at home once more!
I was bracing myself for another challenging week when he went back to daycare the next Monday, but to my amazement, he suddenly figured it out! And each day was better and better. Did he still have the occasional accident? Yes, but it was becoming infrequent.
We essentially potty trained our son in 2.5 weeks – from diapers to nothing (not even an overnight pullup!).
- Week 1 – training & lots of accidents, but significant progress/learning.
- Week 2 – a return to daycare and regression.
- Week 3 – it all clicked into place – no more diapers!
And let me tell you, even though I was delaying potty training because I thought it was just so easy to put him in a diaper and go, it was even better not having to buy diapers, wipes, diaper cream and changing pads all the time. Matthew had chronic diaper rash, and he was finally able to heal for good. We created significantly less garbage, and I was able to clear away the diaper changing area, decluttering a space in his room. These were all side benefits I didn’t even think of in the beginning, and way worth the effort to get the training over and done with quickly!
So what is this magical book that gave me the confidence to potty train Matthew when he was only 2.5 years old, and gave us a successful plan to follow? Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do it Once and Do It Right. Will this book guarantee that your child is potty trained just as quickly as Matthew? No, there is no guarantee of that as every child is different. But it will give you a proven plan to follow, plus the confidence to see it through.
And when it comes to teaching your child anything, confidence and perseverance is most of the battle!
Coming up next week, I’ll be publishing a follow-up post which covers more things I learned about when potty training Matthew, and helpful hints that may make your potty-training journey even easier!
All the best,
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