I am in the midst of potty training my youngest, so I thought I would share my experience with you(more to remind myself, really).
I never really gave potty training much thought until after my eldest son went in for his 18 month check up. I guess I figured it just happened? I never really did much baby sitting when I was younger, so when it came to raising my son…EVERYTHING was new to me. The doctor gave me a handout that talked about potty training and that I should begin potty training. So I was ready to get started…unfortunately, he was not!
There were several indications that he was not ready, but I had no clue. I just read things and had heard kids were supposed to be potty trained before they turned 2, so I had to get with it! After all, I didn’t want him to be left behind and I certainly couldn’t send him to school in diapers! (My husband and I had not made the decision to homeschool at the time)
Here are some of the red flags that should have told me to wait:
1) he was a boy
2) he was 8 weeks premature
3) he had chronic constipation
4) he had SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder)
4) he had absolutely NO interest at all in going to the potty
None-the-less, we were going to do this! We went through several different potty seats, potty charts, reward systems, pull-up styles, Elmo dolls, movies, songs, etc. etc. etc! It was a battle that literally lasted 3 years! You wouldn’t believe(or maybe you would) the negative opinions expressed by others(even friends and family). He was even made to feel embarrassed, at a church of all places, when he was just 3 years old! I was frustrated, he was frustrated…I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong and I think he was having the same thoughts! Oh, if only I knew then what I know now!
Then came my second potty training experience. I didn’t really know what I was going to do, but I knew I was not going to go through what I did before! I eventually decided I was going to wait on him, but when his 3rd birthday was coming up and he still had not shown any interest in going potty, I decided it was time for a little motivation from mommy. He got his own potty seat and some big boy pants for his birthday and that was all it took…really? I couldn’t believe it either! In just a few weeks, he was potty trained and in a month or so he was staying dry all night!
What I have learned:
1) It does not matter what other kids are doing and when they are doing it!
2) Boys ARE slower than girls!
3) They will use the potty when they are ready, not any sooner! (I am not excusing behavioral potty problems, I have been there too!)
4) If someone treats your child poorly because they are not wearing underwear “soon enough”, then you need to distance your child from that person, period.
Bottom line (pun intended): The best way to potty train is to wait until he is ready, then add a tad of parental motivation and he will go!