I’ve been asked many, many times over the course of the last year if I’ve potty trained my toddler. The answer has always been “No. We are working on it, but he is not potty-trained yet.” Sometimes that answer was met with a sigh of relief and “Oh good! I was feeling like such a failure because we haven’t even started yet!” while other times it was met with, “How could you NOT have potty-trained him by two?” It wasn’t for lack of desire and trying, let me tell you! We tried several methods on several different occasions throughout the course of the spring and summer months. Each time we tried he just couldn’t understand the concept. In fact, accidents scared him because he couldn’t figure out how he had made a mess on the floor! I’ll always remember him jumping backwards and yelling “What did you do? WHAT DID YOU DO?!” as he was in the midst of an “accident”! He didn’t have the understanding, or the communication skills he needed in order for us to be successful in this endeavor . . . so I waited.
We tried periodically, but I didn’t pressure him, or myself about it. If our attempts became very stressful on him or for me, we got the diapers back out and waited a little longer. As much as I would have loved taking diapers for him off the budget, there was no need for it to cause excessive stress.
Many times he would take off his clothes and begin pulling off his diaper. I would say “If you want to take your diaper off, you need to wear undies and use the potty. Do you want to go use the potty?” He would think it over and pull the diaper back on. Was he just being lazy? Maybe. But at any rate, he didn’t want it and he was not so old that diapers were getting ridiculous . . . so I waited.
Last week, I knew it was time. He took of all his clothes and I again gave him the choice a diaper or undies. This time he took everything off and willingly went to the potty. He picked out undies himself. He stopped himself “mid-accident” and told me he needed to go. He had never been even close to doing that at any other time.
As we’ve worked to potty train him the last several days, I thought of how nice it would be to share the amazing way we potty trained before he was a year old, or how we trained him in 12 hours flat, or the method we used that left no accidents on the floor at any time . . . but I’ve got nothing. Truth be told, we opted for the easiest way to potty train:
I waited until he was ready.
His desire has made all the difference. He understands and he wants it himself—not because momma told him so. Yes, we’ve still had accidents to clean and after a busy weekend outside of the house, we are dealing with a little backsliding today (I’ve cleaned up a couple accidents while in the midst of typing this post). But the difference between today and other times we tried is that he is trying, he understands, he wants to do it right, and he wants it himself.
In my opinion, the easiest way to potty train is to wait until the child is ready. At that point, any method (or no method at all!) you try will probably work fantastically because the child wants to learn. Could I have potty trained him earlier, maybe. But I can say it would have caused much more stress and tension between us. It would have been much, much harder. He wasn’t ready then, but he is now. And it was totally worth buying a few extra cases of diapers to watch the joy on his face once he decided it was time.
How and when did you go about potty training?
Post linked to Mama Moments Monday