Potty training is not something that I think any parent looks forward to. Yes, the end result of less mess and saving money on diapers is fantastic, but the actual task can seem daunting. This is why I think many parents hold off on doing it. The experience with my two boys was totally different with each of them. In the end, for us, I learned that the sooner you ditch the diapers the better. For both, we sort of based it off of the 3-Day Potty Training method. We picked weekends that we could be home for a solid 3 days, we ditched the diapers via trashcan day 1 (with little eyes watching), and we put on underwear asap. We didn’t down them with any more liquid than normal nor did we do nighttime as the 3-day method suggests.
Here are little scenarios on each experience and how it went down for us:
Troy (now 4 ½) was showing signs of being ready when the 3 day method suggests is the prime time to potty train at 21 months, but I was just about to pop with baby number 2 (Little Drew-gee). A. I was not really feeling like tackling the job with a huge ol’ belly and little energy and B. I was worried that he would just regress once baby got here. So, he was about 30 months old when we finally set out to do it. You may think that I was crazy as it would seem harder with an infant, but actually it was pretty simple since all Drew really did at that age was sleep. So anyways, I started solo on a Friday and my husband joined in on the exciting action on Saturday where he began to teach him standing up (what do I know, as a girl?). For Troy this seemed to be the way to go. He was super excited to pee like Daddy and by the end of that day he was a peeing champ and has never really had an accident since then. It probably took a week of still hovering over him every 45 minutes to an hour to make him go to the bathroom even if he said he didn’t need to though. After that he has always told us when he needed to.
So, getting the pee in the toilet was relatively easy but poop was a different story. I think this is where doing it older may be the tricky part. But I have also heard that this is an issue with a lot of boys. Troy seemed to somehow become afraid of pooping in the potty, whereas at 20 or so months he was totally game for it when we would randomly try. We missed the boat, I think. Now, every time he had to poop he would ask me for a diaper and I gave into him because I didn’t want him to hurt himself by holding it in. My only rule was that he had to sit on the potty when he did it. This way he would get used to doing it there. We would put the poop in the toilet after so that he would see it in there and know that’s what needed to happen. Most kids have a designated pooping spot anyways, so this became his. After a couple weeks of this I thought that maybe if he somehow saw the poop go straight into the toilet he would get over his phobia. I tried sitting there with him and holding the back of the diaper open while he pooped so that it would drop in, but he always caught me and didn’t appreciate me being all up in his business. So, thus began a month or so of me cutting holes in the butt of the diaper and putting them on him without him seeing the hole (yes, I realize this sounds crazy). It didn’t last long before he caught on (I still tried for a long while though) and it didn’t seem to subside his fear at all, so back to diaper it went. URGH! After a few more weeks I had finally had enough and really truly threw the diapers away this time so that we had no option. By night one he was clutching his butt cheeks together running around the house begging me for a diaper. This went on for two hours when I finally just picked him up, sat him on the toilet, and physically sat on top of him so he couldn’t move. It sounds harsh, but it was my last resort. He wiggled, screamed, and pooped! He got a little mad at me, but by the third round of this madness (day 3) he was phobia free and pooping on the toilet like it was never an issue. And I was one HAPPY Mama!!! We laugh at this now, but at the time it was the farthest thing from funny. The things we have to do as parents! Now, for nighttime, we ixnayed the diapers right off the bat and my husband and I took turns every night taking him to the potty every 2-3 hours for about a week. We then decided to test him one night and he was totally fine, with no accidents. Not too shabby for newbie parents like us.
Now for round two, Mr. Drew (now almost 2 ½). This was almost too easy! He began refusing to wear diapers around 18 months. Thinking that he was too young I kept making him wear them. By 21 months I was done with the fight, so we just went for it. Again, we went for the throw the diapers out method and straight to underwear. I would have to say that I did endure more accidents with him then with Troy, but I think a lot of it had to do with me not being as on top of him as I was with Troy. Having to entertain a 3 year old and him while running to the potty every 30 minutes isn’t the easiest thing to do. But it really wasn’t that big of a deal either, when I remembered. By the end of day 2, I was getting frustrated thinking that he just wasn’t getting it, but I didn’t give up. And I’m glad I didn’t because by day 3 we were golden with no accidents what so ever. It took him probably a good 2-3 weeks to actually start telling me he had to go, but it just took a little more of me being on top of taking him pretty often. No biggie. And thankfully pooping was never an issue!!! Badaboom, done! Like I said, almost too easy (but well deserved after kid 1, don’t you think?). He was still in his crib at this point and thinking his little bladder just couldn’t hold it for 12 hours, we didn’t even attempt nighttime training at first. But this little guy who always amazes us, did impress yet again. By the end of the first week he was waking up with a dry diaper, so off those went then too! I think a lot of this was helped by the fact that he idolizes his big brother and wants to do everything he does. Whatever, I’ll take it!!!
My biggest advice when potty training would be to never look back. Just commit and go for it, no matter what. It’s going to be hard, and messy, and frustrating, but it’s such a short period of time that that all will soon be forgotten.
Click here for a Potty Training Cheat Sheet