Like so many other things in life, you can google potty training and find pages and pages of advice. But unlike everything else in life: potty training is actually really simple. The internet has made it seem far more complicated and difficult than has to be. More than anything else, potty training complications can be blamed on the parents. This is not a child-development issue, nor is it an issue of whether or not your kid is keeping up with a society norm. So what is the problem?
It’s YOU. And a little virtue called patience.
The Single Biggest Obstacle In Potty Training
Believe it or not, it is the impatient parents. For some reason, parents are in a mad rush, or competition with other parents, or have some other unjustifiable reason to hurry up and get their kid potty trained. Many feel judged. Stop that, it’s not about you.
Little Susie down the street was potty trained by the time she was two and a half! All of your sister’s kids, by one and a half, and your mom says you were trained before you were three. Your kid is three and still not potty trained? OH.MY.GOSH. It’s time to get over that.
The fact of the matter is, your kid will be potty trained when he is ready. The end. So if you are dying to have a potty trained child by the time they are two but, your kid won’t be ready until three and a half, then you can reasonably expect to be potty training that child for up to two years. Try to enjoy that; it will not be easy.
Yes, it’s true, there are no shortcuts in life. But, if you potty train correctly, it will feel like a genuine shortcut. If you insist on doing it when you are ready, not when the kid is ready, get ready to commit to the feeling of failure. There are some things that mom and dad don’t decide. Potty training readiness is one of those things.
If you are a parent who thrives on doing everything possible, scheduling everything, trying all the tricks, throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, then by all means, go right ahead and try to potty train your one-year-old. Let me say it again, though, if he isn’t ready, it will not work.
This is not a joke.
What Potty Trained Is Not
Let’s talk about some red flag warnings that you are wasting time, creating an environment of unnecessary stress and anxiety and that may even lead you to falsely believe, and brag that Junior is potty trained and it only took two weeks.
If it took two weeks to potty train Junior, he wasn’t ready, probably still isn’t. What you have now is a kid that is being potty trained in the same way you would house train a puppy. This method includes scheduling potty time, bribing with treats, toys, stickers or some kind of reward, and consistency. Unless you are prepared to deal with accidents on a regular basis, you’ll need to always be near a toilet. Your child will still need a pull-up at night because the chances he is able to control his bladder/bowels while asleep are highly unlikely. This method lacks is a child who is willing and able to exhibit control. He is not ready. That’s one plus one, people.
However, if he is ready, there is good news: It only takes one day.
That’s Right. Done Right, It Only Takes One Day. And It’s Easy
If you want to fight that fight, bribing and begging and pleading and scheduling like you would your puppy. If this makes you feel like you are being proactive and you believe it is necessary, you go. But it doesn’t have to be that hard.
There is no scenario, in the civilized world wherein your child, once they reach a certain age, capable of bladder and bowel control, will decide that they would rather wear their urine and feces than use the restroom. Yes, there are cases of kids having toilet anxiety and those who “can’t poop.” We’ve all heard about the kid who can’t poop at school, or “won’t poop,” when/wherever. Well, what in the world do you think this mentality could possibly be associated with? Any chance it’s connected to an inappropriately early and unnecessary introduction to the toilet? Any chance at all?
What’s your hurry? Barring any unforeseen nightmares regarding the toilet, by the time your child is three and a half, he will like the idea of going potty. Exposure to the toilet shouldn’t be sitting him up there when he has never shown interest. If he sees you on the toilet, he may want to try, and he may not. Let it go. It will happen soon enough.
What’s The Real Answer?
Watch for signs. If you want your kid to take an interest, i.e. be ready sooner, then exposure in the right way will help with that. If you’re ok with him coming in the bathroom with you, let him. He will see what you are doing and if he is interested, he will let you know.
When your child shows interest, then talk about it with him. Mom and dad don’t wear diapers. We go on the potty. Do you want to go on the potty? At this point, a simple yes or no will suffice. If your child says no, guess what? He is not ready. If he says yes, he is probably almost ready.
If you are uncomfortable letting Junior in the bathroom with you, buy a little potty, set it up and leave it there until it is noticed. There is no emergency here.
What You Can Expect When You Potty Train When Junior Is Ready
When Junior is ready, he will ask questions and maybe even attempt to mimic you. He may not quite understand the control he has over peeing and pooping, but if he is ready, it will be a quick learn and he will actually try to control it.
If you have purchased a little potty chair, I can’t emphasize how much it is not a toy. Kids who are led to believe the potty chair is something just to sit on for fun may never want to actually go on it. Understanding it is only for going potty will motivate him to actually do that if he wants to sit on it. Conversely, it is a good way to find out if he is actually ready for potty training. If he does not want to go potty on the potty chair (or the big toilet), he is not ready. Don’t get discouraged, remember it’s not about you.
In The End
It really is as simple as I’ve made it sound. Leave your kid alone about it until there is interest. Of course, you can ask your child if he wants to go potty. But take the first answer you get, and then ask again in a week or a month. Even if it seems like he will never decide to go, he will.