“The hardest thing a child does between the time they’re born and fully toilet trained is the toilet training,” ~ Christophersen
Potty Training… is also one of the most challenging parts of parenting. So much anxiety for the parent, and if you are not careful, the child.
Just when you think you have a plan, something you see or read or hear contradicts your plan.
There are the experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics or the Mayo Clinic or random childhood development specialists. They tell you something one day to then change their suggestions the next day. None of this is backed by a whole lot of science or research.
A gazillion trendy books and videos are out there. “How to train your child in 3 days”. “How to train you child in 7 easy steps”. “Potty Training for Boys”. “Easy Peasey Potty Training”. The list goes on and on.
Methods … oh the methods. Pull ups, training pants, underpants, naked. Praise, punish, prompt, reward.
Why is there no clear cut answer?
It is one of life’s great mysteries. But research can tell you a few things. Most kids are not ready to start potty training until after 18 months. Boys start training later and take longer to train. Your kid has to be able to sit up, take her pants/diaper off, follow simple commands, and understand potty words. If they can keep a diaper dry for at least 90 minutes, that is a sign that their bladder muscles are under the control of her brain. If they don’t poop in the middle of the night anymore. If they show interest in the potty. The harder a parent pushes to train, the longer it tends to take.
There seem to be 2 schools of potty training: Brazelton Method vs Foxx/Azrin Method.
Brazelton: Low and Slow. Followed by American Academy of Pediatrics. Most kids that use this method are trained by age 3 1/2 – 4 yrs old and can take up to 10 months to fully train. This method is favored by the more “Laid Back” Parent.
- kid meets potty and sits on it fully clothed
- kid sits on potty with pants/diaper off and is praised
- kid put on potty after they soil diaper and watches contents of diaper flushed
- kid goes diaperless and encouraged to use potty independently
If at any point the kid refused the potty, wait 2 months and try again.
Foxx/Azrin: Fast and Furious. Rapid training method “Train in One Day”. Loved by the “Type A” Parents.
- reward kid for showing interest in potty, going to the potty or pulling down pants
- give kid extra fluids
- tell them an imaginary friend is proud of them for using potty
- minor punishments for accidents and kid must change pants themselves
- kid is taught how to empty potty, flush toilet, replace potty, wash hands
- parents conduct pant checks every few minutes and reward dry pants
All in one day! On average kids can be trained in 4 hours! These stats are based on the fact the kids were trained by schooled professionals who knew how to use the method vs the actual parents.
My Two Cents:
I have potty trained my son and am in the process of training my daughter. They are like night and day. Or maybe it is me that is like night and day. I was way more uptight with my first child than my second.
Things that worked for my son: candy rewards, potty watch and bed wetting alarm.
Potty Watch: See link to product on Amazon
Bed Wetting Alarm: See link to product on Amazon
Things that have been working for my daughter: candy rewards, praise, picking out her own big girl underpants, tablet time on the toilet. Today was her first day going without pull-ups. Big win. Lets hope it is trending up! Wish me luck! She is unlike my son – boys can pee anywhere on anything. Girls need a potty. So we have a travel potty that we take with us in the car in case we need to go … on the go.
Travel Potty: See link to product on Amazon
Books that both of my kids loved:
Everyone Poops: See link to book on Amazon
Potty Time with Elmo: See link to book on Amazon
In the End …
Your kid is going to learn their own way at their own pace. It will drive you nuts. Some days are better than others. Then you will have a “dry streak” only to have them revert to their old ways and not want anything to do with the potty. Or worse, they hold it and hold it and hold it which can end up hurting them. Or worse … poop finger painting. Know this. It will happen. Your kid will get it. They will not go off to college in diapers. In the meantime, hang in there, trust yourself not some expert/book. You’ve got this. And remember, everything can be cleaned, disinfected or laundered.