Potty Training



Potty training is hands down my least favorite parenting task and I don't think I'm very good at it.  But I have learned some things from my children that might be a help to you.

I realize that the generation before us claims to have had us all potty trained by 18 months or something like that.  I have had my share of criticism from family members when my two-year-olds weren't trained, so much so that once I said, "You know, if you feel that strongly about it, you're welcome to take her home and train her."  That promptly ended the discussion.


I wonder if perhaps they feel so strongly about it because they remember the days of cloth diapers and all the work that entailed.  I know my mom has always thought it a lot of work for me to have two in diapers, but I never thought it was any big deal.  If you use disposables, the days of cloth diapering and all it's subsequent headaches are gone.


Anyway, all that to say that I trained all three boys at just over two years old.  All three took several weeks, a lot of accidents, and sufficient bribery in the form of m-n-m's to train.  One boy took a full year before he was truly trained.  Ugh.


After the year-long experience, I decided to wait to train our first daughter until she was nearly three.  I also had a newborn, and managing all five under the age of eight meant I just wasn't mentally up to the task.  I was expecting it to be a long, drawn-out ordeal as with the little guy before her.  Much to my surprise, she was completely trained in about four days.  Huh.  Was it just the girl and not her age?  Perhaps.  But when the next little girl was approaching three, I decided it was time she was trained as well.  Two weeks.  Done.  Was I on to something?


A few Sundays ago I thought it might be "fun" to put our littlest in training undies for the afternoon.  She thought so, too, especially when the jar of m-n-m's came out.  Lo and behold, this one caught on super quickly as well.  We've had exactly two accidents, neither of them the yucky stuff.  One morning she woke up announcing, "I have to go potty!"  She had held it until I could get her out of her crib and take her to the bathroom!  Unbelievable.  This little one will be three in December, the latest I've ever trained anyone.


Certainly, there could be other factors that have led to our success with the last three.  I have relaxed.  A lot.  They are all girls.  But for our household, the potty training motto is now, "The later the better."