It’s official. We have a potty trained toddler. She will be three next month, and she has been wearing her “big girl underwear” without any accidents for over two weeks. Sweet.
I was recently talking with a friend who has a daughter the same age as ours and she was asking my advice on potty training. She had been having a contest of wills with her daughter and the daughter was definitely winning. I told her that I have never potty trained my children.
I know that sounds crazy. I assure you that all of our children are potty trained–except for the baby, of course, but I didn’t do it.
When our oldest daughter was about eighteen months old, I was the dutiful mommy and bought the little potty and training pants. I made such a big deal of “going potty,” got the stickers, pulled out the candy rewards, etc.
It was all a huge failure. Our daughter was not the least bit interested in giving up her diapers and every attempt I made to convince her otherwise was met with strong resistance–and a messy cleanup.
About that time I became pregnant with our second daughter. I was sick as a dog and decided that I spent enough time in the bathroom and I didn’t need to spend any more time there. I gave up on the whole potty training thing and decided that as long as she was out of diapers by kindergarten, we would be in good shape.
I actually found it a lot easier to have her in diapers. I will probably not score any points for admitting this, but it’s true. There was much less laundry–no accidents. Perhaps most importantly was that we didn’t have to visit every public restroom in the area every time we went out. (I absolutely hate public restrooms, so this was big for me). So, we carried on with the whole diaper thing and we were all content.
Then an amazing thing happened. When our daughter was two years and ten months old, and her sister was just tiny, she came to me and said, “Mom, diapers are for babies. I’m a big girl. I want to wear underwear.” And that was that. I think she had maybe one accident during the whole process. I was thrilled to know that she would not be starting kindergarten wearing diapers.
Perhaps the more amazing thing is that we had an identical experience with our second daughter. Our son was a little older, but he too potty trained himself.
My advice to my friend was to just let it go. Her daughter will figure it out when she’s ready. I think that we as moms put too many expectations on ourselves that maybe we should just let go of. I’ve heard the stories of babies that are potty trained by six months of age and I think that’s great. I was just never that motivated.
I am definitely no expert in this area, but I am pleased to say that we have been successful regardless. And in just ten more months, our family will (hopefully!) be diaper-free.
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