Potty Training 101

By Carrie Groves

Potty training – I think it is safe to say there are those of us who are thrilled with these words, and those of us who dread them. I have definitely been on both sides.

My oldest was basically potty trained by her babysitter, as she was in an in-home day care at the time. Miss Pam did all the dirty work, no pun intended! But when it came time to potty train our now 4-year-old, I was a SAHM. It was all on me, and I was nervous. She showed interest at 18 months, so I jumped on that bandwagon, bought the Minnie Mouse potty, made the sticker reward chart, bought tons of cute little character undies, and was ready to knock this potty training thing out in three days. She was interested for a day and a half. Fast forward 12 months and we were still potty training according to our three-day reward chart. We tried panty wearing and sometimes naked potty training. The system was just not working. Why? She was not ready. Period.

Yes, she showed interest, but she just was not understanding the process 100 % , and that is OK. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should avoid pushing their child into potty training. Instead they should begin the process when the child is developmentally ready or shows signs of readiness.

We finally stopped pushing and waited for her to come to us, which she did just before her third birthday. She came up to me one day and said, “Mommy, I have to go potty!” We went into the bathroom, she went potty and that was the end of diapers! We did things the same way with our 3-year-old (she was potty trained just before third birthday and is now nighttime potty trained) and now we are going through it with our 2-year-old. I mean seriously, so easy, right? Now, I know every child does things differently and at different times, but I’d say this is an easy and proven way to potty train. We keep a portable potty in the car for emergency pit stops (that has been a life saver on occasion) but otherwise we have had a lot of success with this method of potty training.

Now nighttime potty training has not been quite as quick. Our pediatrician said it is something that comes with age. Our 4-year-old is about 50 percent there, our 3-year-old is potty trained at night and our 2-year-old is still in her diaper. We limit fluid intake before bed and have potty time right before tucking them in. In time they will all be dry all night, every night.

If you have any success stories like this, please share, even if your child was potty trained a different way. I just wanted to share what I felt was an easy way to reach such a big milestone!

Good luck, and happy potty training!