I don’t think there have been 2 more dreaded words in my experience as a mom as these two: potty training. I felt like it was the SAT’s of being a mom- how the heck am I supposed to teach a stubborn 2-3 year old how to abandon something he knew and was comfortable with and do something different?! It seemed impossible and I felt like I was screwing things up constantly. Thankfully, I passed the test and my kid is now potty trained (MOM WIN)!
In hopes of helping someone else who finds this whole potty training thing totally intimidating, here is how things went down with us. Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert and I fully expect things with my daughter to be totally different.
At 18 months, I got Ryan a kiddie Potty. It was inexpensive and felt like a prepared super mom ready to tackle potty training. You know what happens in parenting when you feel like you have it under control…. Of course, this meant Ryan wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Sometimes he would sit on it fully clothed, occasionally he would sit on it before bath time but mostly he just yelled “NO!” when I made the horrendous suggestion of sitting on it. I wanted the potty to be a positive thing so I never pushed it. It sat lonely and unused in the corner of both our bathrooms.
I also picked up a few books about potty training. My favorite was Once Upon a Potty because it explained EVERYTHING. My son, for whatever reason, absolutely loved The Potty Train. It is a little cheesy but he loved it. It got him asking questions about underpants and relating the potty to himself. Others that were in the rotation were Prince of the Potty and Potty Superhero: Get ready for big boy pants! We read a LOT of potty books…
As Ryan’s 3rd birthday approached, he still wanted nothing to do with the potty. His classmates were slowly all becoming trained, he had still never gone in the potty. As much as I tried to keep the “I am going to be so casual about this” attitude, I was getting antsy that he would still be in diapers in college.
However, I saw signs of readiness- he loved his potty books and would relate them to himself and us/our relatives. He asked for underwear so I made a big deal of taking him to the store to pick out some (he picked Paw Patrol). Most telling to me was that he would wake up completely dry some mornings, pee and ask to be changed. I deemed him ready. Whether he liked it or not, it was time. Hellllp me….
Ryan’s school had a week long February break approaching so I decided we would do the 3 day “boot camp” style method. I had prepped him the week before by saying things like “on Friday, we are going to give your diapers away to Ava! You are big now so you get to use the potty!” (not sure if this is the right or wrong thing to do, it worked for us) Friday morning came and he helped me collect all his diapers and we “gave” them to his little sister. Let the fun begin…
Day 1 aka “I know it is 8am but can I start drinking wine now?“– Day 1 SUCKS. Sorry but it does. After getting dressed and doing a big celebration of him wearing Paw Patrol underpants, I made a point put him on the potty every 20 minutes to try to go. I also made a conscious effort to ask him if his underpants were dry in between so that it was on his mind. My rationale was that this would remind him that he needs to be aware of if he needs to go.
I learned quickly that he was afraid of the potty and was going to hold it as long as he could. By mid-morning, I could tell he was uncomfortable but still fighting it. I was ready to google “can my kid hurt himself from holding pee?” Then IT HAPPENED-while sitting on the potty during one of our 20 minute intervals, he couldn’t hold it any longer! I never thought I would get so excited about someone else urinating. I was jumping up and down…and he was crying. I reassured him after (he was quite upset because it was new to him) and we went on with our day at home. He had a couple accidents that day and I did a pull up at naps/night. By bedtime, I was exhausted and definitely poured myself a nice glass of wine as a reward to myself for surviving day 1.
Day 2-way better. One accident, some resistance but he was getting it. I also employed a little bribery when it came to going #2 on the potty. He didn’t do it but the cookie was waiting if he did.
Day 3– NO ACCIDENTS and we even decided to ditch the pull up at naps!!! I was shocked that by day 3, he was accident free! Going #2 was a different story as he was holding it but eventually he had no choice but to go in the potty (also earning the cookie motivated him somewhat).
The first day back at school, Ryan had an accident on the way to the potty but other than that, 3 days was all it took for us! I stopped with pull ups entirely after about 6 days. It is important to note that he went through a period where he was wetting the bed at night about 6 weeks after we trained (confused the heck out of me) but I cut off liquids an hour before he went to bed and that solved the problem!
So that is our story! Potty training did suck but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. How things played out for us really made me a believer in waiting until they are ready because he seemed to catch on seamlessly and I (thankfully) didn’t have to deal with many accidents at all. We will see how things go the next time I have to do this but I am hoping I will take what I learned this time and things will be smooth sailing .
Click the pictures to shop my potty training essentials: