The Perils of Potty Training

We in the western world are living in a disposable diaper culture, while cloth diapers are making a comeback the vast majority of children are in disposable diapers. The biggest problem that you will encounter because of disposable is that it isn’t a big deal to be wet. Your toddler knows he’s wet. He knows that he peed but the reality of it is, “Who cares?” His pants aren’t wet, his butt isn’t wet, his socks aren’t wet so what is the big deal?

This is a tough subject. Some kids easily potty train in a matter of days (some months). Some will do it themselves and one day just decide that it is time for panties. Others take a little more work (a lot more). I had a heck of a time with my daughter who pooped and peed on the potty at 11 months but was not completely potty trained until she was nearly 3 (after many many months)

Here are my tips

  • Be consistent

    – whatever path you choose stay the course for at least a month if not two months. Changing and inconsistency just seems to confuse your child and leads to problems.

  • Relax

    – don’t push it, don’t get mad (that one was hard for me), don’t compare or threaten. If she has an accident calmly and quietly make her clean it up.

  • Put your Child in Control

    – I have learned that parenting is about slowly relinquishing control in baby steps, potty training is one of those steps. Give your child the tools they need show them how to get on the toilet, get their pants off, wipe, close the lid, flush, wash their hands. If they have an accident they wipe it up with a towel, put it in the laundry, get changed, put those clothes in the laundry, put new clothes on, etc.

  • Easy Clothing

    – this is important. It isn’t fair to expect a 2 year old to get out of a pair of overalls, jeans with a button or stockings in time to go to the bathroom. Elastic waistband pants or dresses are ideal. If it is summer, let them run around naked. Onsies are definitely OUT.

  • Accessibility

    – remember to take them potty before you go somewhere. When you get to a new place show them where the toilet is and tell them it is ok to ask to go. Often my daughter would have accidents when we were out and about, but once I started showing her that there was a bathroom where ever we were she would ask to go.

Of course nothing is written in stone and every child is different. Both of my kids were in cloth and had peed and pooped on the potty by the time they were 6 months, so unfortunately I do not have any advice for getting that first pee, which is a big ice breaker. Just keep things light and breezy. Stick your 14 month old on the potty in the living room and play together. Feed her crackers and water until she pees and when she does clap your hands and say yay! But don’t go overboard.

I got both of our kids to poop when I figured out how to see when they were doing it, I would whip off the diaper and run to the potty, sit in front of them and make grunting noises and funny faces. Eventually their urge got the better of them and they pooped. Good luck and don’t stress about it too too much, the wide majority of kids are potty trained by the time they enter kindergarten. All kids are different so keep trying.