Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On the Topic of Potty Training

A popular topic of conversation at play dates lately is potty training.  I feel like the mere words strike fear into the hearts of most sane toddler parents (and if it doesn't my parenting hat is heartily tipped in your direction!).  I often joke that if brain power alone could have my kid potty trained he would have been out of diapers a long time ago.  If only it were that easy.

The topic is very much on my mind lately as the mother of a 2 1/2 year old.  I'm very well read on the subject.  I know most (if not all) of the theories on getting 'er done, I know the signs of readiness to look for, but I still have no concrete plan of action.  Why?  Because as with many other aspects of parenting I've come to the conclusion that the problem with the whole potty training thing is there is no one right way to do it.  If there was there wouldn't be so many theories on how to do it, or so much speculation on the best way, or so much fear surrounding the whole process.  If there was one right way we'd all just DO it and it would be easy and that would be that.

This definitely feels like the biggest parenting hurdle we've faced yet.  I mean, he's 2 1/2.  He probably listens to 50% of what I say on a good day.  How in the world am I going to get him to GO in the potty?  Clearly it's not even something I can force.  I have to motivate him to actually want to do it.  Like... every time.

As it is, I just don't know where to start.  Sure Jack shows some of the signs of readiness, but we certainly can't check all of them off the list.  Additionally, I fully believe that waiting until your child is ready to do it (whatever that really means) is definitely the way to go.  On the other hand, it also seems like if you wait too long that can cause issues as well.  It's like there's this mystical window of time in which to do it and I need someone to tell me when that is - for my individual kid of course.  It also seems that there's a delicate balance between encouraging and motivating, and forcing and creating a power struggle.  I do not want to turn this into a power struggle!

So far, for all the brain power I've spent thinking about the subject, we're in waiting mode.  I'd love for Jack to be potty trained by the time Baby Dos makes her appearance because, well, call me crazy, but the idea of changing diapers for two kids (and washing those diapers, and schlepping those diapers around with us everywhere) just doesn't seem like my idea of fun.  If he's not potty trained by then it's certainly not the end of the world, but it definitely would make my life easier and possibly his too as I'll have more attention to devote to potty training before there's another outside baby to consider.  Jack will be around 1 month shy of 3-years-old when his little sister joins the family so I feel like this is a realistic goal (hope so anyway).

Now we just have to figure out how to get there!  So far we've got a potty seat (we even let him pick it out, it has Lightening McQueen on it.  If it helps him use the potty it could have the Queen of England's face on it for all I care), and we've started talking about it, and reading books about it (especially Caillou Potty Time because Jack has a serious fixation on Caillou and likes to do things like he does, fine by me.  I hope he wants to go potty like Caillou does too.  So far no success, although he does enjoy the book).  I also ask him periodically if he would like to sit on the potty and the answer is nearly always no.  Well, sometimes it's yes, but then when we actually make a move to make it happen it turns into a no.

So, as I said, we're in waiting mode, but at the same time not sitting idly by.  We're more... dipping a toe in rather than jumping in head first.  Waiting for what?  I'm not really sure.  Additional signs of readiness, I guess.  It sure would be nice if one day Jack woke up and denounced diapers or just started insisting on using the potty.  Short of that happening I'm sure we'll come up with some way of starting this whole process.

The thing is I've always kind of let things unfold in their own time with him.  I've never been one to rush things or go by the calendar in the way we make parenting choices and I've yet to regret it so I'm hoping that if I apply that same theory to potty training we'll really know when it's time and it'll help our cause.  That's what I'm telling myself anyway :)

Any solid advice from been there, done that mamas?


  1. No advice, we're in the same boat as you. My son turned 2 in June and while he lets us know (usually) when he's pooped and sometimes peed he has no interest in sitting on the potty chair. I too am waiting for the day he's sick of diapers.

    I'm also due in January with baby #2 and I'd love to only have 1 kid to change. Maybe I'll try the books idea and see if that interests him at all.

    I'll be waiting to read if you have any progress. :) Good luck!

  2. Go get a carpet cleaner for pet spills! :P


Please Share Your Thoughts!