We’ve been “potty training” for about 6 months now. I’m using quotes because a) I don’t think we’ll be at 100% toilet use for a while and b) I don’t really like that term. He’s a person learning an essential life skill, not a cat refusing to use the litter box.
No matter how you handle it, toilet learning is a hot mess. Sometimes literally, like when your kid poops in the potty and immediately puts his hand in it. Or when your kid gets up and runs down the hall with poop falling out as he runs. Thank goodness for tile floors!
My toilet learning method is heavily influenced by Montessori Toilet Learning (examples here and here), and Homemade Mothering’s Potty Training Manifesto. Sure, it’s not for everyone, and every child is different. You know the drill. This is what’s working for us, and hopefully this will be helpful for other mamas out there.
I gradually began changing the diapering routine when he was about a year old. Why? Because he HATED lying on the changing table. Every diaper was a wrestling match! So I changed him standing up in the bathroom. Then I put a potty in the bathroom, and would have him sit there for a moment before putting a new diaper on him.
The real fun began when he started walking at 14 months. He was already used to seeing and sitting on the potty on a regular basis, so I started taking him to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, regardless of whether I thought he had a dirty diaper or not. It was definitely hit or miss for a long time, but it became a mostly successful routine. We would go as soon as he woke up, and before/after we did anything (eating, leaving the house, naps, etc.). If he didn’t want to sit down, I just changed him and we’d move on. Lately, if I suspect he does need to go I’ll bribe him into sitting with a chocolate chip, but I try to keep the whole thing pressure-free.
So where are we at 20 months? He’s recently started wearing training pants at home, and he’s learning to pull pants up and down. He usually pees in the potty, as long as i take him there frequently. He knows to tell me if he has to poop, but by the time we get to the bathroom its often already…out. If we do make it in time, I distract him with books and poorly-sung songs to keep him from getting up and running off mid-poop.
A quick Pinterest search for “potty training” returns tons of advice for fast potty training: “3 days or less!” “Potty trained in 1 week!” “Potty train in 24 hours!”. Every time I come across pins like these, I start to feel anxious. Am I doing it all wrong? Should I be rolling up my rugs and letting him run around naked?
And then I come back to my real life, with my un-Pinteresty house and my not-yet-2 child who actually does use the potty fairly often despite my relative laziness in “potty training” him. And I think we’re doing just fine. Maybe the 3-day roll-up-the-rugs method would be better/faster, and I guess that’s still an option. But for now, the slow and steady method is working for us.
How did you handle potty training? Let us know in the comments!