It’s finally time to lose those diapers, hooray! But does it really feel like a celebration? Are you gearing up for the big event with excitement, a little trepidation, but overall looking forward to potty training? Probably not.
In our culture we have made potty training into a “thing”. Also, choosing not to potty train at all (let’s call it child-lead potty training) has become a “thing”. And I think it’s a “thing” because potty training has gotten a bad rap. It’s become the scourge of toddler-hood. But it wasn’t always this way.
Potty training used to be looked upon as a milestone, just like any other. A right of passage for a young child, like learning to feed oneself, dress oneself, or learn to ride a bike. In each case, these milestones require some patience and teaching on the part of the parent, and a lot of practice on the part of the child. The same can be said of potty training. I suppose one could say that the big difference here is ALL THE POTENTIAL POOP! and PEE! on the floor. And yes, that is going to happen. But its really no messier (in my experience it’s a lot LESS messy) than spoonfulls of puree bananas all over the floors, walls, tables, hair… And don’t even get me started with spaghetti and tomato sauce. But that’s just food, not bodily fluids you say? I say…. Get over it. You’re changing diapers every day and that can be way messier, smellier and overall yuckier. But spend 7-10 focused days on potty-training and you won’t need to handle or cleanup that pee again! And never mind #2’s… wiping a bum after a poop in the potty is a breeze compared to scraping it off a diapered bum.
So, how to know when your child is ready for potty training? Contrary to popular belief, most kids are ready when YOU’RE ready. That’s right folks… you are steering this potty training ship so the success or failure of potty training is mostly (but certainly not entirely!) up to you.
Here is what you need to begin:
1. Do you have about a week to dedicate to this process?
You will need 3 days at a minimum, but the more time you can dedicate to building your child’s skills and confidence at home, the better your child will do outside of your care. If approached in a dedicated, consistent manner, potty training a child over 18 months typically takes 7-10 days.
2. Do you have a strong desire to have your child out of diapers?
If you’re wishy-washy about potty-training, your child will be too! Don’t start unless you really mean it. Patience, persistence, and consistency on the part of the parent is key to potty training success, so make sure you have a game-plan before jumping-in.
3. Do you believe it is possible for your child to be potty trained at this age?
As far as your child’s readiness, there is no checklist and no rules. You know your child best, so look instead for his or her capabilities. Do you really believe this individual child is capable of consistently using the potty? If so, then he or she definitely can!
4. Can you follow-through and not revert to daytime diapers once you’ve begun?
Just because you’ve been working on it for 3 days but your child hasn’t caught-on yet, or is showing some resistance, doesn’t mean she’s “not ready!” Every kid is different and sometimes it just takes a little longer. Don’t give up! From books to classes, to support groups and personal consultations, there are people who’ve been there and can help.
5. Are you ready for your baby to grow-up into a little kid?
As I mentioned, potty training is a big milestone! For many, it signifies their baby becoming a “big kid”. Check-in with yourself and make sure you’re ok with that before you begin.
Danielle is a certified Go Diaper Free Coach and Wee Potty offers classes in potty training and elimination communication (infant potty training), as well as a Facebook support group, and personalized consultations. Connect on Facebook and Pinterest!
Bump and Baby is a resource to connect new moms in Edmonton, Alberta and surrounding areas (including, but not limited to, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Leduc and Beaumont) with local potty training and elimination communication education and support.