Potty Training Tales

Potty Training Tales

I’ll have to go ahead and apologize if you were hoping this was going to be a “how to” or best practices for potty training your toddler, because this is not that article. I really wish it was, and that was my intention last December when I was planning out my articles for this year. My thought process was something like this: Lukas will be 2 and a half in May (totally old enough to potty train, right?). His little brother will be arriving in July. I do not want two little ones in diapers, so surely we can get this potty training thing down before June and I’ll be able to write helpful tips for other parents about the process.  No problem, plenty of time! Fast forward to the present and the potty training is still a work in progress.

Yet again I’ve come face-to-face with one of those parenting truths I keep having to re-learn: the best laid plans are always subject to change when it comes to our children. And perhaps the bigger lesson: there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for every child.

As with many of his prior developmental steps, Lukas’ teachers at Primrose have played a major role in helping us along this potty training journey. They initially brought up the subject to us, pointing out that Lukas was keeping his diaper dry most days and we might consider beginning the potty training process. So my husband and I decided we’d give it a try. Without much thought or preparation, we ran to the store that night and bought a pack of pull-ups to replace the diapers (because why else would a company make pull-ups if they weren’t the logical and “best” next step after diapers?). He continued doing a great job at school, staying dry all day long, but had no interest at home other than occasionally. I became frustrated because if he was getting the concept during the day then I must have been doing something wrong at home.

So I turned to the internet and started researching potty training techniques. Well, let me tell you, this just made me more confused than ever. First, there is the three day method where you stay at home for three straight days and are never more than an arm’s length away from your child. This method encourages you to constantly remind your child to tell you when they have the urge to use the potty, but lets them learn the “feeling.” Another method says you should make them sit on the potty every 30 minutes. One article insisted that you keep your child undressed during the training phase, but another said it was imperative that they wear underpants. A third source said that pull-ups were the worst invention in the world while a fourth said pull-ups were a great transition tool. Some experts say to offer your child candy every time they successfully use the potty (or even try) while others say rewards shouldn’t be used because your child will become dependent on them. And let’s not even talk about nighttime potty training versus daytime training.

Confusing, no? We’ve tried a combination of the above methods and some worked for a little while and others were complete failures. Just this week, Lukas’ teacher suggested we might go to the store and let Lukas pick out some big boy underpants and start sending him to school in those rather than pull-ups. We appreciated the advice and willingness to help us through this rather challenging time. We took their advice, and for the past three days he’s worn his Thomas and Mickey Mouse undies with pride. We talk about how he wants to keep Thomas and Mickey dry and clean all day long and we use a lot of positive reinforcement. We’ve had a few accidents at home, but we don’t dwell on those or act like they’re a big deal. As Lukas tells me often, “Mommy, everyone makes mistakes!” So true little guy, so true!

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