Given that potty training is every parent’s worry, especially for first-time parents, the number of grownups who are not potty trained is quite small. We do not know a single grownup person who is not potty trained. Of course, earlier is better because diapers are expensive and cleaning the butt with an increasing amount of poop as the baby grows up can be a messy job. (Sorry about the language but it is what it is.) It is surprising how much poop may come out of a tiny baby. (Forgive me again, for the language.)
Potty training may start as early as nine months of age. Earlier is better but it is not always easy for parents to put continuous effort on a child’s potty training. Teachers may help if the child goes to daycare but not all daycares have enough support to assist potty training unless the child is of a certain age. We started to potty train our son when he was two. We were not able to put continuous efforts because of our work schedules and limited potty-training support from the childcare center. Therefore, our effort was discontinuous making the process longer. After a few months of effort, our child became daytime potty-trained. 🙂
Our son stayed daytime potty-trained for quite some time. The number of diapers reduced. He still needed to put on diapers or pull-ups when we traveled because he would sometimes pee without much warning. Around the age of two and a half, Dear Son started to pull off his diapers. He loved to watch pee falling in the carpet and make the splash sound. It was fun for him; not for us. Anyway, pee in the carpet did not last long. Dear Son started to run to the potty whenever necessary! Sometimes he sat on the potty for fifteen to twenty minutes and read books. Beloved Son became a vivid potty-reader. Reading while using the potty was one of his favorite potty training games.
Our strategies for potty training are outlined below. I hope this will help other parents, or spawn more ideas.
Assisting to use the potty
We kept the potty in the living room in plain sight, where we spent most of our waking hours. It is a boring potty training toilet without any bells or whistles.
We encouraged Dear Son to use the potty by applauding, singing, smiling, and whatever parents do to make their kids do something happily. 🙂 We encouraged him to seat in the potty after every 2-3 hours. In the beginning, he sat for 1-2 minutes. We kept showing our excitement when he used the potty, even if he didn’t pee or poop. Potty-duration increased after that.
Dear Son became very used to the potty as if it were a toy. He started reading books while using it. Most of the times, his potty was surrounded by books and toys. Within a few weeks, the boring potty became a delight in the playground. 🙂
Accidents are overlooked
We overlooked pee-poop-related accidents. Seeing us look tired and getting upset would visibly upset Dear Son. We learned to treat accidents as a consequence of the potty training process. Taking this stand was difficult for us at the beginning but we could feel that it was very comforting to him that we were not focused on a few accidents.
One thing that we think was very effective was keeping Dear Son bare bottom. We kept him bare bottom in the evening for an hour or so for a few days during the training phase. It seemed to work well because he could easily run toward the potty whenever necessary without worrying about taking off pants. Of course, the bare bottom is the phase when the kid may enjoy the splash sound of peeing in the carpet. We made peace with this activity since Dear Son enjoyed it.
It is hard for a two-three-year-old baby to pee or poop in the toilet of an airplane, especially because of the scary sound in the airplane-toilets. We used pull-ups for travels. It is fine with flights of less than two hours or so. In longer flights, Dear Son had to poop in pull-ups a few times.
Once potty trained, no one likes to poop in pants. Peeing in pull-ups, on the other hand, was okay with Dear Son probably because the pull-ups soaked the liquid and there was no discomfort after peeing. Potty training in airplanes is a bit difficult given that our travels are not that frequent. Additionally, it does not feel much economical to purchase some plane tickets to do some poop-training in the sky. 🙂
It is good to take the familiar potty in a suitcase so that the baby can use it whenever vacationing. Babies get attached to regular thingy quickly. When Dear Son found the lovely potty in the hotel room, or grandparent’s place, or anywhere we visit, he would get excited and use it right away with pleasure.
Potty training stories
Babies do like stories a lot. It is the perfect time to use story books to parents’ advantage. That is what parenthood is; use whatever you have to motivate your child. Daniel tiger’s potty training story is amazing to motivate a toddler. The book tittle is Daniel Goes to the Potty (by Maggie Testa, Jason Fruchter). PBS KIDS provides a video as well: Youtube Link.
All days are not the same
Some days are better than others. We had to stop the training when Dear Son became sick or had a bad day in the daycare. We followed his mood.
As said earlier, potty training was hard when we traveled. Despite the little training during travels, Dear Son used the potty just fine after we returned home. It is probably the homely environment that soothes a baby to get back to routine activities.
Transition to a full-time diaper-free baby
Although dear son became daytime diaper-free baby with little training, we were afraid to keep him diaper-free at night or when we went for shopping or during travels for a loooong time.
Dear Son is now four. He has been completely diaper- or pull-up-free free for around eight months. Before that he was on diapers or pull-ups at night for another eight months. We could skip the nighttime diapers long ago given that he was doing fine during the daytime.
At some point, we found that he would pee just fine if we carried him to the toilet in his sleep. That is the time when we decided to get rid of the nighttime diapers. We now take him to the bathroom to pee before he goes to sleep. Then after a few hours, we carry him to the toilet to pee in his sleep.
Transition from potty to toilet
The first step to transition from potty to toilet was to move the potty to the bathroom. Within a few days, Dear Son knew where to run when necessary.
Transitioning to toilet from potty was quick when Dear Son moved to three’s classroom in the daycare when he turned three. The babies in the three’s class had to form a queue after the daytime nap to use the three toilets they had. That made it an activity. I do not know what activity it was called; maybe — toilet training game. 🙂 Each toilet bowl has a stool so that babies can stand on it first and then sit on the toilet. We used a similar setting at home — a stool and a baby toilet-seat.
Dear Son still uses the stool, but he does not use the toilet-seat anymore. He used the toilet-seat for one month or so. Since the daycare did not use toilet-seats Dear Son became toilet-trained without a toilet-seat fast.
Pooping is harder than peeing. Cleaning after pooping is harder. This is why Dear Son does not like to poop in the daycare. His poop-schedule has moved to evenings and early mornings so that he does not have to do it in the daycare. 🙂 I guess, this is how babies naturally handle difficult choices.
Please let us know if you have comments or questions.
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