She has a potty that she loves to sit on, and she knows that it’s called “going to the bathroom” but she hasn’t done anything in it yet.
She gets very upset when I (her mommy) go to the bathroom without her, so she likes to come along & copy everything I do.
I figure these are all signs that she may be ready to start the potty training process.
So … now what? Do I buy those pull-up things or are those for later when she is already mostly trained & can go on her own? (Diapers are damn hard to take off quickly and very hard to put back on again - and I don’t want to waste a bunch of them on a daily basis while we get started).
Anyone have any advice / book recommendations, etc? Thanks!
I’m of the “Wait until the kid announces s/he’s ready, and follow her lead” crowd m’self. I mean, I guess there’s some limit before kindergarten where I’d intervene more actively, but not yet 2 isn’t it. Let her enjoy copying you. That’s just what she does - when you cook, she likes to bang around a spoon and bowl, right? Doesn’t mean she’s ready for culinary school.
WhyBaby’s got a potty in the bathroom. She sits on it sometimes, fully clothed. Two or three times, she’s said, “Poop” or “BM!” (We use both terms in our house) and I’ll say, “Do you want to try it on the toilet?” “No,” she says. And so she doesn’t. Another two or three times, she’s said yes, and I help her off with the diaper and she sits and nothing happens. No biggie. I do ask her to sit there while the bathtub fills, figuring maybe the sound of the water will trigger a urine letdown. So far, it hasn’t.
I am not convinced that it’s too early. I say treat it like anything else…if she’s interested, help her to learn more about it. She won’t get it right away, necessarily, but she might!
I am in the throes of potty training right now, myself, and my daughter has always been resistant (she just turned 3). What I did to get her to get on board with it was to read books about it to her. The ones that helped the most were:
A Potty for Me by Karen Katz
My Big Girl Potty by Maxie Chambliss
Big Girls Use the Potty by DK Publishers
“A Potty for Me” was a breakthrough for us…it made her very interested in trying it. All of these books also show “accidents,” and that helps as well. She was VERY interested in those pages! This is how I knew it was getting through to her that accidents are not desirable.
I am iffy on the use of pull-ups. We are using them now because she is at daycare, and she is not advanced enough with the training to trust her not to pee all over her babysitter’s floors (it’s an in-home daycare), but the way I got her to be successful on the potty was to let her run around the house with no pants on at all, with the potty close by. There was a fair amount of clean-up involved at first, but she got it pretty quickly. Then once she got that down, we worked on teaching her about going to the bathroom and taking her pants down. We had to keep reminding her and insisting that she go, and she is slowing getting better and better at holding it and going where she is supposed to. If I was home with her, I would just use regular underpants and deal with the cleanup and clothes-changing involved, because seeing the result of the accident all over the floor is much more motivating than going in the pullup, which feels to them pretty much just like a diaper. But the advantage to the pullup vs. the diaper is that it’s practice for them to pull it down, which is an important and tough skill for them to learn.
I’m training #2 now, and I’ve found most pull-ups to be a disadvantage. They don’t let the kid feel when he’s wet, much like diapers. (My new find are these Pull-Ups that get cold when wet, so the kid goes running for the potty. Love them, and my 2 ½-year-old is almost trained now.)
Otherwise, I’d suggest going with plain old underpants, so the kid can feel when she’s wet. I’ve only trained boys, however.
Oh, and do it during the summer, with elastic-waist shorts that are easy to pull up and down. No zippers, snaps, or buttons.
Lemme clarify: if she’s interested and motivated, it’s not too young. It is (IMHO) too young to be pushy about it. I’m not a fan of sticker charts and cheering poops, but of letting kids set a (reasonable) pace of their own. If this is it for her, then great! But while mimicking you in the bathroom is a sign of readiness, it’s only one of many and not all that accurate, in my experience. Better signs are if she’s telling you before she goes, or is obviously uncomfortable in a soiled diaper. Even better if she has enough warning and control to run and hide in a certain place to move her bowels - if she’s got that level of awareness, then put her potty in that place and let her figure it out, and then move it into the bathroom when she’s comfortable.
Its my experience with my two kids and my nephew that the time between “potty readiness” and potty trained can be very short (my nephew was a few months) and very long (both my kids were eighteen months between “showing signs” and “dependably using the potty.”)
As far as I can tell, you can encourage, but they aren’t doing a darn thing about it until they are good and ready. You can train yourself (watch for signs and put them on the potty), but if you are looking for full independence, that’s their decision.
Second piece of advice - recognize that controlling your own body is a big deal. Don’t turn the potty into a battleground - let them pick. Or you’ll set yourself up for a longer more frustrating problem.
Some kids are motivated by stickers, some by m&ms, some by being a big kid. Some respond to feeling wet and training pants are great, some will sit in a wet diaper for hours and cloth training pants just mean a wet couch. Some seem motivated to make your life a living hell, and the more you fight, the more joy they take in not training.
Third piece of advice - only kids with real medical issues go to college in diapers - they’ll learn.
Final piece of advice - it will be the last thing you try.
(My kids were 3 1/2. I know lots of kids that trained earlier - and a few that trained later.)
Everything Dangerosa says is true…every kid is different, and what works for one will be counter-productive for another. For instance, I tried the “one-day” method with my daughter, and it totally backfired on me. It involves repeating the potty-sitting movement (pulling pants down, sitting on the potty, getting up, pulling pants back on) over & over (it works by creating “muscle memory.”) My daughter flat out refused to keep “practicing;” she would squirm, run away, cry, etc. I don’t know if she’s too stubborn, too impatient, or if she felt as though I was punishing her somehow, but she didn’t want anything to do with the potty after that. So, you kind of have to feel out the personality of the kid, understand what usually motivates her, and go with that. My daughter has a new baby brother, so being a “big girl” is a big thing with her now…I am trying to leverage that as far as I can!
When they’re ready, they’re ready. Be a good coach and don’t be disillusioned if your kid takes more time than others. It in no way is an indicator of intelligence, or lack thereof. Sometime in the very near future you will barely even remember having to change diapers: trust me on this.
Occassionally doing their business isn’t really potty trained. There’s a big difference between taking them to the toilet every hour and after meals whether they like it or not and them actually recognizing the urgency, being able to get there, get their pants down, and go every time.
I’ve known people who say their two year olds are potty trained but the parents put an awful lot of work into it and the kids still wore diapers at night. To me, that’s not trained. The kids aren’t trained, at least.
I battled with my first, starting around 2.5 and the kid resisted every strategy. When I finally gave up, he did it himself a couple of weeks later (around 3yrs). With my daughter, I didn’t do a damn thing other than let her know the option was available and she announced at 3 that she wanted to wear big girl panties and that was that.
SO much easier.
I Googled and found a bunch of resources. From here:
"A child is considered toilet trained when he or she knows that it is time to go to the bathroom and is able to climb onto and use the toilet with little help. In a recent study of children who started training between 22 and 30 months of age, boys were fully trained at an average age of 38 months, while girls were trained slightly earlier, around 36 months."1
Hee hee! Boys are slower (on average) to notice their bodies’ signals and make it to the toilet on time, but WAY easier to show the basic concept. Throw a few Cheerios in the toilet bowl and tell him, “Sink 'em, Son!” and they get the idea really quick. I think part of the reason I’m having less luck with my daughter is that it’s just awful hard to see what’s expected of her (not that she hasn’t tried to look, but it’s rather difficult to pee while a toddler is prying your knees apart for a clearer view!)
Too young? Maybe…maybe not. I definitely know some kids who’ve been successfully trained before two. At the other end of the spectrum, after a solid four months of being-in-pants-and-going-to-the-potty (when told to), not to mention 6 failed previous attempts, my daughter finally became trained about 6 weeks ago. Another month and she’ll be four.
I think there’s definitely something to be said for toilet-familiarisation, though, since she’s interested. That way, when she does start feeling the signals for herself, she’ll know what to do about it, and not freak out about the cold air whooshing past her butt.
I definitely agree with this. I know someone who said their child potty trained before two. At three she was still carrying a change of clothes everywhere because of accidents. That isn’t potty trained - that’s a kid who will use the potty occasionally, and a parent who’d rather change an entire set of clothes every day than diapers and say their kid is trained.
The other problem is little hands and clothes and toilet paper. Even when a kid can get to the potty by themselves, if they need help getting dressed, undressed and wiped - they have MOST of the skills, but aren’t really independent - that will come (and for some kids you wipe for a long time and still cringe when you do laundry when they are older).
There ARE however, plenty of kids who do actually train young - enough to recognize the signs and bring Mom to the bathroom to help with snaps and paperwork.
Kid Kalhoun was 99% trained at 17 months (occasionally woke up wet in the morining), so it depends on the kid.
I would try the pull-ups for short periods of time if she wants to wear them. And I’d keep the “do you want to try it now?” question at the forefront, especially when she’s wearing the pull-ups. Call them “big girl” panties or whatever so she begins to realize that this is part-and-parcel to growing up.
But 21 months is definitely not the point to get nervous if she’s not catching on. I’m of the mindset that you should be making a fairly hard push if they’re not getting it by 3 years old. That’s not to say you’d browbeat a kid of that age (or any age), but I would be asking the child about every 2 hours if they have to go and I’d be conscious of observing regular eating times so you can get a feel for the kid’s natural body cycle.
One of the great joys of motherhood is going to the store and leaving without a box of diapers. Good luck! Don’t stress too much about it…eventually she will learn to dislike the feel of wet or poopy diapers.
We took the approach of having our boys sit on the toilet every hour or so and as soon as they woke up in the morning. It took about two weeks with each of them before they got the hang of it. We did a lot of cleaning up for a few months after they were in underwear but once they made the connection between bodily functions and using the toilet, they tried their hardest to get to the bathroom when they needed to. Before that, they would just have accidents and not care. I think having them sit on the toilet even if they do not feel the need to go just yet will still work - you just spend a lot of time in the bathroom waiting for something to happen.
We also gave up on the pull-ups. For both of our boys, they were too much of a crutch. Once they were in underwear and realized how uncomfortable it was after an accident, things moved much more quickly. We didn’t start potty training until they showed interest, though - talking about it, following us to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet whenever they were naked, etc. My older boy took much longer to be 100% potty trained, i.e., no diapers at all, even at night. He wore a nighttime diaper for about a year after he gave up diapers during the day. For my second son, he was out of diapers completely after about a month.