Potty training can be tough. There are so many different methods and all kids react to them differently. We’ve chatted with a few local mommies about their potty training experiences, so hopefully you’ll find some inspiration from their stories.
I felt behind. My friends with kids younger than mine were all potty trained. My son was the last one at over three years old. The books and the magazines say to wait to the kid is ready, but who would want to stop having fun to use the toilet? I feel like my kid had major FOMO and that is why he didn’t want to nap or use the potty because what fun would he miss. My kid needed more of a nudge. We tried at 2 years old, but he wasn’t ready. We tried right at 3 years old, but he wasn’t ready. We thought, if only we could convince him to just use it once a day, he might try to use it more. Nope.
Then came the pandemic and all the time in the world to force him to use the potty. So here we were sitting with him in only a T-shirt and underwear and me asking every 10 mins if he needed to pee. We bought prizes because bribes work… at first it was anything – I gave him a toy just for sitting on the potty. Then he had to pee on the potty… then he had to poo on the potty… then I just stopped giving him prizes. I really wish I had skipped the potty and gone straight to the toilet because then I had to force him again to transition from the potty to the toilet.
We kept him in pull ups at night. He didn’t really need them and when we finished the pack, we didn’t buy anymore. Not to jinx myself, but we haven’t had an accident yet. He wakes me up at 2:30am to pee and that’s fine by me because it’s better than me having to clean and make up a bed when I’m half asleep.
My son’s Potty-training journey was fairly simple, however I did have some help from Firefighters and Santa Clause and Bruder Trucks…. But I will get to that in a minute.
First, I have to explain that his siblings are 16 and 9 years older, and sibling adoration comes with powerful motivation to emulate. In addition to this, after his first birthday, he was in full-time daycare; the facility he went to had both an infant/toddler side, and a preschool side. The preschool side had child size toilets and sinks, so again there was the added motivation of seeing his peers using the smaller less intimidating toilets.
As I mentioned, I did have a couple of tricks up my sleeve; the first being harnessing his love for Fighters, followed with little help from good old Santa Clause. When he was almost 3, Santa Clause brought him a fire truck toy box with the book, “Even Firefighters Go to the Potty.” By Wendy Wax, to sweeten the deal, this is a lift-the-flap story. We started adding the book into the bedtime routine more frequently, and slowly, started talking about potty training, eventually introducing both a training seat and a training potty. Before his third birthday, he was consistent with number 1, but was having a little difficulty closing the deal on number 2. For that we resorted to his second love, Bruder Trucks; if he was able to successfully get number 2 in the potty for a whole week he could get a cement mixer, and that concluded our potty training journey.
Did you know that most moms in Russia start early potty training when their baby is around 6 – 8 months old? While I am Russian, I found that 16 – 18 months old was an ideal potty training time for my three kids. This is still considered fairly early in Canada. I am a strong believer that when it comes to potty training, it is not the child that needs to be showing any signs of being ready, it’s the parents that need to be mentally and physically prepared for the process. Encouragement, positive reinforcement, and sometimes candy or cartoon bribing were my best friends in the potty training process. Remember that the first few days will be messy and occasional accidents will continue to happen even weeks after you ditch the diapers. It’s important to not get frustrated and buy A LOT of underwear. Last but not least, when you are ready to start potty training, I recommend you do it cold-turkey… meaning set aside at least 5 days that you can fully spend on toilet training. Personally, I never used night-diapers, so when my kids were potty trained, they were in underwear both during the day and night. Make sure you have a mattress protector and disposable underpads if night time accidents do happen. Most importantly, stock up on coffee and wine! You will need it but it will be so worth it, I promise! Good luck!!!