After trying out many different "methods" to potty train my little ones, I finally have my own tried and true method, that makes potty training so much more simple and a whole lot less frustrating. Here I will be sharing some of my personal experiences and my opinions. Potty training can be a very frustrating time for many parents, but it doesn't have to be.
You could call it child lead potty training. I wait until the child shows interest in potty training before implementing a few simple things to help them get started. Leading up to this interest I also have a few things that I do to get them interested. Call it freestyle potty training. Call it stress free potty training. Ok so here is what you need to know:
Step 1: Take your child with you to the bathroom when you go. For me this is not difficult because my child follows me wherever I go around this age (1-2 years old). Just by simply watching you, it makes them curious.
Step 2: Talk to the child about where elimination should happen. I will tell them that their 2 goes in the potty. And I will say the same thing when they urinate.
Those things can be started as early as walking age. I do not make a big deal out of either of those things. All I am trying to do is get them to have an interest in potty training. I know my child is ready for the next steps when they start taking off their diapers and go into the bathroom. Or when I see them having a desire to sit on the toilet. After I see an interest I will get out a potty seat. I have found that it doesn't matter what type of seat, but it is best if it is easy to sit down and get back up. Right now I am working with my 5th child. She just recently showed an interest in potty training. I have a little froggy potty that I got from Walmart. I noticed that it is way too big for her to easily sit on or get up from, so she will need a different potty seat to start out with. Now that the child has an interest in toilet training here is how I
Step 3: Get them a potty and put it out for easy access
Step 4: Practice sitting on the potty fully clothed. Here you can read books, sing song, talk about elimination. Just for a few minutes several times a day. Really helps!
Step 5: If the child is already removing their own diapers they may come to you or go directly to the potty chair after they have take off their diaper. I encourage them to sit on the potty. It doesn't matter if they go potty.
Step 6: When the child comes to you and tells you that they have a dirty diaper, tell them that they should use the potty instead of their diaper. After you have cleaned up the mess proceed to the toilet, and encourage them to use that for elimination instead.
Most children show an interest in the potty around 1 1/2 years old. Other children may show signs later on that they are ready to potty train. What are the signs? I mentioned a few above, but here is the most sure signs your child is ready.
1 - The child is very uncomfortable in a dirty diaper
2 - The child hides when they dirty their diaper
3 - The child takes you to the bathroom when they have a dirty or wet diaper
4 - The child tells you that they have to go potty, or that they have went potty already
All of these are sure signs of readiness. Here is where my philosophy comes in...I wait until the child freely and willingly wants to use the potty. I set them up to know what the toilet is for, to use the toilet for elimination. I set them up with all of the tools they need to be successful at potty training. I continue with steps 1-6 as long as I need to. Don't rush them along, they will figure it out. This method may not work for you. I am just speaking from experience. I did not have successfully potty trained children until they were ready. It goes like this: you will be doing steps 1-6, maybe even for a long time, but then one day your child will decided to use the toilet on their own. And they will! It might be very frustrating waiting for them to get it...but it will come.
You may have a more stubborn child. I have a few of those...If the child has used the potty but still wants to wear a diaper or has many accidents (especially messy ones). I will implement a new system. At this point I know the child knows what to do in the potty. They know when they have to go and use the potty, at least most of the time. But they are either lazy or stubborn and do not want to proceed to being fully potty trained. Here is what I do: I implement blessings and cursings system. I will reward when the potty is used appropriately and I will punish them for accidents.
I know how controversial this one is. I have heard people say that you must not have any negativity surrounding toilet use. But if I know that the reason the child is still in diapers is because they simply do not want to do it, I implement this system. It works very effectively and it wont take long for them to catch on. I know many people that have finally had success with potty training once they used the blessing and cursing system. For whatever reason the child refuses to use the potty, but only goes when they want to...bring it on little one, we will figure this out together!
I have used this same system with the last 3 of my children. Looking back at potty training my first child, I can see the error of what I was doing. I wasn't allowing her the time she needed to potty train. One of my children did not potty train until they were 3. It makes no difference to me, when my child potty trains, as long as they will have success and I wont be stressed out trying to get them to do what I want. After they are using the toilet on their own without my supervision, they are also potty trained through the night, no night time diapers are necessary. Children learn to control their bladders at the same time they mature enough to use the toilet consistently. That being said, I know that there are exceptions. Maybe your child struggles with bed wetting, or maybe your child just wants to wear a diaper to feel secure at night. These circumstances may take years to remedy, but the child will almost always grow out of it.
The key is to be patient. Wait for them on their time line. And potty training can actually be a lot less stressful. I hope that what I have mentioned here is helpful to some moms out there. And don't worry if you have a different way, or you think differently than me, I'm not judging you!