Like every parent who finds themselves approaching this milestone, I was absolutely terrified. I wasn’t sure how the training would go and admittedly I put it off for a few months despite knowing my kids were ready. They were very interested in sitting on the toilet, flushing and had even gone a few times without much prompting on my part. They were ready far sooner than I was.
The first thing I did was search for resources. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really put that much thought into it. At the time I had a Kindle Unlimited subscription so I just looked up toilet training books and stumbled upon “Potty Training in 3 Days: The Step-by-Step Plan for a Clean Break from Dirty Diapers” by Brandi Bucks. Admittedly, it took me more than a few months to dive into it but when I finally did, a lot of suggestions were practical and understandable. I think the most important take away I had from the book is that you should never place toilet training toilets (should you choose to use them) in any area other than the bathroom. The reason is simple, it teaches children that they can use the bathroom anywhere instead of instilling that the bathroom is the only place they should go.
After reading the book, I took an extra day off work so I could spend a full 3 days toilet training my kids. I wasn’t sure how it would go but I was prepared. I purchased activities we could do since we were confined inside with no TV in a small area of the house where the bathroom was easily accessible. I also made sure that we had a chart, stickers, and treats for when they successfully used the bathroom. On the first morning of training, the first thing I did was get the kids from their bedroom, remove their diapers, and had them watch me as I grabbed all the diapers in the house and said they were going bye bye. After that was done, I put the kids in underwear (just underwear), and had them drink a lot of fluid– admittedly this is the only time I’ve really bent on my no juice rule, simply because I needed them to fill their bladder so we could start with the training.
The first few tries we had accidents. The first day was obviously much worse but after a couple of hours we managed to make it to the bathroom and the kids got a sticker and treats. The second day was much the same with fewer accidents and by the end of the day, I’d stopped the treats completely. I didn’t want to reinforce their behavior by using treats consistently. It would, in my opinion, set a bad precedent. The 3rd day rolled around and by that point, I was not only comfortable enough to fully dress them but I also let them go outside for 15 minutes at a time. We had one accident that day with my daughter but otherwise, everything else was smooth sailing.
I got lucky.
The best thing to remember is you can’t half ass it. You can’t decide to work on toilet training one day and then the next give up. Consistency is KEY with this milestone.
My kids were toilet trained at 2.8 years and it was a bittersweet moment for me. I was obviously ecstatic because, “Yay! No more diapers!” but also sad, because it means they are growing up and aren’t stopping anytime soon.
For those of you who are struggling with toilet training or are dreading this milestone, my best advice is to be patient and to ensure that your children are very familiar AND very comfortable with the bathroom and how the toilet functions. We were pretty lucky that ours were so fascinated with the toilet and so eager to try it on their own so toilet training was very easy. I’ve spoken to other moms and dads where that just simply isn’t the case with them. Whatever you decide to do or however you decide to attempt this milestone, just remember, you’re not alone, and we1 Parents have ALL been down this road, in one form or other.