Now, consider yourself warned, most of this is going to come from my experience training three kids, working in day care for a number of years, and chatting it up with customers frequently. I am not a psychologist, and I know everyone has their ideas of appropriate ages and behaviors with training, so what I want to share is for you to take or leave at your liking~
This is going to take a few weeks to go through, but I want to dedicate time to the little guys on their way out of diapers. Whether they are 12 months, 18 months, 2, 3, 4 or 5, they are all on their way out of the diapers we love to put them in. I get lots of emails about “when?!?!?!?” When do you know it is time? This is going to concentrate on children who are not challenged by physical or emotional hindrances, those children need extra time and attention, and while I can help, you may need advice outside of my realm of experience.
I always knew my babies were ready to start when I noticed dryness in the diapers over periods of time. Whether they woke up from naptime dry, or I went to change them around the hour mark and the diaper was not wet at all. Usually this starts at around a year to 18 months. Boys take longer in general, they have much more neurological work that has to occur for them to make the connections for training. You truly can start “training” before this. When they are old enough to walk and start following you everywhere, take them in the bathroom with you when you have to go. By this point it certainly isn’t the oddest thing you have done as a parent (you mean I get to shower all by myself? What a treat! LOL), and it won’t be the last. Make it a cheerful, happy thing. “Oh look, mommy/daddy goes pee pee, yeah!” They will see the bathroom as a cheerful place, a place to celebrate what you are doing. It really sets the mood for later. They also see liquid coming out of you as a good thing, and won’t be freaked out when they see it coming out of them in places they never knew existed before. I mean really, if you looked in the mirror and saw water pouring out of your ear, you would be a little weirded out, no? Cool potty seats are fun, potties with their favorite characters are a plus, but they may not even need this. I found it helps though to have these things in the car.
So, they see you going, they are intrigued, they want to do it. You are going to have thousands of “dry runs” before the real deal starts. A good time to actually put them on the potty? Before bathtime! The sounds of water rushing around always made mine want to go. Just a habit to start, just plop them on while getting the bath ready. If it is too much for them, no biggie, they aren’t ready yet. Even if they just sit there for a second and smile, you are training. Training isn’t the results, it is the process, so make it fun and take a deep breath. Another great time, first thing in the morning. Even if that diaper is full and you know they went all night, make it a part of your morning ritual. When they are sitting on the same place they see you go, and see what is supposed to happen, if they are ready they wil start to follow suit. They don’t like sitting, show no interest in being with you when it goes on? Don’t worry, I promise if your baby is not ready, it would be more productive to run into a brick wall then to try and push it. All you will run into is resistance, and making it a chore rather than something new and exciting. Some of you are saying “yeah, but she is 3, shouldn’t she be interested?” I think our generation is much more gentle with training then generations before. I know it isn’t unusual to hear my friends talk of hanging soiled bed sheets out for neighbors to see, or being punished for accidents. Shame was frequently part of the process, and happily I think that is truly a thing of the past. So, don’t worry when your mother or mother in law asks “is she still in diapers?”, I can assure you she won’t be 16 and wearing extra large Fuzzi Bunz, just relax, and go with it. Make it happy, make it cheerful, and celebrate the little steps in the journey.