So, a few weeks ago, in the last month of my pregnancy, we really felt like our schedule was slacking. We had nothing to do, no plans to make, nothing to do with our time….(yeah, right!) so we thought it would be the perfect time to toilet train our 2 1/2 year old. Are you laughing yet?
Many of our friends kept telling us that boys are hard, stubborn, and aren’t interested in using the toilet until they turn three. But when my husband and I bought two boxes of diapers last month (one for our toddler and one in preparation for our newest addition), we decided that we’d at least make a gallant effort toward toilet training our oldest before we had to spend our monthly BJ’s budget on diapers.
So after Christmas, with a few new toys in our house, we armed ourselves with stickers, Matchbox cars, and a special chart, and holed up in the house for three days with our son, who was more than happy to play with all his new presents. (Actually, the timing couldn’t have worked out better!!)
And, I’m happy to report that now, after two weeks, we have a child who understands the process, has very little accidents, and is rocking the Elmo underwear!
Here’s what we learned:
1. What worked for your friends may not work for you. Even if your children are similar. Even if you both have girls, both have boys, etc. Toilet training is so unique to the child. Whereas some of my friends could put their child on the toilet every 30 minutes or so and entertain them until they just “went,” this stressed out my son and didn’t work.
2. But do find what will motivate your child. It took us forever to get our son to understand what he was supposed to do. But once he did, a Matchbox Car! A Sticker! A chance to flush the toilet! Lots of Praise! He was SO excited to do it again.
3. Some kids have to be naked (from the waist down) to care.
4. Some kids don’t want you to badger them about using the toilet. If you wait for them to initiate (after they initially understand the goal), they’ll be much more cooperative with the process.
5. It really is true: stick with it. Everyone kept telling me that once we started, we had to continue, even though there would be a few hours (or a few days) where you think your child will NEVER get this and you should throw in the towel. My husband and I almost reached this point and then, half hour later, our son totally surprised us with success.
6. After a couple of days, you can trust them to go out in public. This one TERRIFIED me. I thought about it the whole morning before we left. What should he wear? When should I take him to the bathroom? What should I bring? It was okay. He did fine.
7. Make it a team effort! My husband and I did this together, and it was awesome to have someone else with you in those first few days (even though we argued about methods!). The great thing is that when your child is successful, your spouse is there to celebrate too!
8. Trust and respect your child. This is your child’s body, and he is just a little person. He is starting to become aware of what his body can do so he deserves respect, praise, and trust.
9. One friend gave me the awesome tip to allow my son to choose his own underwear. This worked miracles, especially in the first few days when he would’ve rather worn diapers.
Do you have any toilet training tips or strategies? Or, are you on the verge of it yourself and want to share any concerns or fears?
PS: I will be taking a short break from the blog, as my due date is very close! The next time you hear from me, I’ll be the mom of two children!! So excited!!!