Potty training is always the elephant in the room as soon as your child learns how to walk and talk, sometimes even before that. You get expert advice from every Tom, Dick and Harry you meet whether or not they’re a parent, that it’s high time you train your child. And of course its different to potty train boys than when you train girls because most boys tend to be more fidgety. But how do you answer such people? When do you start getting worried? When do you start your potty training merchandise shopping? And most importantly, when do you start and how do you go about it?
I went through all these questions and stages and since I emerged successful, I shall narrate my story, since there’s a chance it may help others. My son Zaviar learnt to talk very early on. This also meant I had the “Potty training advice” brigade on my case a lot earlier than I expected. I might have heard about it at least 1,316,529 times. Did I exaggerate? I’m sorry but it felt like those many times, really. Every time I used to smile and say, I’m not doing it before he turns three. Honestly, I don’t even remember where I got the number “three” from. I may have just heard that it’s when most kids are trained and I confess, I used it to get my well-wishers off my back :P.
Potty Training a One-Year-Old: Not Yet
I have heard stories of how people have trained their kids at four months old and even before they learned how to sit. I heard how these were perfect mothers and how I should aspire to be like them. A little research into the matter introduced me to the term “elimination communication” and then I knew what to say to everyone who told me to train him already. No I did not train my boy when he was one.
Potty Training a Two-year-Old: Still Not Yet
This was a difficult time because Zaviar was a chatterbox when he was two. He held conversations with people, which prompted them to ask me why I haven’t trained him yet, since he can talk and would be able to tell me when he has to go. Frankly, I think I might have been able to, had I tried. I don’t know what it was, laziness maybe, or the fact that I wanted to stick by my word and train him at three, I will never know. What I did do at two was, start making him accustomed to sitting on the potty seat. I also did a lot of shopping for the grand event that is potty training. I also told myself that I would wait for the summer vacations right after he turned three, and train him pronto. So no, I did not train him when he was two either.
There were some things that I already had, which I received as gifts. This included a potty seat which fits on the toilet, and a potty training book to help children get accustomed to the idea. I LOVED both of them and they were an immense help. The potty seat was by Munchkin and the book was Potty Time with Elmo. At first my son was apprehensive about sitting on the potty seat, as I expected him to be. He was scared he would fall off even though it had handles. The book coaxed him into sitting and he started peeing into the potty almost immediately. I literally read the book to him in the bathroom, and he would go every time I took him. So I would take him every time he woke up in the morning and every night before sleeping. So by the time we got down to the real deal, he was ready.
Potty Training a Three-Year-Old: Finally!
Then came the summer when Zaviar was three, and I made the mistake of thinking I’ll train him in the training pants. I got him all excited about them and told him I don’t have too many and that he has to not get them soiled/dirty if he wants them to last. Well that didn’t work and I conveniently finished my stock and more than half the summer went by with my boy left untrained. Then I thought I had to adopt the age-old practice and just take off the training wheels, oops, I mean diapers, and let him roam about diaper-free. I tried this one day and that was the day he decided to show me he has some sort of a UTI because he wanted to go every five minutes and would pee in little drops on the floor everywhere and couldn’t control himself. I stopped everything, gave him lots of water, and tried again the following week, only to find myself in the same situation again. I then told myself, maybe he’s not ready yet, and convinced myself to bear the advice brigade for a little longer and wait for the winter vacations.
Finally, as you might have guessed, in the winter vacations, my son and life in general gave me a break. I took off his diaper one morning after we went to the toilet and bribed him with a new red underwear (red being his favorite color), told him he’s a big boy now, and that we won’t wear underpants like grown ups if he pees in them or soils them. I wanted to take him again after half an hour and he told me he didn’t have to go yet. Having read so much about it, I decided to let him trust his body and just kept reminding him that he has to go when he feels like it. An hour later he rushed to the bathroom saying he has to go. I took that opportunity to let him know that if there’s ever a time he needs to go really quickly and no one is around, he can go and sit himself, then wash up, dry himself, and come out. The prospect of going alone and handling the shower by himself really excited him and my boy went the whole day without a single accident. He took a little time with pooping because he thought he couldn’t apply pressure to poop since he was accustomed to squatting while he did it in the diaper. Enter the big stool… and it magically solved all our poop problems. It helped him squat and do his business and we let it go after a month after he realized he doesn’t need it anymore.
I did get worried about what I would do when I had to go out somewhere and how he would know that he has to control in places where the washroom isn’t available but we just have to take that risk. We took that leap when we went to the park, less than two weeks after that first day, and ladies and gentlemen, we came back potty trained and happy. We had gone for short rides and malls before that, but the park was a milestone moment. So it’s possible. Training your child in one day with minimal effort is very much possible, given that your child is ready, he understands, and he’s comfortable with going in the toilet and peeing and pooping on the big potty. I still haven’t trained him for night though because of course I was waiting for another set of vacations, and when that time comes, it will be another story.
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