If you want my advice on potty training, here it is: DON’T BOTHER.
Yes! Free yourselves! Fuck the books! Fuck the advice! Fuck the “well mine was potty trained at 9months” show-boaters! Fuck ‘em all!
You know why? Because if you do it my way, your kid will literally do all the work for you.
Necessary disclaimer: I am not an expert in toddler bathroom habits. I am not a childcare expert. I’m also not a major go-getter who tries to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to my kids’ milestones. I’ve always (and by always I mean in the past 3 years of my having kids – as previously stated – NOT AN EXPERT) stuck pretty firmly in the, “when he’s ready, he’ll do it” camp and so far it’s worked out pretty well for me.
I felt compelled to write this because I have recently encountered a lot of women who are very VERY stressed out about toilet training. There are so many resources out there and so many techniques and so many questions to be answered and I’ve found them all to be totally useless. You know when a toddler is going to shit in a toilet? WHENEVER HE DAMN WELL PLEASES.
Let me share with you my potty-training journey.
Well there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say – but I digress.
I started thinking about potty-training my toddler when he was about 18-months-old (about a year ago). A lot of my friends who had kids that were going to daycare around that age were losing their minds at the time because they required that the kids (babies) not be in diapers in order to be accepted. MADNESS!
If that is your current reality, that fucking blows and I feel for you big time. You should also stop reading here because the rest of the tale does not apply to you and it will likely send you into a tailspin of tears, so you have my full permission to close your current browser.
Now – for the rest of you.
I bought a little potty and presented it to my tiny dictator right around his second birthday. He thought it was strange but funny. He would sit on it and laugh, sometimes put it on his head, and very, VERY rarely, he would pee in it if his diaper was dry upon waking up from a nap.
For a long time (I’d say about 6 months), I noticed the toddler in question would go off by himself for a while during play time. This desire for privacy usually meant he was either peeing or pooing. Furthermore, he no longer wanted to hang out in a dirty diaper for a long time – “Mommy, Change me!” usually followed each bout of seclusion.
PROMISING! Maybe he’s ready for potty training after all!
So basically what I did was get some underwear, and since he was surprisingly verbal at age 2(ish), I’d ask him every once in a while (after I knew he had JUST peed) if he wanted to forego his bulky, uncomfortable diaper for a sleek, stylish, David Beckham-approved boxer brief (H&M make our faves, especially because my dude is of the skinny variety).
I can remember about 9 occasions in total when he said, “UNDERWEAR!”
The rest of the time, he gave me the usual tiny-teenager response of, “Nah, I’m good.”
Alright fine – diaper it up all you want, kid.
One day he woke up from his nap (a 3hr stretch) totally dry. I jumped around like a fool and encouraged him to see if he could try going in the potty. He agreed and he actually went! Wooo!
I happened to have some Smarties on hand and we decided that he deserved “Three for Pee” (and yes, he would also receive “Two for poo”, of course).
That little game went on for a couple of months – dry upon waking, potty, small celebration, treat (because bribery is the best), choice of diaper or underwear afterward. Done. No fucking sticker board or 1-2-3 Magic involved. (On the rare occasion he chose underwear, an hour or so later he was given another choice: diaper or potty. 99% of the time, the former would win out.)
Fast forward to one month ago – Three months shy of his third birthday. We were headed south to Mexico for the month of January. I packed a bunch of his undies because I figured they would make perfect tropical PJs with a light t-shirt.
Well you can imagine my surprise when we walked into the house, my mom asked him if he had to go pee-pee and if he wanted to go in the potty and he said “Yeah! Sure I do!”
And off he went. On a “big-mans potty” with no kiddie seat.
Underwear went on and I have literally not changed a diaper since. (well, except for the baby’s, of course)
Seriously – no no.1s and no no.2s. Everything happens in the potty and he is the one calling all the shots. He’s gone in public, at the airport, sleeps in his undies at night, and he has only had one minor mishap during the whole ordeal.
So that’s it, that’s all. Time to get out your favourite Sharpie and cross “Potty Training” off your list of shit to worry about – that thing is WAY too long anyway.
Jude Law & Ewan McGregor for Telegraph Magazine, 2002
*****SHOP THE REBEL MAMA*****