Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Potty Training Dilemma

Do you have to check the toilet for random sprinkles prior to sitting on it? Apparently, my invisible child, It Wasn't Me (or it could have been I Didn't Do It - we haven't figured out which one it is), has a bad habit of sprinkling on the potty. (It doesn't help that I have 5 boys...I'm almost thankful that two are still in diapers.)
Unconventional or Lazy Mothering?

I'm not the conventional train-your-child-to-use-the-potty Mom. I figure that, when they are ready, they will let everyone know and start doing it themselves. You could say that it is the Lazy Mom's way of tackling potty training, however I have a hard time believing that forcing a child to potty train is any better than letting them come to that "Y" in the road on their own.

Of course, we'd all love to cut that diaper expense right out of our bill structure...But, if your child is not ready to begin potty training, what is the use of buying the training potty and a bunch of treats to try to coerce them into doing something that will come naturally...eventually?

Yes, your family doctor is going to tell you that, at a certain age, your little person should be attempting to potty train, but there is not one childhood "rule" that is steadfast...

All babies learn to walk at different ages. All babies start eating solids at different ages. They learn how to read at different ages. And, just because Bobby up the street started potty training at two and a half years old doesn't mean that my little Dylan needs to be rushed into it immediately.

It Happens Naturally

In all honesty, I can say that, besides the random sprinkles that magically appear on the toilet seat, all of my children decided to potty train on their own, and without a struggle, they were all "big kids" by the age of 3 and a half. No struggles, no fighting, no getting upset with them for having accidents in their pants.

I just never came up with a good reason to allow myself to get upset with my child over using (or not using) the toilet. I mean, what parent forces their child to potty train? Unfortunately, the majority of parents do it...and, why? Well, because the doctors say that they should be potty trained by a certain age and we want our kids to be on the right track, right?

I Take Growth Time Lines Lightly

Think of it this way: when you are under pressure, as an adult, you may find that you work better, but most of us do better when we are given the appropriate amount of time to learn. A child is not going to learn his or her best under pressure....especially when it comes to potty training. Don't you agree?

Yes, children should reach certain milestones in their life around certain ages. But, all children are different; they do not progress and learn at the same speeds and in the same ways. Even adults learn with different learning techniques. Some techniques work for some people, and other techniques work for others. Children are the same.

So, Why Should All Children Be Expected To Potty Train the Same Way at the Same Time In Their Life?

All of my children have achieved different milestones at different times in their lives. They've all potty trained at different times, too. My oldest four are all potty trained (besides, of course, the annoying sprinkles) and decided that they were going to do so well before the four year old mark. Some were completely trained at two years old and others just made it before school started...

But, the beauty of it is: they all "trained" naturally, when they were ready. 

Encouragement..Even Though I Don't "Force" Potty Training, I Encourage It

I definitely encourage "going on the potty" starting at about two years old. I talk about going potty when I'm changing a diaper, "Won't it be great when you are a big boy and use the big boy potty like your brothers and your sister and Mommy and Daddy?"

Just the other day, I got the answer that I didn't want to hear, "No, I like pooping in my diaper."

"Right, because you don't even have to get up from watching our favorite show or playing our favorite game, but nobody likes to smell that. It's a private thing."

"I like pooping in my diaper." Okay, point made. Not time to potty train. Would it be better if I was mad at him for pooping his pants because the doctor said he should be potty trained by now?

I will dance around and clap and make a great big deal of it when they finally decide to try, though. We have a Poo Poo on the Potty Party. And if it doesn't "work" the first time they try, I tell them something like, "You'll get better at it the more you practice. You'll get it right."

Not All Kids Are Alike

Despite the fact that I choose to allow my little ones to decide when to potty train, I stay honest with their doctors and let them know that I feel better this way. I know that being honest with the doctor allows the ability to discuss possible issues that my child may have that will hinder potty training.

I understand that sometimes there is a reason why children won't potty train - it could be physical or mental - and it will need to be addressed. But, these issues were eliminated by me and the doctor for every single child of mine. Some of my kids wanted to learn fast and others seemed to take forever.

My stubborn child right now just turned three. He's the one that tells me that he likes his diapers. That's not my cup of tea - changing diapers on two little ones every day (because we also have the one year old too). Especially a three year old's diaper! Yuck! But, he's not ready. It's a simple fact. And, I can handle that.

He does use the big boy potty when he wants to - but that's about it. He wants his diapers. I refuse to sit him on the toilet against his will. I refuse to fight with him about "going" on the potty. I refuse to belittle him like he is not growing fast enough and learning fast enough. (Because he's smart as a whip otherwise.) Childhood is tough enough.

I'll Put Thoughts In Their Mind

I "horse-whisper" ideas all the time "into" their minds. Thoughts that, I can only hope, flow into their subconscious mind and convince them that it's time. (I can't tell you it works, but it makes me feel better, so why not?)

"In order to go to school, you need to use the potty like a big boy."

"Like a Big Boy." That's my advertising gimmick for the'll become a Big Boy when you use the Big Boy Potty. How many of you use that one, too?

"Pretty soon Dylan will be a Big Boy and not need diapers anymore..." Big Smile.

"Dakoda's a baby, but Dylan...he's playing the Wii and he can get dressed all by himself. It won't be long until he uses the Big Boy Potty all by himself!"

Sometimes, I might as well be whispering in the wind, but, like I said, it makes me feel good.

For Now, There Are Enough Sprinkles

I'm completely okay with him taking his time with potty training. It means more diapers for now, but it will end soon enough. To be quite honest, I'm glad there are limited sprinklers in my house. I'm sure he'll be ready to leave his mark soon enough.


  1. Well we are slowly potty training my 18 month old. Like you I am in no hurry. I cloth daiper so I'm in even less a hurry. But really the only time that I put my son on the toilet is right after nap time and right before baths. Any other time, I say have you pooped, and he grabs himself LOL! To check, or I say do you need to go poo? And he runs to the bathroom. This does not however mean he goes once he's put on the toilet. I think the key is to not push it. Once you push it, kids sense that and they immediately take a disinterest. Keeping them interested in it, while not pushing them is the key, and like you said they all learn at different ages and I don't think they should be pushed. However if you child is 4 years old and not potty trained that is kind of a problem in my opinion. I am stopping by from relax and surf sunday! :)

    Heather From and Mommy Only Has Two Hands! and Lynhea Designs

  2. Hi, Heather! Thanks for your comment! I agree with you completely. Mine have all potty trained FULLY by four years old without pushing them at all (just encouragement). :) My 3 year-old (just turned in Aug) still likes his diapers, but like I said, will go to the bathroom when he chooses.

    It seems like it clicks - all of a sudden - and they decide that they want to start using the potty when they are ready.

    Amazingly enough, by four years old, all of my children were fully potty far, so good!


  3. We have a four year old with autism we are trying to potty train and a soon to be 3 year old with ADHD who isn’t trained yet. They both disrobe and play in their diapers. We actually invented some clothing that helps the situation. It is called The Wonder Jumper and it is a romper sleeper that zips in the back. Our company is called iKids Fashion thanks a lot!

  4. New follower!
    At one point, I had 2 in diapers, a newborn and a 2 year old. About 6 months after giving birth, I was feeling bold and decided to try potty training my eldest. Let's just say, it didn't work out. She wasn't ready. There were too many tears, yelling, and frustration. 4 months later, it finally clicked! She got the concept. I'm a believer that when they're ready, they're ready.

  5. Thanks for the follow, Mama! I'm glad that I'm not the only one that has discovered that "it will happen when it happens".

  6. I came across your blog by accident and I'm really glad I did.. THANK YOU FOR THIS.. My son is 3 yrs old and his getting there... and I been feeling like a bad mommy.. Everyone keeps telling me, his way to old, you better get him potty trained but deep down I knew that when he was ready he would do it... So reading your blog made me feel so much better that I'm not the only one that feels the same way... Thank You From Texas..

  7. Jessica:

    A "bad mom" wouldn't be worried about whether she is a "bad mom" or not. Just the fact that you WANT to be a "good mom" makes you one.

    Your little guy will figure out potty training...and then you'll have to watch out for the sprinkles. :)

    Thanks for visiting!


  8. My partner and I really enjoyed reading this blog post, I was just itching to know do you trade featured posts? I am always trying to find someone to make trades with and merely thought I would ask.


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