At times I feel like I can hear all the phrases used in different households by different people. I can hear mothers saying “Do you need to use the potty now? Do you want to try?” When changing diapers at the changing table children hear, “When are you going to use the potty? Mommy doesn’t want to change these diapers forever, you know?” Another phrase that echoes around is, “Oh won’t it be great when you are using the potty?” Grandparents get into the fray with the admonishing phrase, “You don’t have her out of diapers yet? I had all of you out of diapers before you were walking.” Oh friends and neighbors aren’t innocent. “You should put her in pull-ups” or “Just buy him Sponge Bob underpants” or “Put him on the toilet every hour”, or “Have you tried M & M’s as a reward?” It is as if it takes a village to toilet train a child!!!
Yet it is wonderful when a child is finally toilet trained. It marks an end to a stage. Parents deal with less mess. No more buying diapers. And the most appreciated factor is that the never ending unsolicited suggestions from relatives and strangers will stop. Getting there will be great. But getting your child “toilet trained” requires little “training” from you.
The amazing thing about this process is that most children train themselves when they are ready. After all, they do have ultimate control over this issue, don’t they? They decide. They have control. The biggest battle of “toilet training” is fighting all the pressure to “train your child”.
Think of it from the child’s point of view. When all the young child is hearing is “potty, potty, potty….,” they recognize only that a fuss is being made over them. When a fuss is made over them for doing nothing, there is no motivation for a child to change from doing nothing. They are smart enough to realize that if they change and go in the potty, then they risk all the fuss about them over the potty will end. From the child’s point of view isn’t it better to continue having people make a fuss over you for not going in the toilet?
There is an easier way to toilet train. First, despite what you are told, most children do not go on the toilet before two and a half at the early end. Most children toilet train themselves at three years old. By the time your child enters that age, he has probably seen people go to the bathroom and perhaps has tried copying the action himself. But as your child approaches three, it is time to stop talking and reminding about the toilet. You should pay no attention to toilet issues. It should appear to them that it doesn’t matter to you where he goes to the bathroom. In fact, it shouldn’t matter to you since they have control of this issue, right? Make diaper changes boring – even emotionally cold. Don’t let diaper changes lead to play, reading, or other fun. Make it all business. Make sure grandparents and others don’t pester your child about the toilet either. Tell them he will train when he is ready. Your child may try to go to the bathroom in other places like a corner of a room. A quick correction and coldness will suffice for any “accident”. Don’t over-react to it. Only respond with praise to your child’s toileting actions to valid attempts at the toilet. This way the only attention your child is getting over this issue is with positive attempts at the toilet. Eventually he or she will move towards this positive experience. Be patient. After all your child will not go to college in diapers.