**as always, my parenting posts are simply my sharing what has worked for my family in the hopes that it can help yours. I am not a parenting expert by any means, I am simply learning as I go (as aren’t we all!)**
So first of all, I’ll admit straight up, the concept of potty training terrified me from the beginning. It just seemed, so, HARD! And stressful! And messy! And nebulous! For me and my littles! But I felt like there had to be a better way, and what I would like to propose in this post is, I believe there is. I took a rather non-conventional potty training approach with my little ones and it worked absolutely beautifully for us. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t messy, it was so, NATURAL. And honestly, it wasn’t training. I just let them take the lead and they did it themselves. And, dare I say, it was so EASY. It really was. It was so so easy. When my son was barely over a year old, he suddenly started refusing to poop. It was seriously stressful and traumatizing for both of us. On a whim, I got a little potty hoping that perhaps the only issue was he didn’t want to mess his diaper. Lo and behold, he pooped on the potty that day and we never had another issue (or another single poopy diaper from him!).
I got a simple little potty, the Summer Lil’ Loo Infant Potty, (ours is green and white but I can’t find that one anymore) but anyway I was NOT into cleaning a bunch of random decorations and gizmos on some fancy singing potty. I also got a little folding to go potty seat. (In trying to find our green and white one, I came across this Baby Bjorn Smart Potty that is considerably cheaper than the raspberry colored Summer one and looks absolutely fantastic and easy to clean too) These have been amazing and easy to clean and worked fabulously for us (the folding seat lives in my diaper bag along with some sanitizing wipes and has really been a lifesaver for tiny little bums when we are out and about). Advantage to using a simple potty too…no one complains when the one at the grocery store doesn’t sing upon flushing!
Anyway, shortly after Harry turned two, he suddenly decided he was over diapers altogether and one day, he just stopped using them. No accidents all over the house, no days of training, just boom. He was done. Thinking that maybe my daughter would be inspired, I tried having her use the potty. Not only was she not interested AT ALL, I could tell she wasn’t physically ready. She just wasn’t feeling the cues. I made the decision to not push it. I could have gone into major potty training mode and put her and myself through he**, but I didn’t.
And I am SO GLAD I didn’t. I chose to make my mantra for potty training “they won’t go to college in diapers”. And, they won’t. Short of some outstanding mental or physical issue, your average kid will decide to ditch the diaper before they attend freshman year. But really. They will. And it makes me wonder why we put such pressure on our kids (and ourselves!) to potty train so urgently. I mean, yes, of course, it’s nice to be diaper free (although I’ll admit personally I find it much more stressful to have to be always on the alert for the nearest potty!). But really. There has recently been this wonderful push towards full term/child-led parenting (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, child-led weaning, etc) and I do truly wonder why potty training isn’t being included in that line of thinking.
A few months ago, my daughter suddenly asked to sit on the potty. All by herself. By her third birthday, she was officially diaper free. All on her own. No tears (from either of us!) no days of battling her lack of desire, (or perhaps even physical lack of readiness!) it was just, easy. For both of us. We got some fun big girl underwear and she never looked back. No regressions, no stress. Could she have done it earlier? Probably. But why? It would have been so hard on both of us, just to have her using the toilet a few months earlier. I think it would be pointless. And yes, I understand that most (if not all) preschools require potty training be completed before attending and some parents are forced into complying, but I think it stinks. For both parent and kiddo. (and quite literally, if your kid is having lots of accidents).
Why don’t we practice a more child-led potty training approach? Why do we put ourselves (and our children!) through SO MUCH STRESS! Practicing this approach with my twins (who have both handled it completely differently!) has been incredibly successful for us. They each did it on their own time frame and didn’t have to experience any of the traumatic stress that can happen when mom is pushing and child is not ready. (either mentally, emotionally, or physically). And yep, they’re both diaper free. I simply followed each of my children’s cues, and let them lead the way, and we avoided so much stress and tears and I believe completely unnecessary and possibly traumatic work for all of us. I certainly will follow this same approach for my new little guy when the time comes.
What are your thoughts regarding the push on potty training and the stress it can put on mama and child?
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