Potty training is an important milestone.
Your child’s milestones are exciting. From the first time they grip your finger with
their oddly powerful little hands to that first word and first step; it’s rewarding and
empowering as a mother to watch your bundle of joy blossom into this real-life little
person. Then potty training comes around.
Now, as far as milestones go, this one might just be the most laborious and here’s
why: potty training requires work from both of you. All previous advancements kind
of happen on your little one’s own time and with his/her own schedule. However, as
parents, we always feel like potty training has a bit of a tight schedule.
Sage Potty Training Tips
Why is there a time schedule? Well, for starters, most schools won’t accept a child
still in diapers to kindergarten. This isn’t true for all institutions, but as far as I
know, your child should be fully independent in the washroom by the time they hit
four years old. This can be daunting, trust me.
Try not to panic too much, though. And on a personal level, I can only offer my own
personal anecdotes on how to potty train a boy, but I tend to think it’s similar for a
girl (save for the whole standing and peeing and messes…oh the messes #boymom).
One of the most prolific things I ever heard as a mother preparing to potty train my
child was this: “It will happen when it’s supposed to, and that will be right on
schedule, so trust your child.”
The Ideal Potty Training Age
Does that mean your child will suddenly be diaper free at 1 year old? Highly
unlikely, but it is possible that by the time your girl or boy is 2-3 they will be
successful in using the toilet solo, as was the case with my boy.
Did he do it at such a young age because he was ready? I’d like to think so because
he was no longer wetting his diaper during the night, but I also had a personal
agenda to follow: I was recently separated, had just sold my house and was moving
into a smaller condo with my toddler. I’d sold his crib, bought him a big-boy bed and
refused to eat up precious limited condo space with boxes of diapers. So, he had
until I moved out of the house to learn to use the bathroom. He was 2 ½ years old.
Prior to this countdown to toilet use, I’d purchased a stand-alone “toilet” for him
that I kept out in the open for him to use as he saw fit. I also got a smaller seat attachment
for the actual toilet, along with a step, in case he felt the need to use that.
Potty Training Gizmos: Worth It?
The stand-alone toilet was useless for my boy. He used it once, then announced he
hated it and never went near it again. So, that was money well wasted. However, the
seat attachment was a lifesaver, and traveled with me in the car most of the time,
just in case.
I refused to use YouTube videos/songs to bribe or educated my son on how to use
the bathroom, but I did let him come to the washroom with me and watch me use
the toilet. Sure, we have different bits, but I needed him to understand the
fundamentals, and I think it worked. And if you do use songs like Daniel the Tiger or
Sesame Street, then that’s all right too; each child and parenting technique to potty
training is unique and there is no “wrong” way to do it.
When I thought my boy was fully aware of how a toilet worked and why it was used,
I decided to nip the toilet training in the bud in one weekend.
Potty Training in 3 Days
As I mentioned above, I was living in the house we had just sold, and it was
relatively void of furniture as I’d either sold pieces or my ex had left with items. So,
with a mostly empty house, I decided to use the pants-free method.
Starting Friday night after work, my decidedly amused son was allowed to walk
around the house with no pants and no underwear on. Of course, to sleep, he had a
nighttime pull-up on, but during the day he wore nothing.
By midday, on Saturday he was marching himself upstairs to use the bathroom to
pee and poop. No prompting from mom, though I will admit I rewarded him with
chocolate mini eggs after the deed was done, which I think helped a great deal, as
well. And I had zero accidents in the house. The idea of being exposed created a
sense of humility in him (in a healthy way) that encouraged him to take care of his
business in the privacy of the bathroom instead of in the corner of the living room.
Will this method work for every child?
I don’t know, as I’ve only tried this method
with my own son.
I have friends who used a chart method with stickers and a
reward system. Another used a timed schedule and brought their child to the
washroom every hour to sit them on the toilet and wait. And yet another waited
until her son physically walked up to her and said, “Mommy, I used the potty, so I’m
done with diapers.” And that was that.
Of course, it doesn’t end there, and it will still be quite some time before the
“MOMMY! I’M DONE!” calls from the washroom (and that means public washrooms,
too) stop, as you’ll still be on duty for wipes and then later on to check the validity of
the child’s wipes. But it’s a definite step in the right independent direction.
The Key to Potty Training
As is the case with most mothering, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Potty
training will be as unique as your child, and you will find the right method when the
But be patient, talk with your child, encourage them, and make it fun.