“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Okay, so I know that this Bible verse does not refer specifically to potty training, but it was the best I could do! Two and a half years ago we started our first adventure into potty training. I was pregnant and determined not to have two kids in diapers! However, this was my first child, and I really had no idea what I was doing. I received a lot of advice from many well meaning moms and read several books and articles on this childhood milestone. We tried everything- reward stickers, Skittles, guilt, punishment, praise – you name it! With an air of defeat, I sent my almost 3 year old to his first day of preschool in Pull-Ups. His teachers assured me that they would encourage him and the other “diaper kids” to use the potty (I took some comfort in the fact that he wasn’t the only one in his class). August 26 arrived and so did baby sister Elyse; so much for having only one child in diapers. October 2nd came and my oldest child was now 3 years old (and still in diapers). I had switched back to diapers since Pull-Ups were so much more expensive, and he was using them just the same as diapers.
Then one day, I think my oldest must have been visited by an angel. That is the only way I can explain his sudden change of heart. In mid-November, I drove to Florida with the kids to visit my grandmother who was very sick. On the way down, we stopped at a truck stop to take a bathroom break. They had a family restroom with a kid-size toilet. Kieran (with a dry Pull-Up) decided that was really cool and used the potty. When we reached my parents’ house 3 hours later, he was still dry! And that was the end of potty training. He never looked back!
I’ve had many new moms ask me about potty training, and I tell them that I didn’t not potty train my son and thus cannot give them any sage advice!
From my previous experience, you can understand why I was shocked when my 20 month old baby girl pointed to the toilet and said, “Potty!” I think she wanted to be like her brother and started sitting on the potty making sound effects (pshhhhh) months before Kieran even acknowledged that the bathroom existed! Despite the promise Kris and I made about not even trying to train the 2nd child, today, I started “Potty Boot Camp” with my 23 month old. Of course, five minutes after I gave her the “potty speech” and put on her new big girl underwear, she wet right through them! Oh, this is going to be a long day, I thought! I stuck with the plan, made her clean up the mess and did the “potty drills”. That was the first and last accident of the day, thankfully.
While Kieran could have cared less about rewards, Elyse was ALL about the “pizes”. Her mantra all day was, “Pee Pee Pize…Pee Pee Pize” or “I wanna supize”. I even gave her strawberry ice cream for lunch after she woke up dry from her 2.5 hour nap! I’m afraid she is going to be seriously disappointed when we back off the reward system. The only major mishap was when I walked into the living room to find Elyse standing in her potty (which was NOT empty)!
We ended the day with a successful evening out to dinner with the whole family (no diapers were involved)! I may have been a little overconfident, but Elyse was a champ. Of course, she did moon the table next to us when I asked her if she needed to go potty. I guess you can “train up a child” but you just can’t take her out!