It hardly seems like weeks ago I was still buying pull-ups for my youngest son and stressing about when and if he would ever show any interest in using the bathroom instead of a diaper. After a summer of incredible patience, hours of “potty time” and no luck to show for it, I was pretty frustrated.
I am proud to say that finally, he has gotten it. While it is important to remember that each child is different, here is what worked for us.
For my first son, it was introducing him to cotton underwear. Once I put it on him, he never went back to pull-ups or diapers.
He is my child that is big on comfort. He was easy. My second son was not as easy.
It took a long time of practicing, rewarding him and lots of time before he was ready to shed the pull-ups. Those times all seemed like a distant memory now that our youngest is starting preschool and potty training.
Just after my son turned three, we pulled out all the tricks that we used on the other two boys. We presented a special potty just for him. We read him books when he sat on the potty. We rewarded him after even the slightest effort that he put forth. But nothing was working.
There was a long weekend coming up and I decided that this would be it. So after breaking out some soft, special underwear, I started Day One of Die-Hard Potty Training.
He wore underwear all day that day. And I washed seven pairs of underwear. As much as I wanted the backup of a diaper, I resisted putting anything but underwear on him. It wasn't easy.
For four days we didn’t go anywhere and we shadowed him around the house watching for the signs that he needed to go to the bathroom. The first two days were the days where we had many accidents and lots of clean up.
But by days three and four, he was starting to get it. He was listening to his body. We felt a great accomplishment in the making.
The first day we went out without diapers was very nerve-racking. This was especially because he refused to go to the bathroom on any potty other than his small, red one at home.
For the next few weeks, we learned to time our errands and outings around him. I would wait until just after he used the bathroom before leaving for school, the grocery store, or anywhere.
If I did not give him anything else to drink, I knew that I had about two hours. It’s a change in routine but gets easier.
Slowly, my son is becoming more comfortable going to the bathroom in places other than his house. Little by little, I am able to take him out and run errands like I used to.
Watching children accomplish milestones is one of the most rewarding jobs of being a parent.
Edited by Jody Smith