I was a city girl, born and raised in metropolitan Philadelphia. Marrying my husband, a farmer,and moving to the country to help run the farm, transported me to another world. My mother-in-law taught me many things about being a farm wife, including freezing and canning vegetables and fruits. She gave me recipes that included exact amounts of salt, water, and other ingredients to add to canning jars, and included how many minutes to boil them. Everything was measured and deliberate. If I received emails asking about canning, I could pass along recipes, but I don’t. Instead, I receive numerous emails asking me about potty training. Unfortunately, instructions to potty train children cannot be written down in a measured and calculated way. I have avoided writing an entire post about it, but I think I can give some tips and suggestions, without stepping on too many toes…so to speak. (I do have a YouTube video that demonstrates the technique that I use to potty train. You can view it here) These are just suggestions of what has worked for me in potty training my 8 children, and the 5 that we babysit.
-“What is a good age to potty train my child?”
With your first child, it’s anyone’s guess. How’s that for a helpful answer? (You’ll feel more comfortable training consecutive children, after the first child is trained) I potty trained all of mine when they were between 22-24 months old. One of my sister in laws waited until hers were 3 years old. My husband’s cousin trained each of her 4 children at 15 months old. I have read that most children are physiologically ready by 22-24 months, but there’s lots of factors affecting the process. Is mom pregnant and too uncomfortable and /or sick, to start potty training? Is there a new baby in the house, or another life changing event, that might affect your toddler’s behavior? etc. If when talking to your child about using a potty, and they are vehemently opposed to it, it’s probably not a good time to start.
-“What do I do if my child is opposed to even trying to use a potty?”
An important part of potty training is for mom to remain calm and look happy, even if it’s not at all what she’s feeling. We don’t want to reveal an area in our lives in which our children can “push our buttons.” Because of that, if your child is saying no, no, no, forcing them is not going to work. I would make the process look attractive. Keep a potty in the bathroom, and talk about it. I would hang up a stickers reward sheet in a visible place and talk about it. Without warning, I would try a week later, and make it a glorious event.
-“While I’m training, do I still use diapers, in case of accidents?”
I did only for naps and overnight. I told the child that a new chapter was being written in their lives, and during the day, when they were awake, they were ready for ‘big boy’ pants, which were Pull-Ups. I used cloth training pants for the first 3 or 4 boys, but it was messy and inconvenient. My time and mental health were too important, so I splurged on Pull-Ups.
-“Do you use rewards?”
I do! Potty training takes their will-power, and work, so I reward. I’ve used plain stickers, compiling stickers that lead up a to prize, and mini M and M’s.
-“Do you limit activities during potty training, so that you can plan to stay at home to train?”
Yes, I do. I find it much easier to be at home, until the child is more confident in their ability to know when they need to find a bathroom. This is usually only 3-5 days ish
. -“How do you know who to listen to for help? There are so many family members and friends who feel a need to share their expertise and/or criticism.”
Just keep smiling, keep calm, and if any of the advice seems even remotely like a good fit for you and your children, store it in the back of your mind for future reference. Exactly what I’d recommend you do with this post!
I would LOVE to read your potty training tips!
I was blessed to have my babies very close together. The only problem was that I had morning sickness that got longer and worse with each pregnancy. I had at least one toddler each time that I was pregnant, (except with the first). and there were several hours a day that I did’t feel well enough to get anything done around the house, or even worse, to play with the toddler(s).
Guilt would set in, and then I would became sad and frustrated.
My mom gave me some great advice. She told me to just try little, simple things.
To my amazement, little, simple things worked well. My toddlers knew that they were loved and that made me feel so much better.
Here are some of the little things that I did:
-Group hugs on the sofa complete with ‘light tickles’
-I would put them on my lap and hug them for several minutes while telling them how much I loved them
- We would sit together and I would tell them stories about Daddy, and Grandma, and Uncle Alex, and important people in the child’s life
- If they were verbal, I would sit with them and have them tell me stories about ANYTHING they desired
- I would pull a table next to the sofa so that I could relax, while they sat or stood next to the table and to play with blocks, or Play Doh, or cars, or farm animals, or do ‘art’ work
-We would brush each others hair and talk about ‘world events’
Please hear my heart. I know that spending only 5-10 minutes at a time with a toddler is not the best for them, but there are times in life when we do what we have to do, and a ‘little lovin’ is better than ‘no lovin’ at all, for short seasons!
I’d love to read some of your ‘little, simple’ things!
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