Dear fellow mama (or dada),
I’m just a gal who happened to potty train my kids before (or immediately after) their second birthday. This blog post is meant to encourage parents who are interested in potty training around age 2, that it’s not as scary or daunting as it might seem—and is so worth it! You will do what’s best for you and your child in the right timing, and I salute you.
XO Grumpy Mommy Frumpy Mommy
[Photo: Tim Johnson on Flickr.com]
So this past week I potty trained my littlest one who was a few days shy of turning 22 months old. She’s my third child and even though I had potty trained my oldest and middlest one fairly successfully around the same age, I was kind of dreading it this time because I know firsthand how much hard work it is.
“Can you just potty train this one?” I said to my husband. “I reeeeeally don’t want to!”
I had a five-minute pity party but he wasn’t taking the bait. I realized it was up to me to get my little angel comfortable with using the toilet, ‘cause let’s face it mamas, if it was up to the guys, most kids would be in diapers until they turned 12.😉
(On second thought, since changing diapers stinks so much—literally—my guess is most men would have their kids walking around half naked with newspaper laid around the house until the little one figured it out. Guys might even invent a game with a point system every time the child made it on the newspaper, haha! That’s not a knock on the men; women just tend to be the primary potty trainers…maybe for that very reason.)
My daughters’ preschool was closed last week and that was a big motivating factor for me. We’ve used a 3-day potty training method and with my oldest and middlest ones, I potty trained during a four-day weekend. This time I would have seven full days to potty train and felt like there would be no pressure. If she caught on—great! If not, we’d try again down the road.
By the grace of GOD, my little one did so much better than I could have hoped for! All that worry and dread for nothing.
We were at a party over the weekend and the little tiny cherub running up to me and saying “pee pee” or “poo poo” and me replying with, “Okay, let’s run to the potty” drew more than a few quizzical looks and questions.
“How old is your daughter?”
“Wow. She’s potty trained?”
“Aren’t you worried about having to find a restroom when you’re out and about?”
I knew they were wondering why on earth I would potty train her so young, so please allow me to share seven reasons with you:
1. MY KIDS SEEMED READY – With all three of my children, I read up on what the signs of readiness were for potty training. My kids showed interest in the potty and could vocalize when they were about to go in their diaper (poop not pee). They even sat on the potty for me a few times. Because of this, I wanted to strike while the iron was hot…before the novelty wore off. This is one great reason to potty train before they turn two. After a while, the kid is like, “Meh, it’s just a toilet.”
2. I HAD THE TOOLS NEEDED TO SUCCEED – My sister-in-law had already potty trained her daughter who is a year and a half older than my son. She turned me onto an e-book that is a three-day method of potty training. So thankful for that! I read the e-book, and let me tell you, it’s so empowering to learn the how-to of something you previously knew nothing about. I got all the supplies I needed (tons of dishcloths for cleaning, a whole stack of undies, M&M’s and stickers, a doll with its own potty) and had them ready before our first day of potty training, which was two days after my son’s second birthday.
3. I WANTED TO DO IT BEFORE THE TERRIBLE TWO’S STRUCK – I had heard about the terrible two’s and three’s, though we didn’t really experience this with our firstborn. (Lest you roll your eyes and think I’m one of those people with “easy kids,” you should know that our middlest one generously allowed us to experience the terrible two’s, starting probably at 18 months old haha!)
Truly, 21 – 24 months is a magical age. Most toddlers are just forming their own will, and that contrary or resistant nature hasn’t really kicked in yet. I thank the good LORD that I potty trained our middlest one at 23 months—even though I was 8 months pregnant with her little sister at the time, and actually sobbed on Day Two of training because I thought it wasn’t working. Her strong will at 23 months was not nearly as full-fledged as it was during her two’s and three’s. I can’t imagine trying to potty train her during that time. I might not be alive today to tell the tale.😉
4. DIAPERS ARE EXPENSIVE – Seriously, if you buy a ginormous box at Costco, it’s about $36.00 plus tax, and you’ll need more about a month and a half later. Not to mention wipes and Diaper Genie refills. That gets expensive, people. If you’re buying diapers until they’re three and then moving onto Pull-Ups, you might as well take out loan. I haven’t done the math, ‘cause I’m the word girl not the numbers girl, but I told my hubby he ought to calculate how much money we saved by not having to buy diapers after our kids turned two, and wrap up that wad of dough and give it to me for spending money. That has not happened yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
5. I WANTED TO STICK IT TO THE MAN – On the heels of the expense of diapers, the diaper industry is projected to make 52 BILLION dollars in 2017. They don’t need my money. Or yours. Diapers go from newborn size all the way to size 6 for a 35+ pound child. Then the diaper industry has convinced us that our children need to be in Pull-Ups all day once they’ve outgrown the diapers. In the words of the comedian Kevin Hart, “It’s too much, Grandpop!” Maybe I’m a slight rebel at heart, but I kind of wanted to stick it to the man by not falling into the diaper trap.
6. BECAUSE PUPPIES CAN DO IT – Did you know that a momma dog trains her puppies where to go potty between three to nine weeks old? I mean, if they can do it at a relatively young age, so can we, amiright humans?! I think sometimes we underestimate our kids. With our first two kids, my husband expressed doubts that they were ready to be potty trained…especially since people told us with our son that boys take longer than girls, which is only somewhat true.
I think back in the day when diapers weren’t available, mothers probably taught their children to use the toilet (or the outhouse or that special spot in the woods) a lot sooner than we do today. Who wants to change soiled cloths 6 – 8 times a day? Not this girl. And not our shrewd female ancestors I’m sure.
7. IT’S LESS WASTE ON THE ENVIRONMENT – If you Google how diapers are affecting the environment, you will be lost in a matrix of staggering statistics. Then you will sit down and eat a bowl of ice cream and watch a video of a father-daughter beat boxing duo to cheer yourself up. (I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not I did that.) Disposable diapers generate tons upon tons of waste. The manufacturing of diapers requires billions of gallons of fuel and the chopping down of at least 200,000 trees in the United States alone. The Lorax would not be pleased.
These seven factors came together to give me the kick in the pants I needed to potty train my kids “early.” To have the courage to at least try. Yes, it was three or four days of yucky clean up, constant repetition (“Tell Mommy if you need to go potty”), and being attached at the waist to my kids. But life is messy, isn’t it? And with all three of my kids, I was pleasantly surprised with what they were able to do at a young age.
As an added bonus, on Day One of potty training my littlest one I had this thought: Life with young children is so hectic and goes by so fast, so events like potty training just might be God’s way of slowing down the time a bit for us for a season. And for that I’m thankful.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
**At what age did you potty train your child(ren)? What potty training methods did you use? Let me know in the comments section below!