… is no training at all.
Call it “second-child syndrome,” but like most parents with more than one child, my husband and I found our parenting to be much more relaxed the second time around. And that includes toilet training.
When our first-born was of “potty training age,” I bought her training pants and had her wear one during the day. That was fine, really. But I would then badger ask her every few minutes if she felt like peeing or pooping. When I felt that it was time for her to stop wearing diapers at night, I would ask her to pee one last time before going to sleep. I then set up my phone to ring an alarm every four hours so I can get up and carry my sleeping child to the bathroom lest we suffer a very wet bed.
But It’s Not About Me
If you noticed, it was all about me and what I thought and what I felt my daughter should be doing. She did get the hang of it, eventually. Looking back, though, I suppose it was stressful for her as it was for me.
Almost three years later, another bundle of joy came to our life. This time, maybe from some wisdom gained from the last three years, my husband and I didn’t think much about potty training. Fingers crossed, we conjectured that maybe our son won’t reach the age of six still wearing diapers.
After all, the ability to control one’s bladder and bowel movement is a physical function that comes with one’s readiness and natural development.
And we all know that children develop at different rates.
Make It Fun
So, for our son, we were more about making him learn and making him feel positive about going to the bathroom. Here are some of the things that we did.
Read a lot of potty books
Kids love to read about small kids like themselves, so books about going to the toilet is a must. Some of our favorites are Taro Gomi’s Everyone Poops, Joanna Cole’s My Big Boy Potty, and Bruce Lanky’s super fun Tinkle, Tinkle Little Tot: Songs & Rhymes for Toilet Training.
Let him watch in the bathroom
It’s easy for girls because they use the bathroom like their moms. But for boys, it definitely makes more sense for them to watch their dads do their business in the bathroom. Dads, don’t be queasy and do some demonstrations!
Respect his “no”
We asked him from time to time if he wanted to use the toilet, especially when we would catch him looking at it with interest. We also bought him some pairs of underwear in case he wanted to wear one one day. But “no” means “no” and we never pushed it.
You will agree that what I described above is just ordinary and not special at all. What was different from how we approached toilet training this time was that we took out “should be” in our language, and effectively took out the stress from the whole experience doing so.
Our assumption that our son won’t grow up with super-sized diapers has been proven correct. A few days shy of his third birthday, he just suddenly asked for his briefs. He does his two businesses in the bathroom really well now, thank you very much, and he did it on his own good time. We still have a big stash of wipes and diapers, but we’re keeping those for night times and emergencies.
There is no race in toilet training. Readiness is key.
And so, my friends, the secret to toilet training is out.