At Gio’s 18 month check-up back in August, the pediatrician recommended we start talking about going on the potty & really familiarizing him with the concept. I did have a potty book, so we started reading that along with our usual bedtime books. Even though we were talking about it & showing him how we use the potty, he didn’t really have any interest– but we just kept reading, talking, & showing him anyway.
I bought the Munchkin Sturdy Potty Seat that goes on top of the regular toilet, but he was scared to sit on it. So we bought the Baby Björn Potty Chair— which he liked sitting on, but only if he still had his diaper on, ha! We read the book while sitting on the chair (in his diaper) & every so often he’d “try” to go before bath time– aka he’d sit for a whole .5 seconds before he jumped up & said, “all done!” lol. So months went by, we were still showing him/reading/talking about the potty & he still didn’t really care. We encouraged him but we didn’t push him.
One of the things I learned before I even had kids was that you shouldn’t push kids before they’re ready. Especially boys– & boys can take longer. But with Gabriella due on his birthday, I won’t lie– I was hoping he would be potty trained by the time she arrived. He wasn’t… & that’s ok. Things got put on hold when she was born, but once we got back in the swing of things I decided we need to try. Like really try. We had introduced him to the idea & now it was time to practice. So here’s what I did:
THE DAY BEFORE THE BIG DAY
I told him all day long– tomorrow we’re going to sit on the potty with no diaper & we’re going to go like a big boy! Alllll dayyy looong I reminded him… Gio is used to me giving him a countdown to what’s about to happen– it’s a habit I learned as a teacher & it’s been helpful as a parent. I let him know when it’s almost time to get ready for bed, or when it’s almost time to get out of the pool… anything I think he might resist me on. “Time for bed right now” prompts a meltdown MUCH more often than when I give him a 10-15 minute heads up. 9 times out of 10 things go smoothly since he knows what to expect, but let’s be honest. He’s 2. Sometimes he’s emotional regardless, haha.
I started as soon as we woke up. I put his chair in front of the tv (a trick I learned from a friend) & surprisingly, he sat with no diaper, no questions asked. He sat & sat & sat, but nothing. I gave him snacks & water. Nothing. I gave him books & let him play on the iPad. Nothing. By this point, he had been wanting to get up so I figured, “Ok, he doesn’t have to go. I’ll try again in 15 minutes.” Well… no lie, a few minutes after I put the diaper back on, he went. We did that for most of the day– he’d sit on the chair foreeeever & then he’d go almost immediately after the diaper went back on.
Tom suggested keeping the diaper off. At first I thought that was a bad idea.. what if he just held it? That wouldn’t be good for him. Or what if he had a #2 accident? That wouldn’t be good for me. Haha! But I tried it anyway. I was being a total helicopter mom following him around & I think he was weirded out by it because he kept asking me what I was doing lol. All the while, I just kept reminding him, “if you have to go potty we’ll go sit, ok?” Every 15 mins or so, we’d sit & try.
Sidebar: if they’re reluctant to stop playing to go sit, set a timer on your phone. I used the “duck” alarm in my classroom & told the kids, “When ducky quacks it’s time to try!” It makes it more fun for them, you don’t forget to remind them, & you’re also not the bad guy interrupting their playtime ;)
& then that magical moment happened where he sat & WENT! I got sooo excited & gave him tons of praise & a sticker :)
We continued that for the rest of the afternoon– I’d ask him to sit & time & time again he went potty! Then Tom came home from work & gave him lots of praise. We were talking in the kitchen & out of the corner of my eye I saw Gio walk over to his chair & look down. I whispered (very aggressively, lol) “Omg is he going on his own!? I think he’s going on his own!!” Tom walked over & sure enough he went! We cheered so loud we scared Gabriella & woke her up.. oops, sorry Gabi! Lol.
The first time he went #2 on the potty, he seemed pretty confused.. he said, “I did it!” But then looked at the potty, then me, then the potty again & he looked kind of scared. I made sure I gave him extra praise & encouragement & he seemed ok with it. I kept him diaperless for a few days until he really got the hang of all of it before putting him in underwear (not that he minded being naked at all, lol.) & adding the extra step of pulling them down. But how cute are these boxer briefs! Haha!
SOME BUMPS ALONG THE WAY
He had a couple #2 accidents in his undies which set us back. We didn’t make a big deal about it, instead we just reminded him that when he has to go, we’ll go sit on the potty. Apparently going #2 can be scary for kids… it took probably a week of him crying when he had to go #2, holding it until the very last possible second, & then me rushing to sit him on the potty before he had an accident. It was hard for him & it was hard for me because I couldn’t really help him. But I tried to stay positive & kept encouraging him, I knew he’d get the hang of it eventually.
Fast forward to a week or 2 later & he started going #2 as casually as he was going #1, & somewhere in there he began preferring the potty seat I mentioned earlier as opposed to the chair– a huge win for me since that meant I didn’t have to clean his seat out, ha! I remember the first time he carried his stool into the bathroom, opened the toilet cover, put his seat on, pulled his pants down, climbed up the stool, sat & went all on his own. I was SO proud but also so sad that he’s really a little boy now. His favorite phrase these days is, “I do it myself!”
So far he’s stayed dry on outings & he woke up dry this morning, so he’s really doing great! We do still have occasional accidents… I’m actually doing laundry right now from an accident today… But I think it’s to be expected. My real fear is using a public restroom with him– I don’t think my germaphobic self will ever be ready for that, ha! I’ve had friends say to just keep the potty chair in the car in case he has to go, but then I’m thinking… what do I do after he goes in it? Lol. Seriously, you guys. What do I do with it after. Haha.
ANYWAYS, if you’re still reading this you deserve an award, ha! I hope by sharing our experiences you learned a few tricks or at least got some entertainment from our stories. Do you have any potty training tricks that worked for you? Share them in a comment! Thanks for stopping by–