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Potty Training - What Are You Waiting For?

Updated on July 31, 2013

Potty Training is NOT a Tragic Event

When the potty-training subject pops up, someone in the crowd always seems to say, “but I don’t want to push my child." Parents of three-year-olds, who are still in diapers, are guaranteed to say it! I don’t understand where this lame-brained idea came from. Was it Dr. Spock?

I find it hard to understand why a parent would want to change the diaper of a child over the age of two. Do parents truly think their child is not smart enough, especially by the age of two, to understand and become potty trained? When I hear a parent say, “I don’t want to push him/her on the potty training,” what I actually hear are three things:

  1. I’m not ready to commit myself to the hard work of potty training.”
  2. I’m not ready to push myself to potty train my child.”
  3. I think potty training will be too traumatic for my child.”

Parents seem to be okay with ‘pushing’ their child to have table manners, like not throwing food around. Well, most parents. Parents are okay with ‘pushing’ them to wear clothes when they leave the house. And they even seem to be okay with ‘pushing’ them to go to school. Constantly exposing children to something, like the rules of society, is how we teach. Repetitive exposure is not “pushing.” Do parents think it is some sort of tragic event for a child to learn to use a toilet? News flash – it is not! It is an exciting, new experience that marks a milestone liberating them from wet, poopy, disgusting diapers.

'Exposure' is the Key Word for Successful Potty Training

By the age of one and a half, children have definitely learned to manipulate us in many ways. By now, and definitely by two, they fully understand bodily functions; they understand when they are urinating and when they are having a bowel movement. Some children at this age even go hide in a corner for privacy. Many parents say, “isn’t that cute.” Sorry - it’s really not that cute. If a child is hiding in a corner when they are urinating or having a bowel movement, trust me, they know what they are doing! This is a good clue that it’s time to start introducing them to the toilet. Pay attention to this schedule and try to sit them on the potty before they go into the corner.

Changing diapers is the easy way out for parents. Don’t kid yourself; potty training is a LOT of work. Without a doubt, we need to push ourselves to make the potty-training commitment. As parents, we know our child’s schedule and when they need a diaper change. Those are the appropriate times to sit them on the potty. Start slowly and get them to sit on the potty as much as possible and PLEASE, don’t add confusion by letting them sit on the potty with their clothes on. Start slowly, and make it fun. Do not let them flush the toilet unless they have used it or if their potty is dumped into it. Remember that flushing is fun! Be prepared to let them check out EVERY public toilet. They seem to quickly learn that every store has a toilet!

It's Okay to Take a Day Off

Remember too, that when we are first exposing our children to potty training (and before we've made the big commitment), they sometimes need a day off. They might not want anything to do with potty training; don’t be disappointed and don’t make a big deal. And please do not punish them for their disinterest. When that day arrives, give your child the day off. Continue to encourage and the interest will return.

Once a parent has exposed a child repeatedly to why we use a toilet and knows their child understands these bodily functions, it’s time to seize the opportunity and make the big commitment. It is a parent’s obligation to teach that these normal, natural, bodily functions need to be associated with a toilet. It’s time to take the potty-training pledge and be prepared for an increase in dirty laundry. Buy those “big-kid pants” with the cartoon characters and make it a special occasion. You might be pleasantly surprised that your child is ready and might not have any accidents.

Parents - Please Do Not Sabotage Your Child

Please remember that putting diapers on a child once the commitment is made will not only confuse a child, it can potentially sabotage the progress that has been made; it is the lazy way out! Putting a child to bed with a diaper or a pull-up diaper - sorry, but that is just pure laziness on the parent’s part and leads to further slip-ups for the child! It sends a message that it’s okay to urinate or have a bowel movement in bed. Yuck!

A children’s toilet, or at least a smaller seat that sits on top of the adult-size seat, will take away the child’s fear of falling into the toilet. Reading a potty-training book that helps explain the process from a child’s point of view, helps to reinforce what is being taught. When the child uses the toilet, please do not reward them with candy or promises of a new toy; reward with praise and encouragement. Make a big deal of it – a REALLY BIG DEAL, that they will have NO more messy butts!

Take the Plunge and Make the Potty Training Commitment

So go ahead; admit it. When you say, “I don’t want to push my child when it comes to potty training,” what you are really saying is, “I am not ready to make the commitment to potty train my child. I am not ready to wash extra crib/bed sheets, pajamas and clothes. I’m not ready to give my child extra baths and I am just not ready to pledge the extra time that potty training will take.” Continue to change dirty diapers until YOU are ready to potty train. Honestly, if you’ve exposed them to the concept enough along the way, you probably won’t have much extra laundry.

Now that you know why you’ve been putting it off, what are you waiting for? Purchase those big-kid pants, that potty training book, a small seat or miniature toilet, and get going! (If you can’t afford those things, no worries -- potty training will still work without them.) Remember that consistency will pay off. Don’t worry if you fail, your child will go off to college, see all those other kids in clean pants, and lose the diaper!


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    • LydiaBlogg profile image

      LydiaBlogg 6 years ago from New England

      Being a parent for the first time is an exciting event - congrats, jpcmc! Thanks for commenting and trust me, potty training will be here before you know it; you'll wonder where the time went. Just savor every moment!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      My first child is about to come out in a month or s. It's nice to read about things I should know. Potty training, though still far off is something I want to prepare for. thanks for the interesting hub. I enjoyed reading it.

    • LydiaBlogg profile image

      LydiaBlogg 7 years ago from New England

      Thanks wordscribe43, for the nice compliment. Potty training certainly IS a full-time job!

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Great hub, so true about the first statement: "I'm not ready to commit myself to the hard work of potty training." I remember feeling like it was a full time job with my kids. I made it much more difficult for myself in the end going BACK AND FORTH between no diapers and diapers (when I was feeling lazy). Anyway, this hub is spot on!