So it has finally happened, my 2.75yr old (we get to do that till he’s 10, no judgement) has finally started using the potty on a regular basis. I was a bit surprised, since Matt just got home from being gone for 7wks, and Asher has had a GI bug/pink eye/cold/ear infection/continuing GI bug for the past two weeks, but hey, I’ll take it! First – I never thought I’d be so damn excited about my kid using the throne. Second – I never thought I’d ever write about it on the internet, but I now understand why it’s so freaking exciting as a parent when they finally “get” it! So, since several people asked me “how” I’ve done it, I’m happy to share what has worked for us:
It started in February. I got a potty lid to put on our existing toilet and was determined to try this weekend method that apparently is fool proof. Asher had shown all the signs (see here) so I figured “why not”. Well…it didn’t work. It was SO STRESSFUL. There were a lot of tears on both sides. We didn’t even make it through day one and I could tell it was stressing my kid out! He even managed, while diaper free, to go 4 hours straight HOLDING IT before finding a diaper to pee into. That’s how serious he was about not wanting to try.
So, I started urging his daycare, where he does occasional drop in care, to encourage him to use the potty when other kids were going. Well, he’d occasionally sit on the potty for them and even pee for them, but at home? Nope. Not trying.
At that point I decided to just give up the ghost. We’d be moving in the summer and I knew Matt would be in and out, so stressing out about potty training just didn’t seem like a good idea. Then I read in our Positive Discipline book that every kid eventually figures it out on their own, even if they’re not “trained”. That was a GODSEND!
And that is when we decided to let Asher potty train himself, which brings us to this week –
We own a Lightning McQueen training potty that Asher picked out at Target a few weeks ago while we were browsing. I was hopeful then that “oooo maybe he’s gonna do it!” but stuck to my guns of letting him figure it out on his own. So I bought the potty, and put it in our half bath on the first floor. I encouraged him to sit on it (still in diaper) while I went to the bathroom. I let him play with it and press buttons. We even had a day where I took his Mickey doll and had Mickey pee on the toilet. But I never asked Asher to drop his drawers and potty. Then about two weeks ago Asher hadn’t peed all night. I kind of freaked out about the time lapse and asked him to sit on the potty for me. I got to a point where I actually begged my two year old to pee on the potty and offered to go to Target to buy a new (matchbox) car if he actually peed. So…he actually peed. HIGH FIVE! I did the biggest dance and jig you ever saw and carted him off to Target. So, I considered bribing him by picking up cars around the house he’s left astray and putting them in a basket where he’d get one every time he pottied if he wanted to.
This sort of worked. He’d go, ask for a car, and that’s it. But he hadn’t truly “got it” yet. Still no poop. Just pee. And he’d always ask about a car first. I remembered a freakanomics podcast where they talked about kids beating the system on potty training bribery. So…I just stopped giving him cars or asking him to go. Suddenly this week he just started saying “I go potty!” and running off to the bathroom to go. Two days ago he said “I go poopy!” and ran off and actually pooped in the toilet. We gave it some fanfare and excitement, telling him that we’re proud of him moving into this phase! But then he asked for underwear. So…
…I decided to play a game! I made a drawing of 10 boxes and some underwear. He gets a sticker every time he uses the potty. Taped to the sheet is an actual pair of Cars underwear. This kid has been using the toilet like a champ. We instituted this earning system today and he’s already up to 6 stickers! So, sometime tomorrow, he’ll be in underwear.
I’m not saying he’s fully potty trained, but it’s a start. And this “method” has actually been tear free. That’s what I like about it. The more encouragement and positive reinforcement, the more I’ve seen him go. He seems really proud of himself to build up his confidence by EARNING his underwear! This is pretty cool.
PS – I highly recommend you check out the link I added above to the Positive Discipline book if you have a young child. It’s helped us loads!
PSS – Dude. I’m totally that parent now who writes about their kid’s shit on the internet. HIGH FIVE!