Some parents are eager for potty training from the moment they change their first nappy and some aren’t quite so eager.
You may be a busy working mum or heavily pregnant with a busy toddler and it can all just seem too hard!
Whatever you’re feeling, at some point, you’ll have to realise that it’s time to start potty training. The age when your child is ready for the potty varies greatly and largely down to the child – or does it?
According to a few professionals, you can get your child out of nappies anywhere from 9 months. Too early in my book, I still want my baby to be a baby and if they’re not walking and talking, how can they understand?
However, if the kid’s aged three or four, and parents have failed to even start to train them before they start school, is this a sign of lazy parenting? Yes, maybe? But what about the mums who don’t send their kids to day care and they have their kid running around in nappies at three? Too long, too far?
I was on holiday this summer in the hotel pool and saw a three-year-old with her swimming nappy on and a dummy in her mouth. That is a child, not a baby. I tried not to judge, but I had to wonder why this child was not capable of swimming without knowing when she had to go to the toilet… and the dummy is another topic altogether.
My three kids were all trained and on the toilet at 20 months. Now, now, please don’t think I’m engaging in one of those mothering pissing matches (he he, puntastic!) where we all try to one-up each other with our child’s milestones. But I was done with nappies and the sh*t that went with it. So because I was done, he was done. A week of staying at home, a week of weeing everywhere and a week of pooing on the tiles, carpet, outside and FINALLY in the potty.
It was hard, stressful, emotional and messy, but he got it and it only took a week of training. I had the time (even with two other little ones), the patience and persistence to see it through. Not all mums have that.
Most grandmas I know think that parents today are no good at potty training: we’re too lazy and we leave it far too late. And it doesn’t take much to work out why. Parents who go to work and send their children to daycare don’t have much time for anything, let alone potty training. They expect child minders and day care professionals to do the training for them.
June Rogers, Paediatric Continence Advisor (UK) says that “today’s parents are leaving it very late with most children ready for training from 20 months”. The trouble is if you leave it too much later, your child learns that a nappy is the right place to go to the toilet.
“In effect, they’re using their nappy as a disposable toilet so when it comes to training there’s some resistance – why should they stop what they’re playing, go into another room and strip off to do something they’ve been quite happy doing in their nappy for years? Parents often say to me, ‘He’s not showing signs of being interested’. Of course he’s not bothered – why would he be when it’s so convenient to do it in a nappy?”
June also goes on to say that we should introduce the potty at 12 months in a relaxed way just to get them used to the idea.
Potty training success hinges on the physical and emotional readiness of both parent and child, not a specific age. Many kids show interest in potty training by age 2, but others might not be ready until age 2 1/2 or even older — however, the parent has to be 100 percent committed.
Some very quick tips if you’re thinking of starting:
- Patience is a virtue
- Keep them naked
- Bribe them with everything you got
- Give them lots of praise (even if they sh*t on the tiles)
- Decorate the potty in stickers every time they go (reward)
So, mums of the 21st century, whether you’re a working mum, stay at home mum, dad or a tribal mother, there will come a day when potty training will commence – go forth, with patience, tenderness and care.