How do you know when it is time to potty train? So glad you asked…

Vida Noelle

You know, parents ask me this all the time. After all, I am a professional in the business, right? Well, let’s just say that the majority of my knowledge was learned the good old fashioned way. Experience at the school of hard knocks (said quite proudly, of course!) 🙂 !

Actually, the old rule of thumb (and when I say “old” let it be understood that my oldest child is now 30) was that when the child stayed dry through the night, that was a pretty good clue that the bladder was ready for training. Oh, did I say bladder? I should have said, PARENT…because potty training, contrary to common thought, is intended for the parent’s benefit, not the child.

Back in “the day” the newest trend in potty training was called “Potty Training in a Day” and there was an actual handbook teaching parents how to successfully potty train their cherubs. The book was passed around with GREAT ENTHUSIASM and a mild disclaimer…”it’s doable, but it will probably take about a week, not a day.” I jumped right on that bandwagon–I was in Ecuador at the time, using cloth diapers and a consistently low water supply, so getting Janielle out of diapers came with incredible motivation for me.

We dove right in first thing Monday morning–plenty of juice and salty snacks on hand, dolly pee-pee was also being trained that week, you know, child-like peer pressure. If dolly pee-pee can make it to the potty, so can your two year old.

NOT the handbook we used in the good old days...

I must credit Janielle–she did an awesome job, but it did take us a few extra days. I think by Wednesday, we were both pretty well in tune with each other–I recognized the signs and remembered to prompt her, she willingly and happily performed well. Such a pleaser.

Child number two came along. She took a little more time, but she pretty well followed her big sister’s pattern.

Then came our son. Boys are different. Did you know that? I had never had brothers, so all the nuances of potty training a boy were…let’s just say we had a few more challenges to consider. The fire hose, for example, is a great teaching tool. What happens when you turn on a hose full pressure and just let nature take its course? I am quite sure you get the picture.

Then came the dilemma of what way to seat the poor boy during the training…he is too small to stand up and clearly not ready for aiming with any accuracy at age 2. Or 3. Or even 5. That whole accuracy thing really brings down their approval ratings, in my book anyway. Have I mentioned before that I am a professional at this? Right. So I decided that seating boys toward the tank would solve a few problems: better balance, less likelihood of spraying the entire bathroom, less chance of spraying ME, and future understanding that boys face the tank when they go potty. I thought of that ALL BY MYSELF! I was so proud. My son, thankfully, was equipped with an enormous sized bladder, compared to his sisters, so we breezed right through most of the process. It was a great day when we were truly done with diapers.

But you know, I now care for children on a full-time basis: some are my daily joys, some get to sleep over every night and be stuck with me 24/7–also known as my grandchildren. They are continuing my education in potty training, bringing me to the question of the day: how do you know when it is time to potty train?

According to the latest research I have done, in my vast array of experience, the perfect time to potty train occurs when the child consistently removes their clothing and diaper in bed multiple times overnight and during nap time. Vida, crazy little love of mine, loves to do this OVER AND OVER AND OVER…it is driving her mama and her nana crazy. I am bound by conscience and I am sure, the law, to adjust my methods in a kind and nurturing manner. Let’s just say, I am working on that. And if any of you may have a straight-jacket and handcuffs for a 2 year old, I would pay you well for them.

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