By far my least favorite part of parenting is the potty training phase - it's messy and it's an interruption in the midst of a busy day. I prefer to take the path of least resistance and wait until my kids are practically training themselves. I think I heard this referred to as "potty learning" by a child psychologist since that's really what's happening. Parents don't really "train" their kids as much as the kids are "learning" the skill. So true, Doc! You can't force pee or poo to come out of a 2 or 3-year-old on command while sitting on a cold porcelain contraption with their feet dangling 2 feet off the floor. What an awkward skill to force upon someone! But eventually they do learn. So, I prefer to wait until my kids can recognize their own urges, stay dry through nap time, manage their own clothing, climb onto the potty contraption, and wash their own hands thoroughly. For my kids, they are successful at all those skills by age 3.5 to 4. I know some moms out there are gasping, "What?! You actually wait that long?" I've been in enough mom groups to hear the anxious stories about children's lack of potty training by age 2 or 3. (And, in all honesty, that was one of my many hang-ups with my first child). But really, learning this skill isn't completely up to us. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. The good news: they eventually learn whether you start "training" at age 6 months or age 3. They are all completely potty independent by the time they start reading Bob books.
Griffin is currently in the process of learning how to take himself to the potty. He's doing quite well. He asks to change out of his diaper in the morning into his big boy undies. He takes himself to the bathroom and takes care of the details. Except sometimes, he still acts like a 3-year-old and decides to do something completely hair-brained. Yesterday he decided to wash his undies by dunking them into the toilet...after he'd peed in it. He brought the dripping undies to me because he was proud of what he'd done. Later in the afternoon he used his little froggie potty. While trying to dump out the little bowl into the toilet, he missed entirely and poured the contents onto the floor and bath mat. My floors got a good cleaning yesterday - there's always a positive side, right? We celebrate going potty with a handful of M&M's and the potty dance.
Usually by the time my kids are ready to teach themselves how to go potty, and give up their diapers, it takes about 1-2 weeks to completely master the skill. That's my prize for waiting it out.
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