So, I’ve conducted a not so scientific experiment with my kid. Hold on, hold on, don’t call the social services just yet. It was harmless! I wanted to see if I can succeed in potty training him at the age of 18 months. The results: yes. Yes, I can!
I started thinking about kissing his diapers goodbye when I realized it was going to take another year or so to do it if I didn’t try it now (now as in August). I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard of many parents that succeeded in potty training in cold weather. The other thing that prompted me was the apparent fact that (according to uncle Google and T. Berry Brazelton) the child is ready to potty train at approximately 18 months when he begins to be aware of his elimination. And the third thing, well, let’s just say I was sick and tired of changing the darn thing!
Here’s how I did it.
First things first. A friend lent me an elimination communication book when the kid was successfully introduced to solids and his poop went solid, too. I must admit I didn’t have either time or patience to read but a few pages but did start to carry the little one to the toilet when changing his diaper. He caught on to it fairly quickly and he has been telling me when he has to go “poopoo” since he was one. Now, I had no idea how to go about peeing, but as we didn’t have to go quite from the scratch I was confident (if a little scared).
Just before the kid turned 17 months we went to the seaside and I had him naked most of the two weeks there. I had no plan, I just thought let him figure it out when he does it and how he does it. Yeah, right. He peed himself countless times. And happily informed me that he’s standing in a puddle, afterwards. Back at home I ferociously attacked google and read hundreds of blogs and parenting pages (of course I exaggerate) and found little to nothing. The only advice I got from a friend and a mother of three (and I shamelessly quote here) was “you just have to watch ’em like a hawk” and while that’s definitely true and useful if was insufficient for a mother of one. I really didn’t want to spend money on another book I will not read so I concocted my own plan from all of the above; a bit of information here, a bit of advice there. It was like my cooking, really.
Rule number one. You need a plan. Why? Because. Because while it turned out to not be that big of a deal, I would give up after a couple of days if I didn’t have a plan. A plan is important!
The plan was as follows. Take the kid out of kindergarten for a week. Check. Clear the schedule for that same week, you do need to watch him like a hawk. Check. Come Monday, tell the kid he is a big boy now and he doesn’t need diapers any more. Leave him commando. Intermezzo: I read on several of those mummy blogs (totally off topic but have you ever wondered why we use the same word for mother and preserved dead body? Yeah, me too.) that underwear will give children the same sensation they have while wearing diaper so leave them naked or, if that’s not possible, have them wear very loose pants. Prepare lots of floor wipes, because you will be doing lots of wiping. In my case it was four times that first day, but he did go to the loo four times as well, although I nagged him all day asking him if he had to go or carrying him there every hour or so anyway if the answer was no (which it mostly was). We didn’t go out save half an hour with his father late in the afternoon and we managed that without accidents. He had a 50/50 ratio of success so I didn’t know quite what to expect for Tuesday. Next day it was pretty much the same, but we did go out by ourselves for more that one hour and he was dry. No sign of progress, however, and I was a bit worried. On Wednesday he managed to pee in the toilet for the whole day, but had a bombshell for me in store. In the afternoon, he peed on the couch. Twice! And once again on Thursday. I was almost on my was to a drugstore to buy him enough diapers for the next two years but then thought, hey, the plan was to try and make it to Sunday so let’s stick with it (see, the plan). And surprise, surprise, the kid was completely dry on both Friday and Saturday, even told me that he has to go “peepee” once, and had one minor incident on Sunday! And so, we did it!
And yet, he wet his pants once when back to childcare on Monday, and also occasionally in the days following. I have also removed his diapers for his day nap and he stays dry at home but would sometimes pee during his nap there. We give him time. We had made great progress during that week and he has learned to pee in the toilet but cannot control it completely yet, and cannot always remember that he has to go while he’s engrossed in play. I don’t expect him to, but encourage him to tell me and ask him often. I found that he didn’t react well to the constant pressure of “do you need to pee?” every fifteen minutes and that he couldn’t or wouldn’t go when I took him even if he said no. When I stopped doing that he started telling me himself. We’re not quite there yet and he still wears his diaper at night, but it’s only been three weeks and we’re slowly but confidently nearing the finish line.
To sum it up – this is a quick potty training that will get your child diaper free in one week (approximately). And these are the tips to make it easier:
- Make a plan that is in accord to you and your kid. If you think you (or he or she) need 10 days, take them. If your child is older, you will perhaps need less. Stick to the plan!
- Clear your schedule and have the child at home while potty training.
- I’m not sure if being naked helps, but it worked with my kid, so … This is your choice, really, but I don’t recommend potty training pants because they don’t give the sensation of wetness which bothers children.
- Often tell your child that he is now without a diaper and he has to tell you when he needs to go pee or poop. You can be disappointed when he has accidents and tell him so but do not get angry with him.
- Take your time and – be patient!
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!