(because sometimes you just need a snack while potty-training)
I’m super duper lucky with the kiddos I got, in so many ways. They’re all fantastic eaters with adventurous and hearty appetites. They’re all fabulous sleepers who go to bed without question and almost never come out, save to use the bathroom. They’re well-mannered and kind. They get excited over the simplest things in life.
They’re awesome, if I do say so myself.
But you know what they’re NOT????
Good at potty training.
Okay, G. will be excepted from this one, because she fully trained of her own volition by the time she was two, but the other two? Hoo boy. And even G. just recently was able to ditch the night dipes. What can I say? That’s the downside of good, deep sleepers.
So, while I am totally NOT the one to go to if you’re interested in the “how-tos” of getting your baby or young toddler diaper-free, I might be a good one to offer up some suggestions if you suspect your child might be a later trainer. So here you go:
People are fond of saying “no child goes off to kindergarten still in diapers” as some kind of comfort. The reality is that very few children go off to kindergarten in diapers, but some do, and typically for very legitimate reasons. The odds are very, very good your child will be trained well before kindergarten, but it doesn’t always feel like it when you’re pushing birthday number four or even pass it. Don’t fret. Really. And don’t feel bad if you don’t find comfort in that trite saying.
Seriously. This goes for almost all aspects of child rearing, but do not compare your child to others. It doesn’t matter one whit if little Johnny used the potty at 18 months or your neighbor is an “elimination communication” master or people have told you since the dawn of time that girls train earlier. All of these things may well be irrelevant for your own kids. It is not a contest and there’s no reason to feel like a failure if your child is still in diapers when his peers are trained.
Factor in legitimate challenges.
My oldest child didn’t say a single word until he was almost three. Nothing. This didn’t stop me from investing in a potty chair when he was two and thinking we should get moving on this thing already. Really? Ask me how that went.
My next child was born extremely prematurely and she is, to this day, teeny tiny. Doctors have since told me that her bladder is incredibly small and it’s unlikely she’ll go a long stretch without needing a bathroom anytime soon. Her speech was also a bit delayed (though not as severely as our son) and she simply couldn’t physically hold it when she was a young toddler.
Once I realized that I was fighting a losing battle and waited for their own developmental levels to be in appropriate places, we had a much, much easier go of it.
Know that you are NOT alone.
People tend to broadcast when their 18-month-old asks to wear underpants and then successfully uses the potty with no issues. People do not like to talk about their fears, struggles, and frustrations quite as openly. That doesn’t mean they’re not there.
I am going to tell you all right now that my first two children were not fully trained until age four. FOUR. And by “fully trained”, I just mean daytime. Yeah. And you know what???
It really is. My oldest is big and brilliant and gentle and loving. My middle child is teeny and determined and feisty and compassionate. They’re great kids. They do well in school and are well-liked by their peers. No one cares that they weren’t potty-trained at age two. Honest.
So, there’s my dirty little secret:
I raise late potty trainers.
And I just want you to know that that’s okay.