Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Many Faces of Potty Training

The potty trainers at our house fell into distinct categories.  While the basic method of training was the same for all, their individual personalities dictated how we went about it, as well as the timing and speed. 

Gavin (our first potty trainer) was the Don't Care Trainer.  He was content to use diapers and was content to walk around in wet underwear.  Messes didn't bother him so he had no personal incentive to use the toilet.  We attempted several times to train him before he turned three, but ended up frustrated each time.  Finally, we developed a method that worked rather quickly.  We brought the potty chair into our main living area for a few days.  We had him sit on it about twice an hour at first.  We had him sit so frequently that he didn't have time to wet between potty visits.  Each time he was successful, we rewarded him with an M&M.  Before long, he caught on and realized what he was supposed to do and we were able to move the potty chair back to the bathroom.  We night trained him at the same time and because he was so concious of what he needed to do during the day, it carried over into the nighttime hours. 

Maddie (our second potty trainer) was the Guns Blazing Trainer.  Being only 19.5 months younger than Gavin, she was already 18 months when he began potty training.  She immediately began showing an interest herself.  She was also an early talker and could express her needs well.  We had a period of days where she used the potty as often as Gavin did, but she was not very consistent.   One morning after her second birthday she sat at the breakfast table and declared, "I'm going to wear panties today,"  and she didn't look back.  It was just that easy!  We reminded her multiple times during the day to use the toilet, but once she decided to do it, she did.  Because she was so eager, we chose to train her directly on the adult toilet and not use a potty chair.

Owen (our third potty trainer) was the Reluctant (and Fearful) Trainer.  I was very apprehensive about training him because he was so terrified of the whole bathroom idea.  He was afraid to sit on the toilet.  He was afraid of the flushing sound.  He was afraid to wash his hands under running water.  He was afraid to even walk into a public restroom.  The whole idea terrified him...and terrified me!  A month after his third birthday, though, he developed a severe diaper rash that left him in so much pain, he limped when he walked.  I knew we were just going to have to go for it so on Saturday, I told him that starting Monday, he was done with diapers.  He was scared, but ready to get rid of his rash.  On Monday morning, we took off the diaper and made the switch to underwear.  I took him to the potty about once an hour.  The first day, his main accomplishment was learning to hold his urine for hours at a time.  On the second day,  he started having actual successes.  By day four, he was wearing underwear overnight and by the end of the week, he used his first public restroom.  Potty training went sublimely once we made the plunge.  Granted, seven months later, Owen still asks if he can wear diapers, but he is fully trained.

I anticipate another year before we even attempt to train Benjamin, but I'm sure there are as many potty trainer personalities as there are potty trainers.  What kind of trainer was your child?

To start at the beginning of my potty training series, click here.


  1. Kristin, I haven't commented on this series, but I wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I've appreciated it.

    I've potty trained two children so far, with two totally different experiences. The first was awful, the second was a breeze. I'm not sure what I did right with the second, and am still feeling a bit gun-shy about it all.

    So in contemplating giving it a whirl with Owen, I've loved this series, and how you've shared your insights and the differences between your children. Thanks so very much!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. Little started out with guns blazing and did great for the first two weeks; then she decided she would only go potty at home and we ended up having a long, drawn out training period of several months. Boo shows a little interest now, but I'm in no hurry to train him (although it would be nice to only have one in diapers). I appreciate you sharing your experiences and insights.

  3. This has been the BEST timing, Kristin! We're *just* about there with Maddie, she sounds VERY similar to your Maddie - Guns Blazing!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...