Potty trained without training

Potty training is not for everyone. It takes dedicated time, a lot of patience, and can be very frustrating for both parent and toddler!

Instead of “training” I used gentle stimulation. My gentle stimulation method takes longer than the 3 days or a week that traditional training methods require. It can take a few weeks, months or a year. It depends on the age and readiness of your child. However, it also requires a lot less patience and determination! Start with the understanding that your child will eventually use the bathroom exclusively. Understand what they want! Then just encourage them to do it.

Note: Your firstborn will probably take longer. Younger siblings tend to be interested earlier because they see their adoring older siblings using the bathroom.

How to do it: There is no procedure set in stone, but to give you a general idea, this is how I do it:

1. Watch for readiness: Our brains are wired for bladder control. Sometime between 18 and 30 months, your child will begin to “tell” you that he is ready. Signs include staying up longer, especially during naps; general interest in the bathroom; notices when he is wet or tells you when he goes to the bathroom or poops in his diaper; ability to follow 3-step directions; an increase in attention span.

2. Encourage the transition: When my firstborn started fighting every diaper change, with every diaper change I would tell him, “You sure don’t like diaper changes! When you go to the bathroom, you won’t need them anymore!” She would then list all the people she knew who use the bathroom! “I go to the bathroom on the toilet. Aunt Jen goes to the bathroom in the bathroom. Your friend Ava goes to the bathroom in the bathroom.” And so on and so on. Use male role models for boys.

3. Frequently acknowledge and verbalize her (or her) big girl status: “Wow, what a big girl you are! You did _____ (fill in the blank)! Big girls go potty on the toilet too! “

4. Exposure: The more natural and non-demanding your child’s exposure to the bathroom, the better. Read books about potty training, have play dates with potty-trained peers, and when she needs to go, say, “Mommy has to go potty now! I’m a big girl!”

5. Just ask: When you’re home and it’s convenient, just ask once in a while. No pressure, no force, just a simple question. “Do you want to go to the bathroom in the toilet?” My 2-year-old (29-month-old) now says to me, “Big kaka” (“kaka” is French for poop, my kids are bilingual) right before he leaves. So I ask the question. He sometimes he says: “Yes!” and we run to the bathroom. He sometimes he says no, so I say, “Okay. If you go to the bathroom, we won’t need to change your diaper.”

That’s all. Easy, stress-free potty training. Are you wondering how long it took my kids?

1st Born: Started showing interest around 22 months, out of diapers at 30 months (Grandma was coming to visit for Thanksgiving. That day my little girl decided she was officially a big girl and the diapers were gone forever).

Second Born: Started showing interest around 20 months. Without diapers around 32 months, nights lasted until 4 years.

3rd born: currently 29 months, potty a couple times a day. Still in diapers.

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