We were told right away, before he was even born, that potty training would be the hardest thing to do; because he was our oldest born son. Once the storm of having a newborn blew over, and the many doctor visits ranging from his heart murmur, (turns out it’s benign); to his severe and constant and projectile reflux, (which he outgrew by six months), I finally settled down and researched best methods on potty training first-born boys.
I picked up Dr. Sears’s “13 Toilet Training Tips to Know Before you Start”, Terri Crane’s “Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day”, Lora Jensen’s “3 Day Potty Training”, among so many other online articles, books, and even mommy centered sites like cafemom.com and babycenter.com. I consulted friends and family members who have braved this potty training adventure with their first-born boys before me. I was so overwhelmed that I honestly didn’t know where to start. My friends and family all had a lot of “best practices” that they used and worked for them, so I book marked them in my mental storage for usage along the way later.
We went out and bought a basic 3-in-1 boys potty, the kind that he can sit on when he’s little, then the seat comes out and on the adult potty later, and then he can use it as a stepping stool to wash his hands, or get up onto the adult toilet. My mom had a custom old-fashioned children’s potty made out of wood. We also bought a Disney Cars potty seat for the adult toilet. We began by sitting Jay on his potty (the simple basic one we bought), every time we went into the restroom.
Jay showed a LOT of interest at first. He was so curious, and wanted to go every chance he could. The issue was, he was barely 1-year-old. Jay started to walk at almost 9 months old, and he was talking in small sentences and running by 1. Potty training just seemed like a “natural” progression. He wasn’t showing signs of slowing down, and we weren’t about to stop him. Well, what was the issue? Why wouldn’t he potty train? Why wasn’t he potty trained? Simple, his little body was simply NOT ready. He had no control over his bladder, or bowel movements. It wasn’t that he wasn’t interested or mentally ready, because he was, it was simply that he wasn’t physiologically ready. Children are not physiologically ready or able to hold and control their bladders and bowel movements until 18-24 months old. Well, we shouldn’t have had any issues right???
WRONG! The issue THIS time, by the time Jay was between 18-24 months old we were making a HUGE change to our family dynamic. Brother Zech was born when Jayden was 20 months old. Prime time for potty training. With me being on constant bed rest, in and out of the hospital, and finally induced due to toxemia at 35 weeks, we missed our prime opportunity to get Jay potty trained.
We continued to put Jay on the potty every time we went to the restroom, we continued to encourage him, and talk to him about using the big boy potty. We used incentives, ranging from a small piece of candy, to a prize from a prize box, to a special treat with mommy and daddy, and even using pennies in his piggy bank. Every thing seemed so fruitless. I was beginning to think that my poor child just would NEVER be potty trained.
We are expecting our third son this March, and I was not about to miss our small window of opportunity to potty train again, and further push it back. I buckled down, and this time, I included Jay in what his potty training incentives would be. WHAT AN AMAZING DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!! Seriously, we chose two different potty charts, to chart his progress. One is a path with all of his favorite Disney Cars characters, that he gets a sticker each day for, if he has no accidents. I let him pick out what his prize at the end of the path would be! He said he wanted a special outing with just mommy and daddy when he reaches the end of the path. I told him, that’s 17 days that he has to go accident free. He said, okay.
The second potty chart, to chart his progress, was a daily tally list for each day of the week, for 4 weeks. Again, it has all of his favorite Disney Cars characters. I let him chose his prize for this one as well. We agreed that for every 5 times he successfully uses the big boy potty he will get .25 cents to go into his piggy bank, and at the end of the week we will take the money he’s earned and go to the dollar store for a small prize of his choosing.
GUESS WHAT!? It has been working! I didn’t realize how much like his mama, my Jay bear is. He needs a LONG term incentive and a short-term incentive. He needed a long-term and short-term goal. He needed to be included in what his prize and consequences would be. He has had UNBELIEVABLE success. He has had NO accidents in two weeks now. He has used the potty and not only does he just go, but he can pull down and pull up his own boxers/shorts. He makes sure we add a tally to his chart each time, and he pours his pee into the big potty and washes out his potty after every use, then washes his own hands.
We have even gone on trips out of the house, like to church, to the store, grocery shopping, to the bank, etc and he has been telling us he has to go potty! We officially have a potty trained kid! Now, we just need to start working on the night-time and nap potty training here soon. I’ll let him finish his current trackers and get a little more gain and control before we switch it up, but he’s got it!
Remember how I said that this journey of motherhood, and when we are exploring it, that sometimes we often find that it’s more about discovering ourselves? Well, this potty training experience has been a little bit of both. Not only did I figure out what works best for him, but I figured out that he is a lot like his mama, which has made the process and even discipline for other things, a lot easier!
It’s crazy, because yes he looks like me, his mama, but his birthday is 3 days before his daddy’s, and he’s got a lot of his daddy’s personality and attitude, however, somehow he functions like his mama! Where as our little Zech is opposite. He looks like his daddy, his birthday is 4 days before min, and has a lot of my personality and attitude, however, he functions like his daddy! I honestly am so curious as to how CJ will be when he is born this March. Should be interesting.
Potty Training has been FRUSTRATING to say the very least, however, I’m pleased to say that Zech who is 18 months is starting to show a LOT of interest because brother is! I’m running with it! Hopefully we can get him going potty like brother Jay before baby brother CJ is born!
Happy Potty Training to those parents out there trying to figure out what works best for their child! Trust me when I say, it’s sort of learn as you go thing. I honestly don’t think there is any guarantee way to successfully potty train a child, and these authors are a sham mostly, but they do have some good points and insights occasionally. What works for one child, may not work for another child. Now I start the journey of figuring out what works for Zech, the challenge is, he’s not as talkative as his brother was, and he’s not using as many words as his brother was at that age. We will figure it out though!