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Potty Training a Toddler Can Seem Like a Nightmare! 

As a mother of three teenagers and a grade schooler, I have dealt with the potty training dilemma with both victories and failures, some of which we still laugh about.  I tried potty training both ways, forcing the issue with the firstborn and “waiting until they were ready” for potty training with the others.  I read books on potty training, compared notes with other moms and took advice on potty training from my own mom.  Looking back, I was insecure as I watched other’s kids train before mine and listened to various opinions.


Potty Train a Child: Potty Training Motivation

Truth be told, my three boys all potty trained after they were three years of age.  I found that toilet training largely depends on the child’s temperament and how we motivate them.  My children couldn't have been more different when it came to potty training.  

potty-training-after-age-3My eldest was fearful of change.  He was the child that cried so desperately in the nursery that I was usually summoned to comfort him.  He would literally break out in hives with separation anxiety.  My second born, was just the opposite; fearless and comedic.  When I left him in the nursery he couldn’t care less!  The eldest disliked having dirty pants, yet my second son could sit all day without a diaper changed.

What is the Age to Potty Train Your Child?

I recall a time when my younger son was about two and a half, playing in the sandbox with his older brother.  He had the cutest outfit on; little white shorts with suspenders over a blue and white checkered top.  We were hosting relatives for Easter so the house was full.  When it came time to eat, my husband went down to grab him.  He was literally soaked and soiled with a big grin on his face.  We still laugh about my husband carrying him straight out at arm’s length and putting him immediately in the bathtub.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most children are ready to train by age three, but not all:  “As a general rule of thumb, children are developmentally ready to use the potty around the age of three. However, remember that children develop at different rates and that not all children are ready at the age of 3.”  The AAOP also recommends waiting until the child is ready for potty training, and to be sure to give them loads of positive reinforcement and encouragement.

Positive Reinforcement and Potty Training

After the age of three, I believe the positive reinforcement and encouragement can be even more powerful and utilized in many forms when it comes to potty training.  True to personality, my younger son had just turned four and was still not potty trained.  As I changed his diaper one day, I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous!”  I began to think of ways to motivate him.  At the time, he loved the power rangers.  I found a large box of the figures (used) on Ebay and ordered them.  A few days later they arrived in the mail.  I opened up the box and showed him.  “Look!  Look what I have!”  His face lit up as he plunged his chubby hands into the box.  I told him, “No, you cannot play with them yet.  But each time you go potty in the potty chair you can pick one out of the box.”

Needless to say, he was instantly trained.  There were about 30 power rangers in the box and each time he went, I let him pick one.  I have to say that that was the easiest potty training experience of all!

How to Potty Train Your Child

And so I would say this to all concerned mothers:  be patient when it comes to potty training.  You are not a failure and your child will let you know when he/she is ready.  Find their “burn,” what they like to do, or a toy they like to play with and perhaps use that to help motivate with the toilet training.

Having had my children out of diapers for years now, puts things in perspective.  I wish you the best as you enter this new phase.  One day you will look upon it with laughter and reflection, realizing that it was not that big of an issue to worry about.

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