How did you decide to start potty training and what was your approach? (Our daughter is 16 months old and I'm wondering when I should start thinking about it). -- Blog reader.
In our case, we were operating against a clock of sorts -- a trip to Germany clock. We knew that training in Germany would not be a good idea. We also knew that by the time we got back, Isaac would be well over 3. We were seeing signs that both boys were ready. These included, from Isaac, frustrations when he was dirty or wet. From Elijah, he was hiding when he had to go #2. In fact, he would go hide and if we tried to approach him while he was "doing the deed" he'd back us up and say, "No fanks. No fanks." He wanted his private time. Isaac was also very nearly dry after naps and in the morning when he woke up.
In February of this year, we decided we need to give it a try. Isaac was 2.5 and Elijah 2. A perfect time to give it a whirl we thought. I read and got advice from a variety of people. In the end, I thought the best fit for me was the naked idea. One Saturday when both boys woke up, we decided to strip them down and let them be naked. We rolled back the rugs and gave them as much juice as they would willingly drink. We were both 100% present and each assigned to a boy so that we could watch them like a hawk.
Suddenly the dribbling began. You could tell they had to go, badly, but didn't like the feeling of peeing on themselves. So we'd sit them on the little potty and because they had to go SOOOO bad, they'd pee in the potty. We then gave them M&Ms, anytime they went potty IN the potty. It worked wonders. Once they associated the feeling with the potty and receiving the M&Ms, we put them in "big boy underwear." Isaac got the idea right away. Elijah had more trouble. He had trouble knowing before he started to wet the underwear that he actually had to go. But he was young and we weren't sure, in the first place, that this would actually work with him so we kept with it since he was getting it right a lot of the time. We did not put him in shorts very often so that he could feel the wetness as quickly as possible.
Pee-pee came easily for both boys. Within about a week they were both trained. We still put Elijah in a pull-up for awhile anytime we were away from the house or going on a trip in the car. But Isaac was nearly perfect and accident-free from the beginning.
I think going #2 can be more of a challenge. Elijah got it quickly but to this day, Isaac still waits for his diaper at nap and bedtime (we still do this for now.) We figured we'll approach this battle after we return from Germany.
As for when your daughter is ready, I personally would not rush it. You can do a "trial run" but if it isn't registering in her brain, I would go back to diapers and try again in a few more weeks. If she is pretty dry in the morning and after naps, if she doesn't like the feeling of being wet or dirty, and if she hides to do her deed, these are good signs. They typically say a girl needs to be at least 2 and a boy is usually nearing 3. Elijah was definitely on the young side, and we would not have started with him if it wouldn't have been that we had Isaac just 8 months ahead of him. I think, in the end, the M&Ms were just too great a call for him! I don't think there is any big rush, and we had planned that if that weekend was a bust, we'd just throw in the towel and try again a month later.
What about other parents out there. How old were your kids? What worked (or didn't work) for you.