We are potty training veterans. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we are potty training experts because there are many different methods to achieving potty training success, but I think it’s fair to say that we are veterans. We are the parents of 7 children but we have potty trained far more than that number because for eight years, we were foster parents, caring for many babies and toddlers. At one point, we had four in diapers at one time!
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When our oldest was two, I decided it was time to potty train him. I bought a potty, got cute books to read to him about going on the potty, even borrowed a video from the library with a catchy song and toddlers marching around with potties on their heads and making it seem fun to go on the potty. I had read a book that recommended staying home for the first two weeks of training and so I did. I put the potty in the living room and everything became focused on this mission.
It was marginally successful, but when we moved the potty into the bathroom after those two weeks, regression happened. I tried all the tricks: charts, rewards, going shopping together for “big boy underwear”, Fruit Loops in the toilet to make aiming more fun, offering lots of water, using a timer…but we didn’t have much success. He wasn’t ready.
I learnt an important lesson in potty training my first…wait until they are really ready. Eventually, our oldest did get trained, but it was a sometimes frustrating and slow process with a lot of accidents and re-starts.
When our second was ready to potty train, (and this time, I waited until he was really ready), we pulled out the potty and got to work on “Mission Underpants”. I was much more relaxed about the process the second time around which helped, but I also discovered something new. You don’t need a potty to potty train. Our second son expressed a strong dislike of the potty because his big brother and dad used the toilet and he wanted to too.
I had never enjoyed having to clean the potty or having to bring it out with us, so I was very happy to bring a stool into the bathroom and let him use the regular toilet.
Our third round at toilet training, it was three kids at one time! I obviously needed to streamline the process, so we got rid of the potty altogether and from day one, used a step stool and taught them to use the toilet.
You can perhaps call it the lazy parent’s version of potty training!
Benefits of Not Using a Potty:
- Training on the toilet eliminates having regression occur when it’s time to transition them from the potty to the toilet.
- There is less to clean.
- There are toilets everywhere you go.
- They like feeling like they are a “big kid”.
- Toddlers want to emulate mom or dad so this allows them another way to do just that.
- No more tripping over the potty seat in the middle of the night!
I’m not going to claim that I have all the answers when it comes to potty training. Each child is different and there are many books out there with great suggestions and proven results (I hear really good things about this one, but it was written after my kids were trained already so I can’t give a personal testimonial).
I’m simply advocating that you save yourself some time and headache and skip a step in the process by beginning your child’s toilet training right on the toilet.
I have heard that there are some children who are afraid of the toilet so there would have to be some adaptations made such as a potty seat that fits on the toilet or allowing them to help in choosing the step stool to make them feel more comfortable. None of the kids that we trained using the toilet had any fear about it. They all did have older siblings though which I think does a lot to normalize using the toilet.