This post will probably be boring to most and sorry for how long it is, but hopefully it will be helpful to a few mom friends who read my blog. I have had several friends ask me what my technique was for potty training Hudson especially being that we potty trained him at 23 months. So, here are my thoughts...
First off, I don't claim to be an expert. I don't have all the right answers. Potty training goes along the same rules as everything else. I am definitely not a "my way or the highway" kind of mom. I believe each parent has to decide what is best for them and their family. For example, there are some parents who swear by living on a very tight and strict schedule and for them that might be the only way they can function. Other moms, have routines but there is a flexibility within those routines. Either way isn't better or right, just different. Same thing goes for vaccine schedules, potty training and everything else. So, just because we did this method I am about to share... does not mean it is the only method or the right method. When sharing thoughts or methods on parenting, I never want to come across with a sense of superiority as if my way is the better way. There are always several ways to approaching situations and our potty training method was just best for us.
So, here is our story. When Hudson was around 21 months he was already showing significant signs that he was ready to begin potty training, but I kept blowing it off because nowadays it seems most moms wait until their kids are 2 1/2 or 3 to start potty training and because I have always heard "boys are sooo much harder to potty train". However, Hudson began telling us at a very early age when he had a dirty diaper. Then at 21 months when he was sick with pneumonia and right before a bath we sat him on the toilet and he both peed and took care of the bigger business (sorry if this is TMI). We were shocked and excited that he was able to control and go on command. But, again I just thought he was too young and I knew we were about to head to Europe in a few weeks. I definitely didn't want a potty training toddler as we traveled across the UK.
Finally, after we were home from the UK and a few days after he turned 23 months, I had a great conversation with the wife of one of my favorite professors from college (Elaine Lewis). We started talking about the subject and I decided the next morning after church to head to the store to get the necessary supplies. All Elaine said was that she started potty training as soon as her kids could recognize they had a dirty diaper. She didn't want to teach them that it was okay to continue to go in their diaper once they were aware of it. So, her daughters and her son all began the potty training process around 20-21 months. She encouraged me to just take Hudson in our backyard without a diaper on and let him play. Once he peed, celebrate it and then begin to ask him to go.
So, that is what we did. After church the following morning, I took him outside in our backyard. The first two times he peed he was caught a little off guard, but then I was able to ask him to go and he went. He just needed to realize the muscle that controls it and he was able to figure it out. We only spent about an hour and a half outside then we came in put a diaper on and played. However, I think this simple step was so significant in teaching Hudson how to control his bladder. The following morning is when we began the process and because he knew what to do when we asked him to pee... it made the whole process so much easier.
I also received some amazing advice from one of my friends from high school (Tiffany Booth) who has potty trained both of her oldest children at 20 and 21 months. I didn't realize that there were so many moms around me who were training their children at such young ages. Anyway, one of the major things she said that stuck with me was once you start remain consistent and plan on going all the way. With that said, here was our plan of attack:
- The first 2 days we just let him run around the house naked and took him to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes. Anytime he did go, we made a big celebration and gave him a m&m. The only time he wore a diaper was for naps and bedtime. One thing Elaine said was not to give him a ton of liquid because that is harder for them to control their bladder when they really have to go. So, we just gave Hudson the normal amount that he would drink on a daily basis.
-When Hudson did have accidents we didn't get upset or angry, but instead just explained that big boys go in the potty. We didn't want him to be embarrassed as he was learning.
-Day 3 we put him in underwear which really helped because was aware a lot faster if he had an accident.
-By day 4, we headed out for our first outing and we were accident free. I was a little shocked and excited that at only 23 months he was getting it. We drove in the car about 20 minutes to Chick-fil-A, played in the playground, ate lunch and headed home... all of this diaper free and accident free. I just took him to the restroom as soon as we got there and about every 30-45 minutes while we were there.
-Once we started... no more diapers even when we went out. We have to stay committed in order to not confuse him. (Although, there have been a few occasions where we have put a pull up on, but we treat it as a underwear. Most of the occasions have been when we are going somewhere where there isn't a bathroom near by.)
Another thing one of my friends shared is that it might take him a little longer to tell me he had to go. Hudson was able to do this within the first few days, but he wasn't telling me every time he had to go. So, we just took him regularly. The longer he has been in underwear the better he has gotten about this. He definitely knows if he has an accident and doesn't completely empty his bladder. While he is not perfect, it has been so much fun watching him learn and understand. And I am so thankful that we don't have to buy diapers for the next 7 months to a year.
So, that's it. Nothing amazing or different than anything a lot of other moms do. But, since so many friends had asked, I figured I would share our experience. For those of you who read through this entire post... I am impressed :) haha... you are probably a mom of a child close to the age of potty training. I just want to encourage each mom that you know your child best. And you will know when they are ready... whether it be 20 months, 23 months, 2 1/2 years or 3 years... you will know.
And here are a few photos from this morning of Hud running around outside. He spends a lot of time at our house running around in just his underwear... because well, it is just cute :)