That was big question when our son was two years old. He was our first-born son, and we weren't sure when to potty train him or even how to go about doing it. I had read books and asked other parents questions, but they all had somewhat different answers. I even purchased a potty training video that did absolutely no good for my son and made him, I think, even more confused.
When I asked other parents how to potty train, they just told me, “Wait until he's ready. " Well, when was that? I didn't know what the signs were to tell me he was ready. It was very confusing for us to know when and how to begin. I think we rushed our son to start, because I was expecting our second child at the time and we didn't want to have two in diapers. We had approximately seven months before our second child was due to arrive, and we wanted to get a head start on potty training our oldest son.
Finally, my older sister had some good and practical advice on how to potty train. She told me that when my son wakes up in the morning with a dry diaper, then it's time to start training him. That meant he was able to hold his bladder all night and was ready to go potty first thing in the morning. That made sense to me, but the problem was my son did not have a dry diaper every day.
So, learning how to potty train I realized was not going to be easy. I had to first learn patience. I didn't want to rush my son and frustrate him and make him feel incapable. He was only a little over two years old and didn't have a dry diaper every morning. Furthermore, he didn't understand the concept of when he had a feeling to go potty that he should go in his potty chair and not his diaper. Without embarrassing him when he still messed in his diaper, I just reassured him and told him that it was okay and that we'll keep trying.
Another thing I tried and I found it worked beautiful for my son on how to potty train was taking away the diaper during the day and putting big boy underpants on him. It was during those times when he couldn't make it to the bathroom on time that he hated the feeling of wetness or a mess in his underpants. It even alerted him more to the feeling of having to pee or poop before he messed his pants, and it actually helped potty train him quicker I think.
I soon discovered that the key to how to potty train effectively was persistence. Every day, day in and day out for almost ten months, my son and I visited the bathroom to attempt to go potty. He had graduated from the potty chair to a safety seat over the toilet. It made him feel like a big boy to sit where Mommy and Daddy sat. And finally one day on my son's third birthday at his birthday party, he told me, “Mommy, I have to use the bathroom, " and he went potty all by himself!
The key was not to rush him to learn how to potty train, but teach him the principles of training and let nature take its course. He had to grow to understand the concept of potty training before he could actually do it. And I realized that rushing him was only going to make him even more frustrated and nervous and wouldn't really teach him effectively. So, I had to be patient and allow him to discover on his own what his body was telling him and then learn when to visit the bathroom like a big boy.
And finally, I realized that being persistent during those ten months made all the difference, along with using big boy underpants and the big boy safety seat. This entire learning process even made the potty training of our second child that much easier as well.
Rachel G. LaChapelle is the website administrator for Baby Diapers and also a stay-at-home mom for 14 years. Please visit her site for all sorts of discounted baby items.