How I Finally Got My Kids Potty Trained!

I know they say all kids progress at different rates, but I never thought my two kids would be so different with their potty training.  I’m not sure if it was first child vs. second child, girl vs. boy, my parenting style being different with them, or just their different personalities.  I’ve had friends whose kids were opposite mine; mine being the girl was easier and the boy more difficult.  The same goes for the first child vs. second child situation; opposite of mine.

My daughter is my first born.  I decided to try and potty train her about a month before my son was born.  She was two and a half.  She also had to transition to a “big girl bed” as well, so I could have the crib for my son.  I was worried about so many changes for her, but she made it through them all like a champ!  I was very prepared for potty training, as I read almost every book at Borders on the subject.  I planned out everything, and it worked liked clockwork.  Here is what I did:

1.  Got her ready for “Potty Weekend!”  We talked about it, read child-aged books about it, and had a countdown.

2.  When Potty Weekend arrived, we stayed home all weekend.  I started by giving her “Baby Alive.”  We showed her how the doll worked, and she understood when you drink something it will make you need to pee.

3.  Every hour we had her put her doll on the potty to pee, and then she would try and pee too!  When she was successful, she would then pick out  a sticker from the basket for her potty chart we had up in the bathroom.  Every 10 stickers she earned, she could pick out a small prize.  She was so excited about this, and she tried so hard!  Her favorite thing to earn was a new pair of big girl underwear (she wanted nothing to do with pull-ups).

4.  She had a few accidents, but she was pretty much trained in about two weeks (with pee that is).  She wore diapers to bed for a while at night, but otherwise she did quite well.  Pictures below of my daughter around age two and a half.

I thought potty training was pretty easy, and I wondered why some of my friends were having such problems with their kids. Now I know! My son was the complete opposite.  He didn’t care much about earning stickers, he didn’t care about accidents, and he just fought it every step of the way.  We talked to our pediatrician about it constantly, and she said he will do it when he’s ready.  It seemed the more we pushed, the worse it got.  We finally did back off completely, and now (knock on wood) he has finally decided to do it on his own!!!  He turned 4 in March, and we are so happy he finally wants to go on the potty.  He was “pee potty trained” for a long while, but now he is doing everything on the potty.  Thankfully…….he finally potty trained himself!

Potty training can be easy, and it can be difficult.  I guess each child does have their own way of going about things.  My only advice to you is to be patient, try things that make your child excited about potty training, and make it a positive experience for them the best you can (even if you are completely frustrated).  They will get there sometime!

*  How are your experiences with potty training kids?  Any advice to offer others?

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Kristin Wheeler

About Kristin Wheeler

Kristin Wheeler is a stay-at-home mom of a 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son. She was previously a teacher for 8 years (in Virginia, Oklahoma, and California). She taught elementary and middle school, with a focus in technology. Kristin received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and her Master's in Middle School Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Her husband is a professor at The University of Rhode Island.