What I Learned From Potty Training 3 Kids

I’m sure you can relate to me when I tell you that I like to be in control of things. As each of my kids became somewhere between the ages of two and three, diaper duty became one of those jobs that I’d flip a coin for with my husband. I have three boys and I they have officially transitioned them themselves out of diapers. I never thought I’d see the day. If you haven’t gotten to this stage yet, or you are in the potty training process, it will successfully happen. I’ve learned that every child is different and will successfully potty train when they are ready. Let me share my success and failures with you.

My oldest, now 7, was by far the most challenging to potty train. Looking back on the process, I was the problem not him. I was so ready to potty train him that it didn’t even occur to me that he may not be ready. He was two years and three months old at the time and I decided that it was time. I went to Target and bought him a children’s potty training book that came with a big sticker chart. I went home with that chart and ran into the bathroom to hang it on the back of the bathroom door. Every time my son successfully went potty he earned a sticker. Four months had passed and I was almost begging him to go potty on the toilet so he could earn a sticker. I tried bribing my son with treats, trips to Target, and any other bribe that is against all parenting rules. I had to back off and quit trying to force it to happen. One week before he turned 3 years old a light bulb turned on for him. He was willing and excited to be potty trained, and in a matter of one week we no longer had any problems. After all of that, I walked way from potty training my first child and learned that I am not in control of when my child is ready to potty train. I learned that kids tell you when they are ready by showing you their interest level. Can you help move the process along? Absolutely? Can you force it? Absolutely not.

When it came time to potty train my second son I felt nervous because of my first experience. I felt like it was going to take forever and I expected the worst. I was also a lot busier having two kids so I kept putting off the process. To my shock and complete surprise he asked me if he could go potty on the toilet. He observed everything his older brother did and wanted to copy him. This was beneficial because I almost didn’t need to teach him how to be potty trained. He just started on his own one day. Two weeks later, he was completely potty trained.

When it came time to potty train my youngest son, I felt like it was going to go as smoothly as the second time. Why wouldn’t it? All he needed to do was copy his two older brothers. I was wrong. He did pick up on potty training pretty quickly; however, he digressed a lot. I’d be out and about with him doing errands and he’d just pee right in his pants after being dry for two or three weeks. One day we were at the Apple store. I looked down and there was a huge puddle on the floor. Another time we were at the library and I looked down to another puddle on the floor. The digressions eventually faded away, but it is frustrating during the training process.

After potty training three kids, I’ve learned some important points. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is to let your child start when he/she is ready. Don’t expect your child to be perfect during the potty training process. Potty training is a gradual curve of success. It’s okay if they have weeks of success and then have a mistake. Every child learns in a different way and on a different time frame. Embrace who they are and know that every child is different.


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