Potty training or learning is always a hot button topic in parenting circles. Everyone has their ideas on how it should be done, when it should be done etc. As soon as my daughter hit 2 years old, the questions started coming “When are you going to potty train?” from family and others. Today I thought I would share our potty training adventure and also why waiting until your child is ready is the best.
Plus I included some tips for potty training children with special needs at the end of this post.
First, a little history on my daughter so you understand why we decided to wait until she was basically 33 months old to start full “potty training.”
My daughter has always been a child who will only do something once SHE is ready to do it. It was that way with sleeping through the night, weening from nursing, crawling, walking, basically everything!
She was never technically “late” doing any of these things, but she was typically a little bit later doing them then others her age around us. For instance, she weened at 18 months and also at the same time suddenly started sleeping through the night. Before that time she would wake up 2-3 times a night to nurse. Then magically one day she was done and that was that!
With crawling and walking, she definitely had her own idea on when she would do it. She always did pretty well with tummy time growing up, so I just sat back and let her figure things out on her own for the most part. She started crawling at 10 months and then walking at 13 months. She literally went from one day not doing any of these to doing them almost exclusively.
So when it came to potty training, I figured we were in for more of the same; she was not going to do it until she figured out she was ready to.
A little bit after her second birthday I made it a point to take her in the bathroom with me so she could get use to the idea. Thankfully she was never afraid of the toilet flushing and actually picked up on the whole bathroom “routine” pretty quickly. But she never cared that she was wet or dirty in diapers.
After a couple months I decided to try sitting her on the toilet. She would sit and do the entire routine, but just would not actually go. We tried for 2-3 days with no success in any way. It was also at that point that I found out I was pregnant with no. 2. So potty training got put on hold since I was very sick for the first 4 months or so.
To be honest, at this point I was truly afraid of potty training. It seemed like an unattainable goal and I really had no desire to even try doing it. Of course the questions of whether or not she was potty trained yet didn't help much.
I kept reminding myself, she was not going to go to college NOT potty trained. It would happen eventually and knowing her history, when SHE was ready.
This also kept in line with Montessori principles that I was learning about. Montessori is a huge advocate of sensitive periods and allowing the child to do things when they are developmentally ready to do it. This means each child is going to be different. Yes, there are age ranges that things typically happen in, but it's not a one size fits all concept.
So a couple weeks ago I was 30 weeks pregnant and actually feeling like I had the energy to see if she was ready to give this a try. She was about 33 months old and we had just a few weeks before baby brother would be joining us. We followed some of the tips in the Potty Training in a Weekend ebook and actually started on a Wednesday.
I also used our Thieves cleaning spray and wipes to clean out the child size toilet after she went each time.
I did get some pull-ups to have on hand in case we needed to go somewhere and I really didn't feel like cleaning up accidents in the car. Thankfully this time, SHE was ready. By Thursday afternoon and Friday we were basically accident free and she was even initiating when she needed to go herself.
So why am I sharing our potty training or learning experience? Because I just want you to know, it truly WILL happen, but real success will come when YOUR CHILD is ready. It may be early and it may be later. But the important thing is to realize when THEY are ready to learn and capitalize on that time.
Are you attempting potty training or learning with a child with special needs? Here are some resources for you as well:
- Potty Training Tips for Toddlers from an Occupational Therapist – Therapy Fun Zone
- How to Know if Your Child is Ready for Potty Training – Mama OT
- 6 Tips for Successful Potty Training – American Occupational Therapy Association
For more child development tips, be sure to follow my Occupational Therapy Tips Pinterest board below.