(I wrote this a year ago, when little Ox was 3.*)
When you stop and think about it, potty training really makes no sense. Children are inherently good learners. They want to grow up and become like adults; some of the most popular toddler games are just mimicking adult behavior.
Children teach themselves to walk. They also teach themselves to talk. They require no lessons or scheduled practices to do so. They don’t succeed faster with punishments or reward systems, charts or constant reminders to practice. The only things they require from us are patience and pride in their achievements. The same holds true for potty learning.
To be honest, I was a little worried about how potty learning would go with my current three-year-old. He has a handicap that prevents him from walking or standing.
About a week ago he started asking on and off to sit on the potty. We would take off his diaper and sit him down on the potty. It was cute, and he was just doing it for fun. This morning when he tried, he went! I put his diaper back on, and about an hour later he wanted to go again. He went again! And again! He has had only one wet diaper all day.
I’ll admit, it is a little tiring to stop what I’m doing, put down the baby, take off his diaper, and physically lift him on the potty every time he wants to try, but I am just so proud of him. I will continue to do it because this is his game now, his personal goal, and my job is to help him achieve his goals.
I have already gotten onto my oldest children because they were taking it upon themselves to remind him or ask him if he needs to go. Rule #1 about potty learning… Leave them alone! It’s just like walking and talking. They are not doing it for you. They are doing it for themselves. No nagging. No punishments. No treats. Just pride. Your pride in their own achievements is all they want!
The quickest way to stop his progress and cheat him out of his self-achievement would be to make it MY game, MY goal. To take this project away from him and make it my own project for him to accomplish for me would be a sin! Simply terrible! No wonder so many children have a hard time potty training, or regress once they’ve done so well!
I hope this helps some of you potty training mamas to relax. I know it can be really stressful, especially with your first. But it’s fine, I promise. Believe me, NO ONE wants to be in diapers if they have a choice.
So how do you know when they’re ready? Easy, they start going.
I hope this was helpful to some people. I just want you to know that it’s not just better and more natural for the child. This way is better for the adult, and on the parent-child relationship too. But, possibly the best thing about them potty learning by themselves, is that once they learn they learn forever!
**Disclaimer** I wrote this in January, 2013, one year ago. Because he was never able to get himself to the potty, he was never 100% into it. He relies on us right now for most of his mobility, and he eventually tired of making us take him. He still can, and does tell us he wants to sit on the potty, but not as much as when it was new. I know that if he had been able to go all by himself he would never have wanted to go back. I’m not worried about it though. I stand by my statement… “NO ONE wants to be in diapers if they have a choice.” I also stand beside his knowledge of it. He won’t ever have to “relearn”. He hasn’t digressed, only decided it’s not easier for him. When he gets a bit stronger, and we can help think of a way around this obstacle, he won’t have any problems being independent about it.