There are a lot of things that I try to make my kids do. I try to get them to eat healthy, I try to get them to stop fighting with each other, I TRY to convince them that I know whats best for them at any point in time, etc. So all-in-all I’d say that I’m a pretty pro-active parent. (Smile and nod) But there are some things that I just don’t do. One of those things is potty-training. I don’t want the stress, I don’t want to nag, I don’t want to clean up pee/poo on my floor… I just don’t wanna… and you can’t make me! (Insert arm crossed stopping with a giant pouty face)
Now my blatant potty training defiance doesn’t mean that my kids will eventually be sent off to college with a suitcase full of young adult sized cloth diapers, or that I’ll receive phone calls from elementary school counselors daily because the teachers refuse to continue to wipe my kids butt. Instead, they do what all children do every day with virtually everything in life…. they figure it out.
I call my method “un”potty-training. I completely leave it up to the child. We’ve found that its relatively stress free for all involved when we let them handle it themselves and tell us. We keep them in diapers and take them off if they say that they want to go potty but we don’t make the actual transition to undies until they are dry every day for a week. This goes for night time as well, which we’ve found takes several additional months for them to grasp than day time pottying. Approaching it this way keeps it easy for us. I don’t mind diapers, we use cloth, it doesn’t cost extra money. We almost always have a baby in diapers anyway, so it’s not like getting the kids potty trained according to our own schedule would make much of a difference. The best thing is that we very rarely have to deal with accidents. In the time that they were “proving” their abilities during the “week of dry diapers” they magically figured out that they need to go potty as soon as they felt prompted to by their body, because if they didn’t, they would pee where they didn’t want to. (I don’t know the psychology behind it, again… smile and nod). My oldest two were in undies completely around 3.5 and my third was in undies at 2.5!
I am by no means saying that this method works for everyone. Heck, it’s not even a real method (I don’t think, I’ll live in my ignorant bliss thinking that I created it). But ultimately, the hands off, child led approach seems to work really well for our kids.