My mom miraculously potty trained my two years four month old son while I was on vacation in January. That’s right, my husband and I spent a week in California without our kids and we returned home to a diaper-free house (he wore pull-ups for exactly 4 nights after we came home and has been sleeping in undies (dry!) ever since). I’ve invited my mom to share her best practices so that you can file this away and forward to your parents/in-laws/neighbors/babysitters when YOU next go on vacation.
LTM: Mom, how did you accomplish this feat?
Noah accomplished it. I’ve been trained for years.
LTM: What was your plan?
My plan was to stay close to home (YOUR home, YOUR rugs) for a week with a bottom-naked hydrated toddler. I kept a small plastic potty in whatever room we were in. “Noah, how about I keep the potty right here? Or “Is this a good place for your potty?” He’d do his best to ignore me. But he heard. If we were playing in the toy room, the potty was right next to us. If we moved to the basement, the potty came with us.
LTM: What do you think is most crucial to success?
M&Ms. Reward them for trying. Be insistent that they try.
LTM: When is the right time to potty train?
When your child is verbal and wakes up dry from a two hour nap.
LTM: Let me remind you that on the eve of my trip, Noah pooped in the bath. What I mean to say is he wasn’t exactly showing readiness skills.
He was. You weren’t.
LTM: Ouch. OK, so what is your advice for parents who dawdle with potty training, because they fear a few messy days in the house, worry about pressuring their kids or are not sure if their child is ready.
You are doing an injustice to your child. They want to get out of diapers, be a big boy (or girl), wear undies like Daddy (or Mommy, brother, sister, friend). They need your confidence in them. Take accidents in stride; accidents help them learn. After the first day, take a trip right after they pee, with undies. Be back home in 30-45 minutes. Each day, lengthen the outing. Bring their potty with you in a shopping bag until they can use a big potty without anxiety. Expect setbacks but don’t give up.