Skip to main content

The 1st rule about toilet training...

...Is don't talk about toilet training?

It's a little funny that I write a blog about raising a 3 and 4 year old yet have never really blogged about potty training. We've tried the candy thing, the sticker thing, the toy thing. We have friends who have kids who have been potty trained forever now. Yet it seems like most of the kids in my son's class are still struggling with it.

So last night I attended an hour parent workshop with an expert to see if I could get any helpful hints.

You know, the kind of community center in-a-church-basement place. The child development professional was a sweet older lady who has helped toilet train everybody from autistic and special needs children to her own grandchildren. It turned out to be just me and the mom of a 2 year old there. So the conversation was pretty personalized. But I left feeling a lot better. And you know why?

Only 22% of children are toilet trained by 2.5 years old. And still only 88% of children are toilet trained by 3.5. So there's a fairly big chunk of kids still working things out into the 4 year old range.

Last night's instructor hates the food reward, forcing kids to go, praise--and, especially, Pull Ups. She's a fan of the no-praise, no-reward, child-directed, "whenever it happens" is when it is developmentally appropriate method. She had lots of worksheets about readiness and tips and I definitely had a few takeaways about how I can move things along with my own kids.

But, mostly, I learned...ok, maybe more like a reminder...that kids do their own thing. As a parent, follow your gut about what is right for your child. And don't listen to what others are saying. Seriously. Don't listen to other parents. Don't listen to the fancy parenting ideas that have caught on at your school. Then don't get anxiety about whether or not you're doing the right thing. Because if it's your kid and you're being smart about working with your kid then you probably are doing the right thing.

The only piece of advice I offer--and this is speaking as both a parent and someone who has studied that whole academic child psychology thing--is that you can't make your kid eat. You can't make your kid sleep. And you can't make your kid pee somewhere they don't want to. If you need help, don't hesitate to get help. Of course.

In the end, however (pardon the pun), your influence as a parent basically is being able to set your kids up for success and then hoping. That goes for all of life. If your Camp In The Bathroom All Weekend style of potty training worked for you, great. Just also be aware that most people have a 3 year old who can barely pull their pants down by themselves let alone anything else. Don't sweat it.


  1. Hey, Kyle - it's Kevin from City Dads Group. Love to repost some of your stuff on the blog but I have no email address for you. Drop me a line at homeanduncool (at) gmail (dot) com. Cheers.


Post a Comment