My Stress-Free Potty Training Secret


I have a stress-free potty training method that worked beautifully with my children. It’s pretty revolutionary, so buckle your seatbelts. Here it is:

Wait until your child is completely ready and potty training is a mutual decision.

There are many people out there who swear by quick potty training solutions: five days, three days, no clothes, go on lockdown, etc. These work beautifully for some people, and if you are one of them, I congratulate you! What a joy to have a diaper-free child! However, for each family that found success this way, I wonder how many other families struggle and end up in frustration, mess, and tears? The potential trouble with these methods lies with the agent. Quick method potty training is at the adults’ initiation and on their timeline when, in all truth, going to the bathroom is an inherently personal act. It strips the child of one of the very few things they have control over: where and when to eliminate.

I know many moms, including me, who feel pressure to potty train as early as possible.

Many of us see signs of readiness well before two! We all know people who had their kid out of diapers at twenty months, right? I asked my pediatrician the best way to potty train at my oldest daughter’s two year appointment because I was certain she was behind. He is the one who first suggested to me that I follow her lead. He even went so far as to say that the average age for true toilet training was thirty-six months for girls and even older for boys. I was disappointed, but he is an MD and father of four, so I begrudgingly took his advice. Truth be told, I wanted a quick solution and I wanted her to be out of diapers.

A full year and two months went by before she potty trained. There would be days when she would use the potty and then full months would pass before she would consider it again. Out of the blue one day, she asked to use the bathroom twice in a row. As she sat on the toilet, I took a deep breath and asked, “Do you think you might want to say goodbye to diapers today?” She said sure, and that was that. Her little sister was almost the exact same story, except she was a hair under three and she told me when it was the day to give up diapers.

I hear you thinking, “I don’t have that kind of time!” and “What if I miss ‘The Window’?”

I am skeptical of this “window” idea. Each child is unique. The window might be more like a bridge than someone trying to sell a book wants us to notice. Make the potty available. Talk about it. Suggest it instead of force it. Celebrate every success and don’t let the setbacks get you down.

I found potty training to be enjoyable because I released the pressure. Following our children’s lead is painfully slow in all things. It’s part of the struggle of being the parent. But when the metamorphoses happen, they are oh so sweet.

For moms out there wringing urine out of your yoga mat, I’ve been there. I see you. I fully support you in doing the best thing for your family, whatever that may be. Sometimes, maybe, the best thing for them is to let them go at their own pace, however slow it may be.



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