Your Magical Potty Training Trick Will Not ‘Fix’ A Late Trainer

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eye-rollImagine if you were reading a parenting article about babies learning to walk, and someone wrote, “Oh, my child walked at nine months. I don’t know why people make such a big deal about teaching kids to walk. I just stopped holding his hands and walked away from him, and boom, he followed me! I figure if he’s old enough to eat solids, he’s old enough to start walking.”

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? And yet this is exactly what a lot of parents do when talking about toilet training.

I know this because both of my kids were late trainers – not for want of trying, mind you. Believe me, I would have loved for them to train early, and I cannot wait for the day that the excretions of other people are no longer my concern. (I hear that happens somewhere around their teens.) But for whatever reason, while they both understood the idea of toilet training relatively early on, they were not capable of actually being fully trained until they were older.

Ben, as the first child, got to be the experimental one. I searched for every toilet training tip I could find: online, in parenting books, from other parents, any source I could think of. That’s how I heard gems like, “Just put him in underwear. He’ll only pee himself a few times and then he won’t like the feeling.” Or, “Use a sticker chart, and he’ll train in no time!” – or a musical potty, or M&Ms. People suggested telling him he couldn’t do a special activity until he was trained. I heard “Get him special underwear – he won’t want to pee on his favorite character!” and “Just make him sit until he goes.” And dozens of other “tips” that people I knew, or commenters on the internet, said were the thing that trained their toddler.

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