As some of you read in Friday’s The Oklahoman, I pleaded with readers to give me advice on how to potty-train a stubborn almost-3-year-old boy. I received many responses – some from moms, dads and even grandparents. I even had a few offer to train him for me. As tempting as that was, I thought it was probably best I tackle it myself.
Here are some good ideas I received from readers:
1. Cheerios. This was an overwhelmingly popular method. Teach the little guy to “aim” and sink the round O’s and it’s almost as fun as Duck Hunt and Battleship.
2. Rewards. Gumball machines, dollar store toys, getting to go with adults on errands because they’re “big kids,” and countless others. Most parents are big on using positive reinforcement – lots of reassurance, compliments and even dancing. Yes, dancing.
3. Timers. Set it for every 20 or 3o minutes minutes and have them sit on the potty. Eventually they’ll get conditioned to go as soon as they hear the timer go off.
4. “Naked and $75.” Let him go around the house without a diaper for a few days to get him to want to use the potty. The $75 is to have your carpets cleaned when he’s done. A few parents really endorsed the “naked” method and putting a portable potty in rooms where the kids are most comfortable (living room, play room, etc.) and maybe using lots of juice to help things move along.
5. Just wait. I got some helpful feedback from parents who were concerned that I was maybe sending the wrong signal to my son by making him use the potty. They suggested waiting until he was ready in his own time and finding a day care who accepted that. One parent said this is his decision, one of the few a toddler has. Another said parents who haven’t had success potty-training their kids shouldn’t feel like failures, that patience is key.
Well, I have big news for my fellow parents. My son is now potty-trained! What seemed like an impossibility Friday afternoon is now a very real accomplishment for my little man. I was all set to get a huge box of Cheerios and kitchen timer after work when my son had a bad “accident” in a public place and I had to rush home with him. We got home, I sat him on the potty once more, gave him some juice and waited for a miracle. It happened. Not just once, but all weekend. I have never been so happy to be woken up at 6:30 a.m. by my son who wants to go potty and stayed dry all night. I never thought this day would come. No more Pull-Ups, no more diapers. What a change.
So I thank our readers for their wonderful responses and ideas. In the end, my son did it in his own time and on his own terms … although the two glassfuls of juice did help him find his own time a bit quicker. It just happened to be the same day as my very public plea (but maybe he planned it that way all along).