You always hear parents say “they grow up too fast!” …and it’s so true! Out of nowhere it seems, my “little baby” is a full-fledged toddler who’s talking up a storm and showing off her new A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E. I suddenly find myself facing the “big question” — when should I start potty-training?
At eighteen months old, Annabelle is right at the age when many experts and other parents say that children are ready to start learning. But I’m not sure that mom is ready!
The funny thing is, when it came to my stepdaughter, I was so worried that my husband (boyfriend at the time, and hence why I did not push the matter) was in no rush to start potty training. She was three years old and still in diapers, but any time I suggested it might be time to give it a try, his response was “but then she won’t be my baby anymore. And besides, I don’t really mind it.”
I didn’t get it. I was convinced that his reluctance to potty train was going to scar poor Lilu for life. But you know what? It didn’t. At three and a half she was done with diapers and never looked back. Now seven years old, no one cares what age she potty trained. It didn’t matter in the least.
With Annabelle at the “right age” to start potty training, I am surprised to find myself feeling a sense of sadness, and admittedly dragging my feet.
A few months ago she already started mimicking the entire bathroom routine, from getting a piece of toilet paper, to “wiping” and tossing it in the toilet to be flushed. The curiosity and interest are there, but now it is me saying, “what’s the rush?”
If you find yourself in the same situation, asking “When should I start potty training,” consider these things:
- Is your child interested? If you child wants to follow you to the bathroom and even “goes through the motions,” then they might be ready to start. Becky Mansfield of Your Modern Family has an amazing book on how to potty train your child starting as young as 18 months (she’s done it four times!) that I’m actually reading right now.
- Is there a situation that requires your child to be potty trained? Day care facilities, preschools, etc. often have age requirements where a child must be potty trained in order to attend. If you’re thinking about one of these, but your child isn’t enrolled yet, it still might be a good idea to get a head start so you’re not stressing about potty training in time.
- Are you ready? If you’re completely overwhelmed by the idea of the whole process, stop, relax, and revisit down the road. There’s no “right” time and you’re child will be just fine whether they’re in big kid underwear by 18 months…or 3 1/2 years old. Do you even know when you were potty trained? I don’t!
The plan for now with Annabelle is to continue to encourage her to explore the bathroom and what happens there. A couple times she has asked to sit on the toilet by pointing at it and saying “peease?” No action yet, and I only sit her up on the potty when she asks on her own, but it is a good sign I think!
Proven Potty Training Resources:
How to Potty Train in a Weekend by Becky Mansfield — A tried and true guide from a mom of four who successfully potty trained all of her children at 18 months old…in a weekend!
Potty by Leslie Patricelli — Introduce the potty in a fun and non-intimidating way with this colorful board book. A great way to start the conversation even with a young toddler. 1400+ parent recommendations can’t be wrong!
Potty Seat — If you have a child like Annabelle who wants to do everything EXACTLY like us, a potty seat that fits over the grown-up toilet might be a good option. The small size makes it easier to wash and store when not in use.
Are you potty training now? Planning to start soon? Been there, done that? Tell me all about it! I’d love to hear you ideas and experiences as we’re going through this journey!