When I read about Babywise and potty training I often read about how to potty train early. I know when my son was nearing two I felt like I should really get him potty trained soon. The thing is, he was just not ready. We introduced the potty several ways but he just had zero interest and I didn’t want to force it. Then we had the girls, and there was no way I was potty training with two newborns. Finally, we reached a point where I thought Ben might be ready and we up and moved across the country. So here we are, with Ben past his third birthday and we are finally potty training. I can tell you it is easy to be a bit embarrassed when your older toddler isn’t potty trained yet. But why? Who says a toddler has to be potty trained by age two or earlier?
I’m not saying there aren’t some drawbacks to late potty training. And I know that sometimes life events mean you have to go for potty training (preschool, daycare, diaper costs, etc). The opposite is true to though, sometimes life happens and we have to wait. Every child is different, and there is no reason to feel bad because your child didn’t potty train early. Here are some positive parts of late potty training.
1) The child is in diapers longer. Okay, I know the goal is to get out of diapers. But come on, having to find bathrooms everywhere you go for tiny bladders can be annoying. I know when the girls were brand new just getting us all out of the house was a challenge. I didn’t want to have to add in one more thing to worry about. So I suppose this plus is you can be lazy longer. 😉
2) The child often will be better at communicating his or her needs. This, of course, is highly variable from child to child. My son wasn’t a huge talker until he was over two and a half. At two years old he didn’t really have to words to tell me what was going on with his body. He also didn’t have the words to let me know he understood what I was telling him. Now at age three I know he understands what I am saying and he is able to communicate clearly back to me.
3) The child has an easier time pulling off their clothes and putting them back on. Sitting on the potty isn’t the only part for kids to learn when they potty train. By training later the child often has an easier time getting their clothing on and off in order to use a potty. The goal is, after all, to have the child use the bathroom without help.
4) The child is more aware of what is happening with their bodies. An older child knows when their diaper is dirty, and this usually means they know how it got that way. Waiting until a child tells you he or she needs a new diaper means you don’t have to try to explain to them the mechanics of how their bodies eliminate waste. They already know what is happening and probably don’t like how it feels, which helps motivate them to use the potty.
5) The child is often able to control their bodies longer. Starting at a later age means you might be able to skip the step of sitting on the potty every twenty minutes. This is very nice when you have other kids that need attention too. It also means we could move towards getting out of the house sooner since we could go an hour or ninety minutes between potty uses.
6) We had a longer lead in to potty training. Just because we didn’t potty train early doesn’t mean we weren’t slowly working towards that goal. We read the books with Ben, we practiced sitting on his little potty, and we talked to him about what was happening in the bathroom. Waiting meant we didn’t have any fear of what was happening to overcome. It also meant we could build excitement for it. We were able to lay out all the good things that go along with using the potty (getting to flush, wearing big kid underpants, etc). This helped Ben be happy to start training which made starting much easier.
I think the most important thing in potty training is determining when your child is ready. If that is early, awesome. But for some children it is a little later. And you know what? That’s okay. Potty training is stressful enough. If your child isn’t ready (and you don’t have outside factors forcing you to train), there is no reason to be ashamed in waiting a bit.
All the ladies of the BFBN are tackling different parts of potty training today. Be sure to check them all out!!
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: 5 Things To Do Before Your Start Potty Training
Twinning Babywise: Potty Training Readiness Cues: Patience, Low Expectations, and Perseverance
Mama’s Organized Chaos: Poop Talk-Realities of Potty Training
let’s be brave: Potty Training Hacks
The Journey of Parenthood: Potty Training Post Round-Up!