Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

I potty trained my youngest child in a day or two. It took little effort, and she’s only had a few accidents. I’m not a super mom, nor is my daughter a potty training prodigy. The key was to wait to potty train until she was almost 3 years old.

In the process, I came across a few people who were surprised Abigail was not already trained, from friends to child care workers at churches we visited while on vacation this past summer. With more families beginning the potty training process as young as age 1, and many beginning around the time children turn 2, I can understand why our family appeared to go against the current.

Wait To Potty Train

I did try to train Abigail earlier, but shortly before she was 2 ½, she suddenly decided she wanted nothing to do with using the toilet. She cried and protested and ran when I tried to fetch her to sit on the potty. My husband and I figured it wasn’t worth the fight, so we pulled back. She began wearing diapers again instead of pull-ups, and I only occasionally sat her on the potty.

I have heard the statement, “If you begin potty training your child at age 2, they’ll be fully trained at age 3. If you begin at age 3, they’ll be trained at age 3.”

This adage held true for both of my daughters. I began potty training my oldest when she was about 28 months, but she didn’t have consistent success until eight months later, around her third birthday. It was a long process, as fellow blogger Katie has admitted. For our family, early training simply lengthened the time it took to complete potty training, and there were many more accidents, messes, and control battles. Early training did not translate to early success for us.

Science backs up our family’s delayed approach. Some research shows that training kids too early can cause problems related to chronic holding of urine and bowels. There is evidence that later training actually benefits kids, leading to fewer cases of wetting or constipation. Even Dr. Sears acknowledges that toilet training is a complex process, and the child must be ready in order to be successful. He also takes some pressure off parents by pointing out that early training does not make someone a “better” mother.

So I didn’t really bother with potty training Abigail all summer. In August, when she was about 2 and a half months from her third birthday, I was ready to do some intensive potty training. We were done with our busy season of summer travel, and my teacher husband and my older daughter headed back to school. Abigail and I had lots of uninterrupted time at home to focus on the potty.

During that first day of school when all was quiet at home, I pulled out a collection of tiny pairs of Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse undies. The prospect of wearing real underwear was enough to motivate Abigail. She put on that
underwear and hardly looked back.

She had a few accidents during the first few days, but she was pretty much potty trained from the moment she put on her big girl underwear. We’re waiting for her to be consistently dry at night, which is normal. Still, I was astonished at how little effort her training required on my part. Who imagined potty training could be easy? It’s one undertaking that definitely can be worth the wait.

Did you ever wait to potty train? How did it work out? 

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Category: Babies

Tags: potty training