Lisa (who you can blame for the existence of “Ask Alex”) asks: I am terrified of starting this “potty training.” How did you know when to start and how did you do it?
So you know how everything you read says WAIT FOR SIGNS OF POTTY TRAINING READINESS?
My kids forgot to read those three hundred million articles because refusal to wear diaper and inability to duct tape your child is not on any list nor is obsession with underwear and potty-training without permission.
My son showed some potty interest at 18 months. We told our doctor and he laughed so I left a dirty diaper in his trash can. Except he was right. it was just like the time E showed interest in avocados. Short-lived with a lot of mess.
A year later, N was born and we were warned to not start potty training until at least three months out. Except a months out, E stopped using his diaper. Oh, he did NOT start using the potty that we had now owned for 14 months. He used the floor. So in between breast feeding and putting my new baby to sleep every other hour, I was on my hands and knees cleaning up pee.
Our doctor recommended duct tape, which while awkward to purchase at the gas station (“What are you looking for?” “Duct tape…. for my child.” “Oh”), was a thousand times worse getting on him.
He would develop eight legs and the ability to morph into a greased up pig and I had to make a DUCT TAPE BELT just to keep him from ripping it off and yelling FREEDOM as his buns took off down the hallway and balance a baby in a sling around leaking boobs and a cesarean incision.
So we potty trained. We put an entire weekend aside and decorated the potty and sang the potty song and bribed him with candy daily. I set my iPhone timer and every 30 minutes said: Do you have to use the potty?
Me: Do you want candy/watchTV/do anything you want because I need you to potty train?
Me: Great. Sit on the potty and you can have ice cream for dinner in front of the TV. Again.
And within a month, he was accident-free or at least house-trained. (Yes, I said a month. That’s fast. NO ONE TELL YOU THIS CRAP.)
On the other hand, my daughter became obsessed with underwear at 18 months, and I’m fairly certain that it was a fashion statement. By 20 months, she had 8 pairs of her own underwear and began peeing in the potty. By 21 months, she stopped having accidents anywhere but home. BECAUSE MY CHILDREN LOVE PEEING ON THE FLOOR.
We did the song.
But mostly she potty-trained herself. For underwear.
Serious moment: I would actually recommend waiting until after 2 years old because my son never regressed once he trained, but my daughter regressed whenever she got sick during those first few months, which made me even more anxious whenever we were out and about.