A story of love, loss and second chances by Nikita Singh, releasing this Valentine’s Day.
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Our toddler son drove us nuts when we tried to potty train him, Until we came across this ultimate potty training tip that worked like a charm!
When our son was born 6 years ago, we clearly didn’t know what to expect. The adrenaline rush of being a first time mommy soon faded to give way to a feeling of constant guilt and unpreparedness. This feeling, though less intense, still exists 6 years on. All our parenting experiments and trails and errors are carried out on our first born and that paves the way for our daughter, who just breezes through every milestone, thanks to her older brother.
So when the time came to potty train our son, lots of suggestions started pouring in right from the time he was born! It takes a village, people!
Thus started the potty training schedule, way too early at 18 months in my opinion. We tried it all – trainer pants, potty seats, mobile potties, potty training books and at the end…bribes. Nothing worked. At the first sight of his poopy face, if anyone tried to get him to the potty seat, he would run in the opposite direction and hide to continue doing his job in the diaper, or he’d hold and become constipated. I don’t know who was more frustrated, him or me!
Luckily at that time I stumbled across an article The Dangers of Potty Training Too Early, by a Paediatric Urologist Dr. Steve Hodges who strongly believed that training before the age of 3 would be more detrimental to the child than helpful. He supported his claims with medical information and research at his practice, all of which made so much sense. Most kids below the age of 3 years haven’t developed the capacity to respond to their body’s urges to pee and poop in a judicious manner. He suggested waiting until the child turned 3 to start the training. He did it with his kids too!
This was just what I needed, a breather backed by science, that we needed to give Ronav time to follow through at his own pace. So despite well intentioned suggestions that we were going to end up making things more difficult for both him and us, we decided to stop all forms of potty training until he turned 3. For the next year or more, we constantly reassured ourselves and everyone around that this time we would follow science, ever though we ourselves were supposedly potty trained at 18 months. We were all potty prodigies I tell you!
It turned out to be one of the best decisions ever! We obviously went into this not knowing how it would turn out, but in the end we saved ourselves a lot of anxiety and stress. Luckily the preschool was very helpful and completely onboard with our need to train him only after his 3rd birthday.
Immediately after Ronav turned 3, off went his diapers during the day, at home and at school. We had about 4 or 5 days of a few peeing accidents at the most, and no poop accidents. Within a month he went off diapers at night too, once his diapers stayed dry consistently overnight.
So when suggestions for potty training Samaya started once she turned 2, we knew what we had to do. We diapered our way through until she turned 3, and didn’t even begin to potty train before that. The only thing we did do was to try to make her differentiate between poop and pee, but honestly she learned the difference only after she completely went off diapers. We never brought out the mobile potty, potty training books or bribes in her case.
After her 3rd birthday we just took away her diapers during the day and asked her to tell us when she needed to use the washroom. But irrespective of her asking, we took her to the washroom every 30-45 minutes the first few days. Once again, only a few peeing accidents for a first 4 or 5 days and that was it. Within a month she too went off her over night diapers.
I am definitely not advocating that you wait until 3 to potty train your child. But this is what we did and it worked wonderfully for our family. No matter what age you introduce your children to the toilet, make sure your child is ready — that is, interested and not constipated — and is leading the way. And once the child gets the hang of using the toilet, remain vigilant about monitoring for signs of constipation and make sure your child pees every two to three hours.
So now we are a diaper-free household and that is more of a relief than I actually thought it would be. And despite all the extra rupees spent and landfills filled with our diapers, this worked smoothly both times around. Of course it’s a nightmare taking them to public washrooms here but that’s another story and will need an entire blog post by itself!
A version of this was first published here.
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