Maggie started wearing big girl panties on Monday. No pull ups, just panties. She had 2 accidents on Monday, one on Tuesday. Today is Friday. She has not had another accident since Tuesday. I’m going to officially go on the record and say we are day-time trained. My biggest problem hasn’t been the training, it has been finding undies small enough for my 20 month old girl.
My mom swears I was trained at 18 months, and that I wasn’t exceptional or anything, that most kids were trained around that time frame 30-odd years ago. What has changed? As parents, are we so terrified that we are going to scar our children’s little psyche’s or that we want it to be *their accomplishment*? Are we just out of tune with our little ones because there are so many other distractions ranging from 2-parent working families, to internet, iphones, and satelitte television? Is it too inconvient to stay home for a few days or a weekend to accomplish the task? I really do wonder why the mindset seems to have changed, why 3 – 3.5 is the norm age and not the exception.
As a daycare provider I’ve told most of my parents that there are 2 big windows of opportunity for potty training. The first occurs sometime around 18-21 months. This is the time where a child truly is trained to use the potty. They go when mom goes, go when dad goes, when big brother or sister goes and they are mimicking behavior. If you miss this first window, most parents will wait because any further attempts are met with much resisistance. When this first chance passes, it can be like pulling teeth trying to convince your child to use the potty because most of them are into a very negative stage of life, fairly normal. It is when you frequently hear “I DO IT MYSELF”. Then, the magic window reopens a little more than a year later and the child wants to be big and you teach them to use the potty so they can be a big kid. Most people hit this second window and make a big production out of picking special panties/underwear and so on. I guess this is when potty learning, potty bribing and potty forcing comes in.
So even in my wondering where we as parents have gone wrong, I am guilty of missing the first window with both of my boys. I tried earlier training with both of them, but things came up in life and I failed to follow through, finding diapers for another year easier than the struggle. My girls were trained prior to age two, both boys right around their 3rd birthdays.