Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Potty Train: Delays, Detours and Departures!

Rarely is a ride on The Potty Train smooth sailing the entire way.  Rather, you're bound to experience bumps, hills, turns, and even full stops on your journey.  Here's a few of the delays, detours and departures that you might experience as you wind along the track of The Potty Train.


There are several delays that you might face on the road to potty training.

You're Child Is Not Ready

If you're tot is following you around the house carrying a new potty, begging to sit on it, then you can be pretty sure it's time to start considering potty training!  On the other extreme, if you're tot is throwing tantrums at the mention of the potty, then perhaps ya might want to bring it up again later or consider a new approach.

Some key signals that your tot is most likely ready to start potty training or things that just make the ride a little smoother for all involved are:  
  1. Communication: It's so much easier to understand when your child has to go potty when they can tell you! It is also easier to teach them proper potty behavior when they can understand what you're talking about.
  2. Interest: If you are no longer able to relieve yourself without an audience, then it's a good time to hop on board The Potty Train!
  3. Urgency:  If your tot is eager for you to change a dirty diaper, then they are beginning to feel uncomfortable and perhaps would like to be introduced to the softer side of life: cotton!
  4. Development:  If you notice that your child wakes up dry after a nap or is going much longer between diaper changes, then that is a sign they are developing better bladder control.  

You're Life Is Not Ready

Perhaps the circumstances of life are such that it would make it quite difficult to even consider potty training at the moment.  Are you moving?  Are you expecting?  Are you suffering from major illness or recovering from surgery?  The list goes on of possible delays that life may bring to the potty training process.  It's important to assess your own situation and not compare yourself to friends or family.  

Our three children were all potty trained at different ages.  I was expecting our son when Darlin' was turning two.  Despite the fact that she exhibited all the signs of readiness, I choose to hold off until after the baby was born.  This worked for our family, as we all had the opportunity to adjust to a baby in the house before dealing with potty training our first child.  Even with the delay, she was still potty trained in time to attend a nursery school program at age 2 1/2.

Just after Bud turned two, we moved.  I actually do not remember potty training him at all!  Since he started nursery school at age 3 1/2, my assumption is that we worked on it the summer beforehand.  I do recall that I did not attempt to squeeze in potty training before we moved and transitioned him to a kiddie bed.  Sometimes it is better to just take one thing at a time and not overwhelm a toddler.

You're Just Not Ready!

Sometimes your child is ready, your situation is perfect, but you are just not ready to go (pun intended!)  This was my delay with Cupcake.  She has been following me around the house with her princess potty, practically using a battering ram to get into the bathroom should I attempt privacy and she cannot handle a second more than necessary should she soil her diaper!  So you might be asking yourself, "Why the delay?!" The answer is simple: Me.

I just wasn't ready to deal with potty training.  All I recalled from my previous experiences was cleaning up messes and doing extra laundry.  I was really hoping she would just potty train herself along the way!  But alas, it had not happened miraculously and with nursery school just around the corner, I could delay no more - so we boarded The Potty Train once again!


Expect a few detours as your tot adjusts to life without diapers.  Accidents will happen and it helps to handle them with an extra measure of patience in order to continue to build confidence in your child.  Attempt to maintain control even if you are ready to blow your lid (again, pun intended!)  Continue to encourage your child, even if it is a struggle for them to gain control or focus.  If you need some encouragement, talk to other moms, your Mom or other parenting resources.  Here's one article to help you through the bed wetting stage that might detour your child for a bit.  Be encouraged, even with lengthy detours you won't be sending them off to college in diapers!


Despite our best laid plans things sometimes take us off course and we Moms need to be flexible.  If you feel that you'd rather not deal with a mess in the car, then go ahead...use a diaper.  If you don't want to have to take your child to the potty every fifteen minutes at the amusement park, go ahead...use a pull-up.  Don't worry, I won't judge ya and don't worry about all the other moms out there who might be looking down their noses at your diapered three year old...they'll get over it!  You know what you and your child can handle, so handle it and don't concern yourself with what others might think.  Be aware of your situations, be prepared, but be flexible.

As you board The Potty Train, have a destination in mind, strive for complete potty training by then (nursery school, baby's arrival, after moving) and don't fret over any delays, detours or departures along the way.

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  1. When i worked in daycare i saw this struggle all the time: child is NOT ready; parents are. child IS ready, parents arent. when will it end?

    1. As long as there are parents, children and potties, I imagine the struggle will!