• Elizabeth Goh

Potty Training in 3 Days - Not!

Monday, February 26, 2018



When my son was two years and 10 months old, I read an article online that claimed you can potty-train your child in three days.


(There was another one that said ‘one day’, but obviously that was just silly.)


I followed the six steps. My son is now three years old and he’s still not potty-trained. That’s three months later, not three days.


I don’t know what went wrong. It could have been the fact that the article advised parents to “dedicate a full three days to the child. This means giving up ‘me’ time. You won’t be cooking, cleaning or visiting with friends—or ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’”


Did they mean that I couldn’t go to work? That is my ‘me’ time. I didn’t know what they meant about visiting with friends or keeping up with the Kardashians – since my son was born, I haven’t seen any of my friends or turned on the television.


So I turned to the other article that promised a toilet-trained model of perfection within one day.


Photo: Potty training can be such a challenging time for both parents and children.

The article started off with steps like “ask yourself if your child is ready” (yes, I say he is) and “hide your favourite rug” (done). Then, without further ado, it’s Step 4: The Day Of.


This is what they advised: “The day has come for the potty training. Duh duh duuuuh! This mom’s trick was to set up a little party in the bathroom. She set up some salty snacks and a whole bunch of fun drinks for her toddler to chow down on, until eventually, she had to go to the bathroom…. By the next day, she was going in the toilet – and the rest is history!”


As Google hasn’t been a helpful resource for potty-training tips, I’ve resorted to my own methods.


So here are my tips for potty-training your child in, well, never:


1. Dedicate only whatever time I can spare


This means only weekends, excluding the days when we have to attend birthday parties, family gatherings, visit the grandparents outstation, and when I’m just too tired. (So, about one day a month)


2. Buy underwear that he likes


This means my son spends about 10 minutes flitting between the Cars underwear and the Mickey Mouse underwear because he just can’t decide which one he prefers. And when he finally puts on the Mickey Mouse one, he cries because it gives him a wedgie.



3. Pile up books and toys next to the potty


My son believes staying still is overrated, so getting him to stay on the potty for more than two seconds was a nightmare. Then I hit upon the idea of keeping him occupied with a book. This eventually grew to more and more books and toys.


Now, I no longer have to put things next to him to make him stay on the potty. Instead, he cruises around the living room on the potty and simply takes what he wants.


4. Put him on the potty for as long as possible


I load him up with water and milk. Within half an hour, he seems ready to go. I plonk him on the potty and force him to sit there for 45 minutes. Nothing happens. I take him off the potty and put on his underwear. He wees.


To date, we’re six months into the potty training experiment. None of my methods have worked, but hey…there’s still three more years before he begins primary school.


He should be out of diapers by then.



Elizabeth Goh used to be a full-time reader before she had her son. Now, she only reads children's books. She uses all those words that she has picked up to write stuff for other people.

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