It seems that the magical potty training age for many is two. The day your adorable little toddler turns two, people begin to ask the dreaded question – “Is he potty trained yet?”. Or even better, “How’s potty training going?”, as if they assume that you must have already started the potty training process. As your sweet little toddler turns into a preschooler and begins to approach the age of three, people don’t ask those potty training questions anymore. Instead, they just assume that your soon-to-be three year old is in fact already potty trained.
Noah was first introduced to his little potty at the age of 21 months, and when he peed on the potty (by complete accident) just a few days later, I thought to myself “YES; this is going to be SO easy!”. Boy was I wrong. It wasn’t until 20 or so months later that I could finally claim my potty training badge of honor. After what seemed like the ten thousandth try, Noah was finally (mostly) potty trained at 3 years + 5 months.
Most would say that is fairly “late” to reach this milestone. Just look at pretty much any preschool program out there. Most schools expect that children entering a three-year-old preschool program are to be potty trained. Or, at the very least, well on their way to being potty trained. But when your child is approaching his 3rd birthday and is scheduled to begin a three-year-old preschool program with no potty training success in sight, it can be hard on a mama. You begin to feel a ton of pressure. Pressure from preschool. Pressure from friends and family. Pressure from yourself. In fact, we had so much pressure placed on us, that we actually had to switch preschools because of it. In the end, the switch of schools actually became a blessing in disguise for us. We found a wonderful school that was willing to work with us, and 3 months after enrolling him, he mastered the potty!
This isn’t a “how to” post on potty training your stubborn 3 year old, because frankly, I don’t have any magical tips for you. Our (eventual) success just boiled down to the right timing and
a little a lot of perseverance on our part. I am here to tell you that if you’re going through the same thing, that it is okay.
We, as moms, have heard it a million times. Don’t compare. Don’t compare your child to little Suzy down the street who was potty trained at 18 months. Or the story you read online about the 6 month old baby who is already doing elimination communication. Easier said than done, right? When you’re in the thick of it though, it’s hard not to get stuck in the comparison game. Trust me, I get it. But, your child will potty train in his/her own time. Chances are, by the time your child reaches kindergarten, no one is even going to be talking about this milestone anymore. Just like they no longer talk about when your child first rolled over, sat up, crawled, or started walking. Those milestones are in the past and most children will all eventually catch up to one another.
Looking back on our potty training struggles, one of the biggest takeaways I learned was not to push it. Noah decided when it was his time to master this milestone, not me. Of course, I had to continually teach and encourage him along the way, but ultimately it was up to him to determine the correct time.
Do/did you have a child that was late to potty train? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other moms who might be going through a similar struggle? Please feel free to share your experience below. I’d love to hear from you!