It's almost Summer and my kids are always naked. I've an almost 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old in diapers. Well, that is about to come to an end...I think.
When Eli was two, I was on the fast-track to potty training. I bought a manual. I made a sticker chart. I had edible rewards, like chocolate chips, stashed in the bathroom for immediate reinforcement. Every book said, "By the time a child is two..." All my friends said, "By the time a child is two..." Eli showed interest and I shoved potty training down the poor child's throat. I won't get into the details, but that was the first time in our short-lived time together that I got frustrated, upset and raised my voice to my child. Everyone said, "By the time a child is two...", and Eli was two and 2 months. He was potty trained "successfully" and has never had an accident since.
Odin turned two and a half and I introduced him to the wonderful world of toilets. I started to feel frustrated, I raised my voice, I saw the look on his face and I stopped. There was no rush. We homeschool. There isn't a daycare provider wanting potty trained children. I sat back and decided it would happen when it happened. He was perfectly comfortable to poop and pee in his pull up, so I let him.
I thought having an older brother who modeled using the toilet would help, but it didn't. However, having a younger brother who wants to use the potty and keep his underwear dry is helping! I bought Silas a potty. He picked out the color and two days later it was here. It's taken him two weeks to want to sit on it, but it's been near him wherever we've gone. This morning he came running out of the living room and I simply pointed in the direction of the potty. He sat on it, backwards, and peed. Yay!
Up until today, he's used the outdoors as his toilet. All the boys have been thinking it's fantastic that they can pee outside. The cats and chickens do it, why not the boys?
I put underwear on Odin two days ago. We ran out of pull ups and I just said, "we ran out, so I'm putting underwear on you. Let's keep them dry (a tip I got from 3 day potty training)." His underwear, the first day, were damp and he'd finish in the potty. Yesterday, his underwear were dry all day. I was amazed when he ran to the bathroom, got out his Thomas potty seat and sat down. He yelled out, "MOM! I'm going to poop! 10, 9, 8, 7 (then his brother joined in), 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! I pooped! Want to see?! I've got more coming out, too!" I was excited for him, but let him know that I'd come see when he was all done. He is still wet overnight, but that's not a big deal.
This stress-free learning-to-use-the-potty way has been much ...nicer. I think having demands on yourself, as the parent, in relation to potty training can carry over to your children. Some daycares require children to be potty trained by a certain age. This, combined with the readiness of some children, can be so frustrating. Over the past several years, more parents are not pushing the ready-at-two thought, which is nice to see.
I also bought a bunch of potty books and just added put them on the coffee table. Everyone Poops, My Big Boy Potty, Once Upon a Potty for Him, Potty, The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts. My kids really liked Everyone Poops and Once Upon a Potty because it actually showed poop and a penis...always a winner with my kids.