When our youngest son Chase was about two-and-a-half my wife and I introduced the idea of potty training. Books and magazines will tell you that you can potty train in 5 days or less. From my experience they are blatant liars.
Before we even started, we introduced the idea of potty training through our son’s favorite character at the time, Elmo. We bought a book that played six songs including "Flush! Goes The Potty" which has the same melody as "Pop! Goes the Weasel." Chase loved the book and the songs and regularly read it while sitting on his potty chair. Honestly, I think the songs distracted him more from using it than actually helping. Chase had no problem lounging on the seat (he may have picked that up from me) but when it came to taking care of business he resisted. We also watched an episode of "Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood" focused on potty training ad naseum. Still not ready.
Over the next several months we tried every tip, trick and hint in the book that we could. We also gave ourselves some breaks in between. I understand that boys take to potty training later than girls so we didn’t want to put Chase and ourselves under too much pressure. We tried the whole let him run naked thing and were left with a mess on our carpets and a chocolate lab who tried to clean those messes. We also tried the popular "power of M&Ms" as a reward for going on the potty with limited results. We even recruited a big celebrity, Chase’s big brother Tyler to promote going potty and how great it would be to be a big boy. It worked for getting people to sign up for Obamacare right? Again, only limited results.
Chase’s third birthday comes and goes. Thanks to a lot of great help from our preschool Chase was peeing in the potty quite regularly but had no interest in number two. He was also on this weird schedule that as soon as I picked him up each afternoon at school, he’d number two somewhere between the classroom and the playground or our car. When I’d take him right from his classroom to the bathroom, nothing. I took Chase to his 3-year-old check-up and our pediatrician asked how potty training was going and I explained we were making progress but still had a ways to go (no pun intended). He told me that Chase would start going when he’s ready and probably not before. This is probably the best advice I got on potty training and it’s my advice to you.
As I write this, Chase is now 3 years and two months old. He still isn’t potty trained but hopefully by the time this is published he will be. That’s if he’s ready. A few years from now I’ll have blocked out most of the difficulties of potty training like bad TV. I have a feeling getting the song "Flush! Goes The Potty" out of my head will take a little longer than the little messes.
Derek James is a host on WCCB News Rising, and lives with his wife and two sons, ages 3 and 5.