My husband and I like to joke that our firstborn child spoiled us as a small child…really, she’s been pretty easy all along. Potty training was no exception. One day I was out shopping with Jessica and Katie, and Jessica saw a colorful potty seat that she decided she wanted. She started pointing at it and yelling “potty, potty!” I had the exact same potty seat at home–but it was all white. But you had better believe that I bought the colorful seat! Once I had it home she basically potty trained herself. I just dressed her in sundresses with no panties for a few days, and cheered her on.

Needless to say…I was pretty self assured that I had the parenting thing–and the potty training thing–all down pat.  Until my second daughter humbled me. As she so enjoys doing. 😉 Let’s just say that she was NOT easy to potty train, and I had to eventually realize that I could not control her…that she needed to decide when she was ready to potty train. She also had the pleasure of saving up her allowance money to buy her own new panties since I started throwing soiled panties in the trash. One trip to the store where she bought panties while her older sister bought a Barbie was pretty effective.

I’ll admit, I struggled with potty training children 2-5. Pants or no pants? My boys answered the front door with their family jewels on display more than once! Pull ups, or no Pull ups? I felt that was answered pretty definitively when my second son kept calling them diapers.

By my 6th child I had been introduced to the “dry pants reward” system. I found it to be the quickest and most effective way to go with potty training. Basically what I did was get some books about potty training and start reading them to my son a couple weeks before I planned to start training him–which was when he was about 2 years and 9 months old. Two of the books had buttons he could push to flush the toilet, he loved that.

The first day I started, I put him on the potty and read one book to him, then let him off. 15 minutes later I checked his pants, and because they were dry, I gave him a treat–one fruit gummy or one chocolate chip–and congratulated him on being dry. Then I put him on the potty and read another book. I kept repeating that. When he peed or pooed in the potty, I congratulated him a whole bunch, and gave him treats. When he went in his pants, I didn’t make a big deal of it, I just cleaned him up and said stuff like “oops! you’re still working on learning this, huh?”

The second day I spread out the trips to the potty to 20 minutes, then 30 minutes the next day, then 40, 50, 60. I stayed at 60 until he was consistently using the potty and even telling me when he had to go before his time was up. Then I slowly moved the dry pants checks to 2 hours apart. I stayed at 2 hours–or before leaving on an errand–for a long time.

He’s been potty trained for almost a year now, and I’ll admit that I still give him poopy snacks. Mostly because I swipe a few snacks for myself as well while I’m getting his out–2 Gihradelli dark chocolate chips. LOL! He doesn’t get pee pee snacks though–but he still asks for them!