Back in February of this year, when Dexter was just shy of 13 months, I had a lovely impulse to set him on the toilet to see what he would do. I was over the moon when the little guy quite happily balanced himself on his seat and dangled his dongle into the watery abyss and let flow a stream of hot urine.
I even managed to capture the event on Instagram.
Since then, we have occasionally made efforts to get Dexter used to the toilet, but as he is so young, we haven’t really pushed him to do it lest we make him afraid or unwilling to use it.
This summer, though, once we found out we were expecting baby number two, we decided that maybe we should make some more effort to encourage his potty use and see if we could maybe get him enthusiastic about it.
To that end, we bought him a musical potty that plays a triumphant tune whenever it is filled with pee (or water, or spit, or rubber duckies *sigh*). He LOVES it.
We’ve been able to get him peeing on it pretty regularly, and he’s even pooped in it twice. He gets so happy whenever that music plays, and he even loves helping to empty the potty into the big toilet and flushing it down. He likes when we hold him up to the sink so he can wash his little fingers (a necessity, as he spends as much time playing with his winky as he does actually peeing), and he seems to be acclimating well to wearing Pull Ups instead of diapers.
By no means is he potty trained. More often than not (especially lately), we let him get on with it in his diapers, too tired or just too unmotivated to really force the issue.
The potty is currently in the bathroom (behind a locked door), as he does have a problem with thinking it’s a toy. He will rip all the components apart so he can hit the button that plays the tune again and again. I tried leaving it out but placing it out of reach, and this worked for a bit. He would come and get me when he needed the potty and pull me over to point at it hopefully, and I would bring it down and set him on it. But the kid is good and realised that he could feint and PRETEND he really had to use it when all he wanted was to sit on it so we would applaud him.
One of the things I have noticed is that he tends to run to a certain corner of the room to pee. More than once, when I’ve been waiting for him to do his business, he’s got up and run naked across the living room to his corner and peed all over the carpet! D’oh! But now that I know this, I intend to place the potty in that corner to further enhance the connection between the potty and what he’s meant to do with it.
Of course, he’s only nineteen months old, which is still very early for all of this. Different experts give different ages for the best results, but most suggest between 24 and 36 months for optimum training time. And boys are traditionally slower than girls. Add in to this the fact that nearly all of my mommy friends have warned me that when a new baby arrives, even fully potty trained older children will start forgetting their potty habits in the wake of the new family upheaval.
In short, we’re not getting our hopes up. But I’m proud of what we HAVE accomplished, and I hope that we can continue working with Dex to get him happy about using the toilet like a “big boy.”
Do you have any tips or tricks? What worked for you?