It Takes Two to Potty


potty trainingI approached potty training for both my kids the same way: by not really doing it. I didn’t read any books on the subject, we didn’t practice a certain technique, and we didn’t track their progress on a sticker chart. Their preschool allows pull-ups, so without any external pressure to get them potty-trained, I had the freedom to do it on our own timeline. Once they expressed an interest, I encouraged it and followed their lead. If they wanted to use the toilet, I’d let them. If they preferred wearing diapers, we’d go that route. It basically worked. Eventually, they each desired undies over diapers, but I did learn an important lesson in the process: it takes two to potty.

I needed to be as ready as my kids to say goodbye to diapers. I never felt sentimental about them, like, “Oh, no more diapers means I have no more babies!” But I also never really minded changing diapers, even the stinky ones. Diapers are way more convenient than hustling to public restrooms and dealing with accidents on the go, so the thought of taking a hardline on Huggies and loading up the laundry basket wasn’t appealing to me for a long time, which meant that if my daughter decided to regress and wanted to wear pull-ups again, I let her. And when my son insisted on only pooping in a diaper even though he was fully capable of using the toilet, I went along with that too.

But with each child, we reached a tipping point, where I had to trade my laissez-faire approach for a latrine intervention. It wasn’t about them being ready. They already were; their diapers and pull-ups had now become a crutch. I had to finally recognize that and be ready to make a change, too.

Once I was, the transition went really smoothly, and I fully believe it’s because I didn’t push my agenda on them. I followed their lead to being bathroom-ready and then gave them a nudge of encouragement and a little tough love when they needed it. The potty model may just be how I approach a lot of my parenting. Let’s hope it works just as well. 


  1. Hi Rebecca,
    Are either of your children boys? And if so what age did you start the routine of letting him hop on the potty when we wanted to?

    • Hi there! My son became interested in using the potty around 2 years old and consistently started peeing on it by 2 yr 9 mo. He would run and grab a diaper when he needed to poop until he was about 3 yr 3 months. After that I got rid of all the diapers and made him go on the toilet. It took a day for him to adjust to the new routine (since he was already physically capable). Good luck!


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