My Potty Training Adventures: Three Children, Three Lessons

By LeeAnn Mason

LeeAnn the Marketing Assistant for Signing Time, which includes a roll as Signing Time Academy Administrator.  She has been a fan since 2002 when her oldest received Signing Time on VHS for her first Birthday.  In July of 2003, she became the first Signing Time Distributor and started volunteering for Two Little Hands Productions where ever she could. In June of 2005 she was offer a temporary position helping with a special project and her responsibilities have grown and changed based on the needs of the company.

Here LeeAnn shares her own potty training story!

While working in a childcare center before I was even married, I worked with the 2 year old class which meant potty training. At our center the policy was to assist the parents with which ever method they chose. Some preferred to use Pull-Ups® or Easy-Ups®, some preferred us to leave their children in diapers and take them to the potty every half hour, and others preferred bringing several changes of clothes letting their children tell us when they needed to use the restroom. We accommodated all of these approaches. At the time, I was confident that I knew how to potty train. I also believed I knew exactly how I would potty train my own children when the time came. Boy was I wrong! Here’s what I learned from potty training each of my three children:

My First
LeeAnn's daughterWhen my oldest was ready for potty training, I was providing child care in my own home. We decided we would just put her in underwear and take her to the potty every half hour. She wore Pull-Ups® at night. After about two weeks, I realized I was not training her to listen to her body, but rather training me to keep a schedule which was not workable while caring for her and other children. I was getting frustrated and I believe she was as well. So we changed our approach. She was still wearing underwear, but this time I was letting her tell me when she needed to use the potty. My lesson:
Be flexible. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to potty training.

My Second
LeeAnn's daughterWith my second daughter we planned a trip with our friends. Their daughter was potty training as well and we got each of them a Potty Watch. We set them to go off at the same time and we potty trained them together. Their daughter stayed dry through the night, but my daughter did not. After six months of being wet every night, we started to worry. I read several different methods and options. We tried waking up her, but she was such a deep sleeper we could not wake her. We decided to talk to our doctor about it. He was very reassuring that it was normal. He explained that not all children’s bladders develop at the same rate. He said if she was still having problems after she was 6, he would send us to a urologist. When she was 5 ½ she was able to make it through the night. My lesson:
Night training can be a developmental issue and can’t be forced.

My Third
LeeAnn's sonMy youngest is a boy. I had been told that boys are harder to train and I believed it since my nephews were almost four when they were potty trained. One day while shopping, my then two-year-old son saw his favorite cartoon characters on some underwear. I purchased them but didn’t think much of it. A few months later while I was getting him ready to go to work with me, he announced, “I don’t wear diapers no more eber (ever)”. I was terrified! I had a lunch meeting at a restaurant followed by another meeting at the office. Not a good time to start, I thought. But he insisted. Finally I gave in and told him that he had to keep his new cartoon underwear clean and dry and that he would have to tell me if he needed to use the potty. I packed extra underwear and clothes and prayed we would make it through the meetings. To my surprise, we not only made it through the meetings but he stayed dry all day. I told him he could put underwear back on in the morning, but that he had to wear a diaper at night until he woke up in the mornings dry. That is all it took, the next morning he was dry.  I kept putting a diaper on him for two more weeks just to be safe, but then he remembered. One night while getting ready for bed he said “I get to sleep in my underwear now.” And that was that. My lesson:
Gender has nothing to do with when a child will potty train or how quickly.


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