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Potty-Training Methods

8 Types of Potty-Training Parents

Now that my son is 2-and-a-half, I'm entering my second go-around with potty-training. My first endeavor, with his now 5-year-old sister, went something like this: she was four months from her third birthday, I was eight months pregnant and way more committed to carb consumption and daily naps than toilet training my seemingly uninterested daughter. "Two kids in diapers does sound like something that should probably be avoided, if possible," I would abstractly think to myself in between bowls of cereal, then do absolutely nothing about it.

Finally, my husband decided he was going to step in and be the hero with a three-day-to-trained pamphlet a co-worker passed along. He spent a weekend committed to the cause, then left me to (literally) clean up the many, many messes for the next two weeks. Sure, I was thrilled my daughter welcomed her baby brother into the world wearing underwear, but I probably never would have started potty-training left to my own devices.

This time around, without a due date looming over head, I'm even more apathetic about toilet training. My son has decided he'll pee in the potty exactly once a day, after his bath and only if his father is present, and I'm cool with that situation. After almost six years straight of changing diapers, it's my normal, and I guess I'd rather change a couple of poopy diapers a day than clean excrement off my floors, well, ever. Yes, I am definitely a "it will happen eventually" type of potty-trainer. What kind are you?

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  1. The diaper hater. This parent hates everything about diapers: buying them, storing them, and especially changing them. They're bad for the environment, cause rashes, and stink, so they want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. You'll recognize this mom or dad by the way they brag about how they just bought their last box of diapers on day one of potty-training. Good luck with that, you'll think while smiling encouragingly.
  2. The potty hauler. Look in this parent's trunk, and you'll probably find a potty seat. They have a few more stored on every level of their house. When the urge strikes their little one, they're always ready.
  3. The all-or-nothing-er. Potty-training isn't a sliding scale for this parent. Once they decided it's happening, all the diapers (including for nap and nighttime) are out the window. Ready or not, little one, you're in underwear, all the time. You might recognize this parent stocking up on extra detergent or hauling around multiple changes of clothes for their kid.
  4. The "it will happen eventually" parent. This parent is in no hurry to lose the diapers. They're waiting for their little one to express interest in the potty, and even then, they're not so excited about the prospect of training. Sure, they'll get around to it eventually, but seriously, how convenient are diapers?
  5. The sit-and-wait-er. You'll find this parent sitting in the bathroom, a lot. They're committed to the idea that once their child starts going on the potty, they'll totally get it, so they plop her down on the toilet and wait . . . and wait . . . and wait for that light-bulb moment.
  6. The weekend warrior. This parent is waiting for the perfect three-day weekend to knock potty-training out. They have a game plan (naked kid, rolled-up rugs, plenty of food in the fridge), and they're not leaving home until their kid is in big-kid pants.
  7. The briber. This parent's bag is stocked with suckers, chocolates, Matchbox cars, stickers, and more, all in an effort to get their child to go pee-pee on the potty. The right motivation is all a kid needs, right?
  8. The bragger. This parent is beyond eager to tell you all about how they potty-trained their kid at 18 months without a single accident. Their second kid took a couple more months, but they believe no 2-year-old really needs to be in diapers, and parents who don't train early are simply lazy. Resist the urge to throw a wipe in their faces — or ask them if they'll come over and train your kid, too.
Image Source: Flickr user David D
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