Potty Training 101 {Guest Post}

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I’m excited to have my mom as a guest on the blog today! And she’s covering everyone’s favorite topic…Potty Training!

Hello, my name is Patty Hobizal, Claire is my granddaughter. I waited a long time for Claire. I remember when the desire to have a grandchild hit me. I was in church, sitting behind a grandma who was cuddling the most adorable baby, her grandchild. I was 50, Claire finally came along when I was 57. I didn’t push the issue with Emily and Colin, I didn’t have to Emily has sisters who wanted to be aunts. I waited patiently, glad that the desire to have another baby for myself had finally subsided. Emily has 5 brothers and sisters.


Claire is now two years old and the potty training chapter of her life has begun. It brings back memories of my experiences with potty training.

My mother says I was potty trained at 10 months, maybe younger. After going through the experience with my own children, five times, I have come to believe that she was the one who was trained, not me.

With my first child I read all the books on the subject. I was able to recognize the signs of readiness; walking, waking up dry in the morning, interested in the toilet. Once my daughter exhibited these signs I embarked on the potty training venture. Natalie was 18 months old. I did all the right things, according to the experts in the books. I bought the training potty, bribed with m & m’s, and bought silky underwear. It turned into a very stressful experience for me. Hopefully not for her, because according to Freud she would surely be messed up for life and of course it would be my (the mother’s) fault. Freud suggested that, if parents take an approach that is too lenient, an anal-expulsive personality could develop in which the individual has a messy, wasteful or destructive personality. If parents are too strict or begin toilet training too early, Freud believed that an anal-retentive personality develops in which the individual is stringent, orderly, rigid and obsessive. I must have been both with my daughter she exhibits all of these tendencies. She was finally potty trained at 2 ½ years of age after a year of frustration, after she decided it was time.

I decided with my second daughter I would not press the issue until she was 2 ½ years old, deciding that this must be the age of “potty reasoning”. I was fine with this. At 18 months old I did introduce the toilet to her and gave her encouragement in the way of m & m’s for any attempts. One day while visiting her grandma, I gave her grandma the m & m ‘s with strict instructions not to push the issue, but if she did go potty in the big toilet she could give her an m & m. Emily did go potty, Grandma gave her one m & m. Emily said, “I get two m & m’s” Grandma asked “why”. “Because,” Emily explained, “there are two poops in the toilet”. Grandma peered into the toilet and yes there were two of the tiniest pea size poops. Emily went along like this for six months only using the toilet whenever she wanted an m & m, which was only once in a while. I was not going to officially potty train for another 6 months. However, on her two year old birthday she informed us that she was two, therefore she was a big girl and didn’t need diapers and she didn’t need a crib any more either. She wanted a big bed. “What about your bottle, are you too big for your bottle too?” I thought since we were on a roll I might as well try. She thought for a moment and said, “I will give up my baba (as she called it) when I am three”. And so it has been with Emily ever since. She plans out her life, setting goals and achieving them. She did give up her bottle at three (and a half). On her 3rd birthday she informed me that she would be three all year so she could quit anytime within the year. She is now working at a fortune 500 company.

After Emily was potty trained, my friend who wanted to motivate her 2 year old son to use the toilet, sent him over to learn from Emily. “I have been telling him that Emily is a big girl now that she uses the toilet and that Emily is younger than him”, she told me. “I am thinking it might motivate him.” While he was over I asked him if he needed to go potty in the toilet. He said, “no I don’t use the toilet; Emily does but not me”, so much for motivation. He eventually decided to give up his diapers as well, but it was when he decided.

Being reasonably smart I saw a trend. The kids were going to be ready when they decided they were ready. It was my job to help them to be ready, as it says in 2 Timothy 4:2… “Correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction”. My third child is named Timothy so with these words in mind I went about the task a third time round, doing nothing except to patiently instruct.

As he approached three years old without any interest at all I was getting slightly concerned. He didn’t care for m & m’s (he still doesn’t like sweets, maybe if we gave him an apple that might have worked) and he wasn’t impressed with the potty chair and of course silky panties didn’t work. On his 3rd birthday his Grandma who lives in S. California called to wish him a happy birthday. He got off the phone all excited, “Grandma says that when I don’t need diapers anymore I can come down to visit her and go to Disneyland”. I watched him run over and start to play, oblivious to his sagging diaper which was almost around his knees. Part of my encouragement tactics was to leave him in the wet diapers a little bit longer to see if the discomfort might motivate him. Didn’t seem to be working and the Disneyland motivation didn’t seem to help either. But soon after a couple of months he said he was ready to go to visit Grandma and Grandpa. He gave up the diapers and off we went to Disneyland.

My fourth child, Megan, silky panties worked, but not until she was almost three. I now know that if I had said, “as soon as you don’t need diapers we will go shopping and buy you a pair of pretty shiny shoes”. The motivation here would have been so great that she could have been as young as 10 months old, Hmm, maybe that was what my mom said to me.

The baby of the family, Michael, was about 3 years old when my best friend who also had five children, had another baby. Michael decided that since he wasn’t the baby anymore, it was time to get rid of the diapers and his bottle. He gave all his old bottles to the new baby.

I learned a lot about my children through this process and how different they are. Three of the five did not need a motivation; they were ready when they decided they were ready. They are still like this. With Emily, Michael and Natalie it was evident through this process that they were on their own time table. They set their own goals and achieved them. They  decided at a certain time that they were not babies anymore; therefore it was time to grow up. Natalie became a professional Ballerina, Emily and Mike are both successful in business.  All three of them are very driven and goal oriented.

My other two, Timothy and Megan, needed a motivating factor to get them to give up their diapers. But once they were motivated they became focused. This need for motivation has persisted as a way of life for them. I am still waiting for my son to be motivated to move out of our basement. Something will come along as motivating as Disneyland and he will move out of our basement.

Claire seems to be a cross between her mom and her aunt Megan. Which means shopping for pretty silky underwear and shiny shoes should do the trick.


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  1. Pingback: Claire Update {2.5 Yrs) - Swimming Sideways

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