Diaper free without any M&M’s or potty training books

It is official all 4 of our kids are out of diapers!! We did this without any M&M’s or potty training books. For real. Here is how it went down.

First born: He turned 2 we went to the store and he picked out his Thomas the Train underwear. We came home put them on. He peed in them, we changed him into a new pair. He peed in them again, we talked about how he didn’t want to get his Thomas underwear wet. He never peed in them again. That was that. #2 took a little bit longer. But within a week he was good to go! We kept diapers on him at night just because we didn’t want to deal with changing wet sheets in the middle of the night but I don’t think he even needed them. By the time he was 4 we stopped that too.

The twins: After Carson potty trained so easily and everyone told me girl’s were easier I figured we had it made! Since the twins were girl/boy. Not quite. Cannon followed pretty much them same pattern as Carson. But instead of 1 day it took him about 5. But we stuck with it and just kept him in underwear and changed him into new underwear when he had an accident. That meant he wore underwear when we left to go to gymnastics, the library, the park, wherever we were going. Yes this was nerve racking – oh goodness what if he pees in the foam pit at gymnastics . . . But I tried to make sure to have him go before we went in and asked a lot of times if he had to go when we were there. Score! Another kid potty trained – why do people complain about this being hard and spend 100’s of dollars on books, M&M’s, and pull-ups?!

Enter my daughter Melia. We had the same plan – we went and she picked out underwear and when she turned 2 we put them on. Yes I started potty training 2 2 year olds at the same time. Here is where the difference is. She was NOT ready. She peed through those underwear almost every single time. I kept at it for a week (I can be stubborn like that). But eventually got sick of all the laundry and having to change her more then having to change her diaper. So we stopped. About every 3 months we would try again. Put the underwear on and she would pee through them more often then not. I told myself if she even could stay dry for half a day I would stick with it. But she just couldn’t. I talked to her about it, I got mad about it, and it was no fun. Looking back I am so upset that I put her through it. She just was not ready and I should have accepted that. By the time she was 3 we tried again. Guess what it worked. No, it was not as clean as the boys had been. But I could tell this time she was making progress. She was ready! Finally after a year of potty training she was good to go. Funny thing is – even to this day (she is now 5) – she has to go to the bathroom more then the boys and when she has to go she has to go. So she really wasn’t giving me a hard time for that year her body truly wasn’t ready.

Then comes #4 Knox. If only we all knew when our first born was a baby what we know by the time we have #4. Life would be so much easier for everyone!

He turned 2. I figured what the heck let’s give it a shot. No Go! This time I accepted from the get go that he just was not ready. I didn’t stress about it or over think it. Instead I put his diaper back on and realized it was easier for everyone involved if he just kept the diaper on. About 3 months later we tried again. Each time before we tried I would ask him if he wanted to wear underwear and he would say yes. But by the time he had to go the bathroom he was over it and didn’t want underwear anymore. This went on for a while – where he would say he wanted underwear or I would ask him and we would try but he would always pee in them. But again I didn’t stress we just moved on from it.

Did I already mention how much easier it is to change a diaper then worry about making sure a 2 year old went potty before we left. Or running to find a bathroom while you have 3 other kids with you when you are out and about.

About 2 years and 9 months old we were at a pool and guess what Knox started to swim on his own (I can write another blog post about kids and swimming later). The joke was he was going to be able to swim before he was potty trained :)! Right around that same time he woke up one morning and said he wanted to wear underwear. I wasn’t sure what to expect but we went with it. Sure enough that was that. Yes he had accidents, yes he had to go to the potty by himself with no help, but he did it. #2 didn’t even take that long either! He was also trained while we are living in our RV. So he still doesn’t understand why there isn’t a lever to step on to flush the toilet when we are at a store or restaurant.

So here are my 5 tips for helping your kid get out of diapers:

1 – Ask them if they are ready to wear underwear and go in the toilet – if they say No – then listen and ask them again in a couple of months.

2 – If they say Yes they are ready then let them pick out their underwear.

3 – If they say Yes put them in underwear and stick with it (don’t even buy pull ups!). Bring extra clothes and underwear everywhere you go. If they don’t make it to the potty most of the time they probably aren’t ready. If they usually do but just have a few accidents then stick with it!

4 – If you put underwear on them and they have accident after accident – just take them off and tell them you will save them for when they are ready. Ask again in a few months.

5 – Don’t listen to what everyone else is doing with their kid. Who cares if your neighbors kid potty trained at 18 months and your kid is 3 and isn’t ready yet. They will be ready when they are ready – and that is ok!

All that being said – what we have learned from potty training – which in turn has given us a good lesson with our kids in general is: If they aren’t ready they aren’t ready. So let it be. You will enjoy the process, the success, and each other more if you can just relax and trust in your kid and the fact that they know their body better then anyone! Plus this way you can keep the M&M’s and eat them all yourself!



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