I just can’t believe that my youngest is three! Where did the last three years go? He has come so far in these three short years and we are so proud of him.
By three years old, a lot of kids are potty trained or are starting that journey. I have yet to decide, when, exactly to approach this with Cole. My first was potty trained at 3, on the dot. He was the easiest kid to potty train (maybe because I just waited until he was ready). He asked for big-boy underwear and we went with it. He had about three day’s worth of accidents during the day, and about two week’s worth of accidents at night. But, after those two weeks, my little boy was completely out of diapers! He is four now, and has not had one accident since (aside from the occasional “bad aim” when using the toilet).
The “easy” potty training experience will not be the same for Cole. I don’t even know for certain that Cole will ever fully potty train, but I am willing to give him the opportunity to try. In fact, back in the beginning of December, I was able to get Cole to use the potty a good handful of times. We’ve backed off a little, because with Cole, everything is on “Cole’s terms.” We don’t want to get him frustrated, so when he starts showing us that he’s not happy with what is going on, we back off a little and try again later.
I find that method of backing off also worked well with my oldest when we started the potty training experience with him. We had initially thought we could do a “boot camp” type method with him when he was a little over two years old. When it didn’t go well after the first day, we backed off. It didn’t make sense for him to get frustrated and not want to do it. We wouldn’t get anywhere by doing that.
Whenever Cole is ready, we are planning on using an “elimination communication” approach with him at first. This approach is often used with infants, but because Cole has complex communication needs and can’t really let us know he has to go, it may be just the place to start with him, too. Essentially, it means we will watch for signs that he has to go and make every effort to sit him on the toilet. My plan is that once he begins to have success and can get a good understanding of what it going on, we can them move more toward the “typical” potty training approach. I already know what rewards I’m going to use with Cole… empty plastic water bottles and a bowl full of water – two of Cole’s favorite things! (Probably slightly different than your three year old’s favorite things… but hey, if it works, it works!)
For now, I get to enjoy my fluff a little bit longer… and maybe the fact that I don’t have to buy disposables for these extra years will make it a little sweeter to have a preschooler still in diapers.
Jenn Kubicza is a mom of two little boys, one of whom has a neuro-genetic disorder called Angelman’s Syndrome and will require extended diapering.