I am currently in the thick of potty training my fifth child, but my first girl. Each of my children were completely ready to potty train between 21-26 months (with the exception of my oldest who has special needs and was about a year behind developmentally and thus potty trained just past three). My children all have very different personalities, Mr Independant, the spunky one, the creative one and of course, Mr Prickles. There are a number of reasons I am a firm believer in training children closer to the age of 2, rather than over 3, which seems to be the new trend.
Why You Should Potty Train Your Two-Year-Old
If you have had a two-year-old and a three-year-old, you will likely agree that it is far easier to bribe (ahem, reward) a two-year-old. Two chocolate chips or a marshmallow will sufficiently reward a pee on the potty for a little one. For many two-year-olds, praise and excitement from their parents are enough motivation to continue to be successful.
At two years old, most children are able to understand the bodily process of using the toilet. BUT they are not typically smart enough to realize that peeing in a diaper is easier than using a potty. I have watched many three-year-olds potty train between my work as a pediatric nurse and with family and friends. I have even heard one three-year-old say “I will just poop in my diaper and let you change me”. At two, you can easily teach them the behaviour you want, before they outsmart you (kidding).
The sibling factor.
This point is very generalized and I understand that all families are different, heck, I even break this rule, with my last three children born in less than three years. According to Forbes, the average spacing in American families is 30 months. Potty training is VERY difficult with a toddler and a 6 month old. Believe me, I am doing this now. Potty training BEFORE the next baby arrives is always worth it. Another sibling factor is the two-year-old still wants to do exactly what an older sibling does, if they have one, whereas the three-year-old is more likely to want to do things their own way.
The financial aspect.
Diapers cost a lot of money. Save a little money on some pull ups at two and get the potty training done. This can save you about a years worth of diapers. Which according to Babycenter can be about $72 per month, or $864 for the year.
The stubborn factor.
This is also generalizing. Some three-year-olds are not stubborn and some two-year-olds are. I get that. But have you heard of the ‘threenager’? Most parents will agree that the ‘terrible twos’ is nowhere near as difficult as the ‘threenager’. The little person who believes they are always right, always needs to do things their way, always has an attitude. This age is hard. Add potty training to the mix and it will test you like parenting has never tested you before.
I completely understand that many of these points are making general assumptions about your child and your life. For this reason, I can say, in general, it is easier to potty train at two years old and not wait until 3 if at all possible.
To save some money while you potty train text CARE to 28767, for limited time savings on Pull-Ups training pants and to visit the Family Dollar store locator to find a convenient location near them!
I welcome all comments, especially if you have tips for me on potty training a girl!