Yes, I am intentionally avoiding use of the word “train,” just as I did when I documented trying to get my child to sleep.

I am acutely aware that the well-researched behavioral approaches to getting your kid (or partner) to do what you want, are based on animal training. (See What Shamu Taught Me about Life, Love and Marriage.) Apparently, these methods do work, but I still prefer to mostly do things the hard way. You know, without rewards or bribes. I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, but I am generally uncomfortable with treating members of my family like circus animals. Okay, I’m climbing down from my soapbox now…

So, a few non-coercive suggestions to help your child learn how to use the potty:

  • Read Toilet Tales to your child. Yes, there are many other good books out there. But, this books is funny, engaging, and doesn’t put any pressure on little ones. Plus toddlers LOVE to respond to the questions on each page with a loud, “NO!”
  • Relax. I PROMISE that your child will not go off to college (or even Kindergarten, actually) in diapers. This too, like all other challenges and difficult phases, shall pass.

I truly felt no stress whatsoever during the mere three weeks it took my son to become accident-free at two-and-a-half! He’s dry at night too, but I’m not sure that has much to do with these suggestions. He’s just fully committed to never sleeping through the night—waking up and asking for help going to the bathroom is winning him way more points that just waking up and crying was. But I digress.

Is it a fair trade to never get a good night’s sleep, even if I am saving a ton of money on diapers?