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Potty Training 101: How to successful potty train for working moms

In this article, I am going to share how we were able to potty train Lucas fully at 3.5 years old. A request from a Top Fan of my Facebook page @chasefatima.

  • What I learned from my own research
  • Pre-requisites of a successful potty training
  • Our personal experience

Potty Training 101 for working moms

What I learned from my own research

First, let me share with you what I've learned through my own research - by reading other mom blogs, our pediatrician, and other expert's advice. This became the foundation of how I was able to do it. These are the only relevant ones.

1. Start doing this only when your child is ready. How will you know? Answer simple questions like, can they hold their pee or poo for a long time? Otherwise, it will prolong potty training.

2. It is possible to do it in 3 days.  I read lots of moms did this.  This is only possible if you can follow #3...

3. Cold Turkey approach

Pre-requisites of a successful potty training

Now, based on those three basics, I realized I can only do it conveniently and successfully if:

1. We have completed other milestones. Particularly... weaning from bottle-feeding during sleeping hours. It just makes sense, right? The more they drink at night, the more they need to pee.

2. Since I was working, I will have to reserve 3 whole days dedicated to potty training to follow the cold turkey approach.

Our personal experience

And here's what happened, summarized in this milestone chart:

The milestones of our firstborn relevant to a successful potty training at 3.5 years old

Note: I also included some disruptions to show that it's possible even if there's a lot going on. 

  • STOPPED BREASTFEEDING at 2 years old - I was assigned for a 2-month long project in Canada. We stopped breastfeeding when he was 1 year and 8 months.  It was not a major problem for him because I was working so he was only breastfeeding at night.

  • INTRODUCED THE POTTY at 2.5 years old - we started introducing the potty but only for peeing. It was mostly the nanny and mother in law's effort. When it became fun for him to do it, seeing his pee fly directly to the toilet, we lost the diaper during the daytime. At nighttime, he still wore one. At this time, he requires milk to fall asleep.

  • STOPPED BOTTLE FEEDING at around 3 years old - we got the approval from our pediatrician to stop giving him milk in the middle of the night and to stop bottle feeding. She mentioned that the cold turkey approach worked for a lot of children.  That's right, in the middle of the night, when they ask for milk you don't give anything. Even if they cry? Yes! That's the cold turkey approach.  That's exactly what I did until he eventually stopped asking. The pediatrician had no problem giving the go signal because Lucas had no eating problems. He eats anything we give him even if he doesn't like it.  He finishes his plate ALL THE TIME as he's never learned how to spit out food, not even when he was a baby (so we make sure we give him just the right quantity). With those factors, I was confident.

          Simultaneously, we let him sit on the potty during the times when he was most likely to poop.  Most of the time, of course, he still preferred to do his business in his diaper. But since he didn't wear it anymore during the daytime, sometimes he didn't have a choice. I heard some kids find diapers yucky with poop so it was easier to teach them to use the potty. It was not the case for Lucas, but I didn't want to force him.  For this training, the timing was really important.

  • THE FINAL LESSON at 3.5 years old - When he finally let go of the bottle (day time and night time), I set the Christmas holiday to do the 3-day potty training. I made sure I protected the mattress, of course. I wake him up in the middle of the night with a ready bottle so he won't have to go to the toilet and disrupt our sleep. I guess boys are easier this way.  I also have bed cover and replacement clothes in case there's an accident at night. That way, he can go back to sleep easily.  It was a success! I never bought a pack of diapers after that.
I think we only had less than 5 accidents during the night.  At 4 years old, we don't have to wake up in the middle of the night anymore. He's become so good in holding his pee. I just make sure that he doesn't drink too much near bedtime and that he pee every last drop before sleeping LOL!

There is no need to rush, really. I have a lot of friends who chose to delay potty training because they are too busy, they don't want to be robbed of good night's sleep, or simply because the child is not ready yet. In my case, I was just so eager to save money from buying diapers. I also thought it was the right time to let it go.

I hope our experience can help you in any way. Do keep in mind that each child is different. I know you can find a way just like you've done so far for everything else.

If you have a similar or different experience, please feel free to share it here to help other first time moms.

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