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Potty Training & The Love Languages: What Worked For Us

Our long-time family friend and reflexiologist Vicky Yao swears she potty trained both her kids when they were  just 4 months old.  Now a grandmother of 3, Vicky said she always sensed when her kids wanted to pee so she would take them to the potty. By the time they were toddlers, her children would wear diapers but they never were wet.  That for me is remarkable!

We bought Mishca her first potty when she was around 18 months old. Although we had successfully coaxed her to use the potty a few times, she was more comfortable relieving   herself in  her cloth diaper. Since she started talking in sentences pretty early, we knew she understood what the potty was for, but was just reluctant to use it on a regular basis.  We followed the advice of other parents–we took her to the potty often, but she wouldn’t comply. We also  made her wear underwear before she was potty trained. The rationale was because there is no diaper to catch the liquid, the child will realize how uncomfortable it is to pee in her own pants. This will make potty training faster. Well, it didn’t work for us. We just ended up with wet floors and more clothes to launder.




 Photo by Itchy & Jo Diga of BokehBug Photography

Last December, when she was 2 years and 7 months old, her dad tried to up the ante a bit.  Inspired by  an e-book of a  daycare professional who claimed she had potty-trained hundreds of kids, Michael took matters into his own hands by  bribing Mishca– errrr, I mean– by developing a reward system that would ensure she would be potty trained in a week.   He got her to tell us her most desired toy, and then Michael took a plastic cup , drew a line near 3/4s of the cup and set a bag of beans beside it. Every time Mishca would use the potty, she would be asked to fill the cup with beans. The idea was that when the amount of beans reached the line, Mishca would get her gift.  Genius , right?   Well,  we got her to  go a few times, then the cup and beans were forgotten.  Daddy got exasperated, but eventually just bought her the toy as a Christmas gift.


Her Christmas Gift 12-24-13

As first-time parents, we are learning that you really cannot and should not put your kid in a mold. She will learn at her own pace, in  her own sweet  time. One day,when we least expected it, it happened.   It was a lazy Sunday. She was watching  a children’s  worship video when I decided to leave her  for a while to  Michael in in the detailing  our van. (We love DIY projects!)  When I entered the house, she came toddling towards me without her diaper.

“Mommy, I cannot wear my onesie.”

“Why did you remove it?”

“I poo-pooed and wee-weed on my own! Do you want to see it?”

Mom shrieked as we rushed to the toilet. I think parents are the only creatures in the world who can be this excited about someone’s pee and poo.

“Wow!!! Mom is sooo  proud of you!”

We soon discovered the reason she went to the potty.  You see, after each toilet visit, she would tell me this: “Mom, you now have time to home school with me because you don’t have to wash diapers?”  A few days before, I had told her that she should learn to go to the potty so that I didn’t have to keep washing diapers as this would make me too busy to have time to home school her.  I realized that her decision to finally use the potty has a lot to do with her primary love language, which is quality time with mom. She would also say, “Mom, you’re proud of me because I wee-wee in the potty?”  To which I will answer, “Yes, mommy and daddy are sooooo proud of you!”  Words of affirmation, again an important love language for her.

We should have known earlier that bribing her to go to the potty would never work. She’s never really been attached to  toys, especially the more expensive ones. She enjoys  playing with everyday things  more,  stuff like empty tissue paper rolls, daddy’s dental floss or  an empty plastic cup.

I’m proud to announce she has carried over the habit even when we’re out of the house. Michael is overjoyed and, I guess,  quite relieved that he doesn’t have to resort new tactics to train our daughter.

Can you share your potty training experience with us  here in the comments section of this blog?  It may help another exasperated dad or mom. Excited to here from you!


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