But the myths are just that, and you don't need to subscribe to them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to potty training. Do what works best for your child, and your family and everyone will be happier. Here are some common myths debunked:
Myth: Potty training should start by age 2.
Truth: Not every child is ready then. “This is the myth that I have the biggest issue with. A child has to be physically and mentally ready to start potty training,” and that doesn’t always happen at a prescribed time, says blogger Petrina Burman, of thewalkingmombie.com. It’s not a competition, she says. “My son was too busy taking interest in anything but potty training at the age of two. We tried the potty a few times then, but it just wasn't something that clicked." They started again around 2 ½ years old, and now at age 3, he's still working on it. "Some days he does great and some days aren't so great, but all that matters is that he's improving. I see absolutely no need to force him in any way, and I'm not embarrassed to admit that."
Myth: You can train in a weekend.
Truth: Though you do hear some success stories of doing an intensive few day boot-camp training, most children take longer. How long varies by child and can range from weeks to months. Be patient; it will happen, says Maria Velasquez who has experience with both types of kids. While her son was successfully trained in a few days, her daughter has taken months and multiple tries. “She started showing interest in potty training right around her second birthday. We tried, and she just wouldn't do it. She's strong willed, and I didn't want to turn it into a power struggle, so I stopped talking about it after a week of trying. We waited 5 or 6 weeks and tried again. It still didn’t work. This happened three times. I decided to take a much longer break and shortly after her third birthday SHE was the one who decided she was finally going to do it and we had success.”
Myth: Girls are easier to train than boys.
Truth: Not always. “I've heard all kinds of stories from moms about potty training," says music teacher Patty Shukla. "I am sure it has nothing to do with gender. It is more about the child and their God-given personality. There are some girls that are super easy and some boys who learn fast, and vice versa. Just like some newborn babies sleep through the night when they come home, and others cry until they are two years old. My older two – a daughter and a son -- both took the same amount of time and commitment from us (about two to three weeks) to potty train.” Now Shukla is ready to train number three, a 2-year-old boy, “and we’re hopeful it will happen soon.”
Myth: If your child stays dry during the day, he/she will stay dry at night.
Truth: The two are not related, parents say. “Bladder control and maturity comes later and a child who is trained during the day may still have accidents at night,” says Michelle LaRowe, mother of two and editor of enannysource.com. “Some children aren't woken up by the urge to go because they are deep sleepers, so night training can take longer.”
The bottom line is that no two children are alike so why should they potty train alike? Potty training varies by child, family, and culture. Move forward when both parent and child are ready and keep your fingers crossed that your child is a quick study.