In speaking with families about their worries in anticipation of toilet training, one of the issues that rarely comes up are it’s costs. Sure, everyone laughs about the vacation they will take when they no longer buy diapers or pull-ups. Those huge boxes from Costco don’t come cheap. But there are costs during the training process that are only vaguely anticipated. Be sure that you are ready for them too!
Clothes and Underwear. Children may need a new wardrobe. The first reason is that a child will not be able to get those teeny hipster jeans off fast enough to pee or poop. They move faster in wide-waisted sweats. The second reason is that you will need multiple pairs of underwear and possibly even other clothes. The teddy bear may wear one pair as a motivator, you may use two pair as thick training pants down the road, and then there are all the small accidents that leave your child smelling less-than-fresh. Time to change. The last reason is that accidents happen anyway, and some clothing is going to be so soiled that “Super-Tide” or whatever you are using just cannot handle the stains. Into the trash they go.
Wipes, flushable and not. One of my oldest friends says that flushable wet wipes saved her life during training. They aren’t cheap, and kids start out taking a handful, as if they were going to wipe down the whole bathroom, not just their little tushie. You will need to stock your go-bag with wipes as well, for trips outside the home. And of course you may still need the non-flushable ones to help them clean things up.
Carpets, etc. If you do a Training Intensive, sometimes known as Potty Boot Camp, there will be accidents, guaranteed. Even with a Gradual Start approach, accidents happen. Sometimes on a tile floor (good), and sometimes on the carpet or the couch (bad). Some things can be cleaned and some will need professional help. Or replacement. Be prepared.
Time and Attention. The most precious commodities of all to parents are their time and attention. Developing an awareness of when your child is most likely to eliminate, making it a priority to get them to the toilet for a successful attempt, and even making sure they “go” before you leave for the store is a completely different use of time from the days when you slapped a fresh diaper on them and ran out the door. Kids take a while on the potty, and this process will consume your time and attention until they are completely trained. Some trained preschoolers still need you to wipe them effectively, well past 4! Again, your time and attention is required.
If this list has you backpedaling on the idea of training, thinking that it is better to delay it until they are so old that they learn in a few days, I might mention that if you miss the wonderful window of physical readiness combined with cooperation/response to praise and rewards, you may have to wait a long time. Kids that aren’t trained, but now get stuck in the power struggle common to the 2.5-4 year-old range, realize what power withholding wields over adults. So much less attractive than a 24 month-old who sweetly accepts their treat for a job well done!
Looking for more information? Take a look at some of my other posts on toilet training, such as Is Slow Progress In Toilet Training A Failure? If your child has special needs, this might be of interest Why Do Some Kids With ASD and SPD Refuse Toilet Training?.
Want more personal support or have specific questions? Please visit my website tranquil babies and purchase a in-home consultation (in the NYC metro area) or a phone/video consult.