Myths are funny things. Sometimes, they are just a matter of simple repetition: you hear something enough times, and you think it’s true. Other times, they are a function of hope: you want to believe something is true, so you cling to anyone who agrees with you.
With potty training, it’s a little of “column A” and a little of “column B.” There are many myths passed down by our friends, family, and community…and there’s quite a few that we fathers cling to because we’re terrified of potty training our kid!
However, it’s time to rip the band-aid off and face reality. Here are four of the biggest potty training myths and the dirty truth behind them!
1. Your Kid Knows When They Are Ready
The most persistent potty training myth of all time is that your child will know when they are ready. This is supposed to manifest itself in a variety of signs that range from them being interested in wearing underwear to them being curious about the toilet.
I’ve got bad news, dads: your kid has no idea when they are ready for potty training. Being curious about the toilet doesn’t mean he’s ready for potty training any more than being curious about a band-aid means he’s ready for medical school. The whole point of any kind of training is that you’re teaching someone who doesn’t know how to do something how to do it.
Don’t wait until you think they’re ready. Wait until you KNOW that you are ready!
2. Being Ready Makes It Easier
This next myth is a bit more insidious. What if your kid actually is ready? That is, both you and your child are enthusiastic and optimistic about potty training. Well, many dads think that this means things are going to be easier.
The blunt truth is that it won’t be any easier. Having an enthusiastic kid means he’s less likely to give up quickly, and this means he might be likelier to get back on that saddle (er, toilet). However, all of the messy horror stories you’ve heard about potty training are still going to happen to you no matter what your kid’s attitude is, and let’s be honest about enthusiasm: it is neither waterproof nor stain-resistant.
3. There is a Specific Window for Potty Training
There’s a lot of literature out there about potty training. Because of this, many fathers fall into the trap of thinking there is only one way to approach the training. This leads us to one of the biggest myths: that there is a specific window for your child to start.
You’ve probably heard lots of numbers tossed around, with people saying that’s it the end of the world if you haven’t started training them by eighteen months, and that everything will hit the fan (so to speak) if they aren’t done by the time they are two. In reality, all kids are different: some are impossible to train until they are three, while some prodigies are ready well before eighteen months.
Again: toss out those “expert opinions” and figure out a time when YOU feel it’s right to start potty training.
4. The Daycare Will Do It For You
Okay, let’s be real for a minute: guys are often guilty of taking the path of least resistance. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if it is broke, hope that someone else will fix it for you. Some fathers take this idea and think that their child’s daycare will do the (literal) dirty work and potty train their kids.
However, nothing is farther from the truth. Many daycares are going to straight-up turn away kids that aren’t already potty-trained. And if your kid is already in a daycare, the only way that the workers will help with potty training is if they see that you are putting in the effort to train at home, too. Potty training is a team effort. And while you may be the star quarterback, you still need the entire team to help you out!