Ever since E Nut was born 6 and a half years ago, I have always had 2 kids in diapers, after She Nut was born, it was 3 kids. Even then, I let my 3 year old take the lead. At one point after She Nut was born, Little Nut Nut laid down next to She Nut for a diaper change and informed me that he wanted to be Zero again so he could be a baby like She Nut. I knew then that he would fight Potty Training...he wanted to be a baby again after all, and well, babies wear diapers.
Over the months, I have mentioned using the potty to him and he always talked the talk, agreed with me wholeheartedly, and even got excited. When the time came though, I was changing poopie diapers and gently reminding him that if he wanted to be big like brothers, he would have to use the potty. In one ear and out the other.
Randomly, he would pee on the potty if he was trying to impress the Big Brother Nuts, but for the most part, he was fairly happy laying down on the changing pad next to She Nut, chatting away about his latest adventure. He had my full attention and he couldn't be happier. I figured this would happen, I know the downfalls and steps backwards of the potty trainer when faced with a newborn in the house.
Although, I wasn't too concerned about him wanted to potty train, because I knew that everything he was feeling was normal and I wasn't about to come between a 3 year old and his need for attention. It really got to be too much for me though when I started planning Christmas and trying to come up with the cash for presents. I got to thinking about how much money we would save if he was Potty Trained. And then I came up with the perfect plan.
My 3 year old Little Nut Nut can wipe up the floor with me when it comes to playing a few of our XBox games. He has his Leapster learning game systems, 3 of them in fact and talks about them non stop. He didn't have any Wii games but he longed to play with his big brothers. After a quick search, I found a few preschool games that were perfect for him. I even showed him the games and asked him what he thought about them. Once I got his attention with the games, and mentioned that he might be getting some of his very own Wii games for Christmas, I put my plan into motion.
I sat him down and we had a talk. We both agreed that it was easy to use the potty, and that he was pretty good at it when he felt like doing it. Then I told him that he could only play video games if he when poopie on the potty and not in his pull-up. He seemed like he was on board, like he knew what was up.
So there he was, laying on his bed playing his Leapster when the smell hit me. I took the Leapster away and while changing his pull-up, I told him he was done will all video games for the day and until he went poopie on the potty. He was upset, but being the creative kid he is, he found something to do for the rest of the day. For a couple of days, he would ask if he could play XBox or Leapster and the answer was always no. After a few days, he started to get the message and started using the potty. He would do fine for a few days and then have an accident while playing XBox, then he was done.
Even after Christmas, when he got several PreSchool Wii games, he still had a hard time remembering to go. He would get so caught up in playing, he just didn't want to stop. He would get sad, pouty and drag around the house for days telling anyone who would listen that he was grounded from video games...his words not mine lol.
Then a few weeks ago, it all clicked. He started running to the potty announcing that he had to go poopie, and then he would give us a play by play of everything that was happening. This post explains the event as it happened one day.
I am happy to say, that except for one day this week when we had a mild stomach virus travel around the family, I have not had to change one of Little Nut Nut's poopie diapers in WEEKS! We are still working on going pee on the potty, and now that he has mastered the skill of pooping on the potty, I will be adding pee in the pull-up as grounds for loosing video game privileges.
So to answer the question "How long does it take a toddler to Potty Train himself?", the answer would be, I still don't know. So far it is about 8 months and counting.