Today I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, potty training stinks. Now for those of you who have had an easy go of it, feel free to drop your advice but, wooo it is not for the faint of heart. I feel like it was just yesterday when we brought our daughter home and now have made it to the other side of this journey. I probably don’t have to tell you this but I’m going to because it makes me feel better. It is a difficult process that can be made even more difficult by other people’s opinions, whether your child is showing interest, and above all the busy schedules that you and your partner have. So, how do you manage to do everything successfully while potty training your child? Take a deep breath and be sure to take notes from this episode.
Where to Begin with Potty Training
Okay, so the first step is to determine whether or not your child has an interest in potty training. You may be wondering, how will I know if my child has an interest? If they are coming into the bathroom while you are in there and looking at or playing with the toilet, it may be a good time to start.
Don’t worry or stress if they are not yet ready for potty training. Every child develops at their own rate and that’s okay. We started with our daughter when she was 15 months old because she was very interested in flushing the toilet. We gave it a shot, but because she was still little she didn’t understand what we were trying to do and couldn’t understand when she had to go. So, it made it very difficult for us. Especially when we were working and trying to do it in the evenings before bedtime and then starting again on the weekends. It just wasn’t a good fit for her or us. So we put potty training on the shelf for a while. We started again when she turned 2 and it went much better. Now she is 3 and she is completely potty trained!
When we started this journey, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned that she wasn’t having as much success as other kids were. I know that might be what you are feeling or felt too going through this journey. But, if I could go back and tell my past self that it will get easier, because it did.
So, after you figure out whether they are interested in learning how to go to the potty, the next step is to get them on a schedule. Again, this was a super sticky point for us. Our pediatrician recommended thirty minutes after she ate or drank. So, we tried that. Set a timer and over time found that the thirty minute mark wasn’t working. Either she already went before the timer or we would put her on the potty and she would have a major fit because she didn’t have to go.
If I had to say what was the BIGGEST struggle for us, it would be finding a schedule that worked for her. Then quarantine came and the world slowed to a halt. That is when we decided to work on potty training in full force. I was determined to have her fully potty trained before her 3rd birthday.
Potty Training From Us
Starting out, I did some research and by research I mean Google and from some mom groups I follow on Facebook. But, I was coming up with the same information everywhere. Set a timer, get a reward system, and be consistent. Well, that was what I was doing and I wasn’t having successful results. So, like a teacher, I went back to the drawing board.
Trick (if you call it that)
Now bare with me because it gets a little dicey here. My thought process went something like this, if she doesn’t have any pull ups on, maybe she will learn to go on the potty instead of on the floor. So, we tried it. Low and behold she only had one accident and the rest were on the potty. Not wanting to feel too confident, we kept this going for about a week. Then, we decided to start putting her in training pants. At first she thought they were like pull ups and quickly realized that they weren’t. Again for a week we had success. Then we decided to go all in and get her some really underwear. *knock on wood* she has been accident free since mid April. Woo hoo!
So, no timers or fancy reward charts worked for her just good ole fashion training. (Laugh) But not every child is the same, so I now what to take the time to talk about rewards.
Most people when they think of rewards for potty training, they think treats like M&M, Hershey kisses, gummies and so on. Like most of you, I too started rewarding my daughter with food items as well. That was until talking to her pediatrician and he said not to do that. I was curious to why and he said that because it contributes to emotional eating later on. Well, I felt that that was true so I decided to nix the treat giving.
Instead I started using a sticker chart. Although she never wanted to actually put the stickers on the chart. She would rather decorate herself with them. So eventually the stickers would go on the chart mainly for my own tracking, but she was never truly interested in them or when she got to the reward part. Now, I have friends who have used stickers charts for their kids for potty training, chores, personal hygiene, and so on. I’m not totally against sticker charts because once she gets older and starts to understand the value behind them, I think we will try to use them again for chores and so on.
How Long Will Potty Training Take?
Now, I want to change directions and discuss the ever important question. How long is this going to take? (Laugh) I think now is a good time to remind you again that every child is different so for one child it may take 3 days. But, another child (like mine) it may take two weeks or longer. The important thing is that you stick with it. Trust me, I know it can be frustrating at times. Especially when they start making awesome progress and then regress a little. It is always discouraging to see that. But, I can promise you if you keep going there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep Going, You Can Do It!
To close this out, I want to leave you with a little bit of encouragement. You can do this! I know it seems like this journey will never end. Or maybe will never start if you are at that stage. Regardless of whatever stage you are at, one thing is for certain, you can do this because you are already doing it. You will get a schedule down and you will figure out what works best for your child because you know your child better than anyone.
Peace, love, and no accidents friends! And I will see you around real soon!