Let’s be honest-potty training is hard. It’s one of those facts of life for most families. There are some things that you can do to make potty training go more smoothly for not just you, but the potty trainee as well.
1. Stick to a routine
Humans are creatures of habit so sticking to a potty routine will help your little one know what to expect and when. When your child becomes accustomed to sitting on the potty based around the same activities daily, it can make a huge difference in whether they hold it on just let it go.
2. Expect accidents
Expect them, prepare for them, and get over them now. When your child has an accident, and I assure that they will, it isn’t a form of acting out or disobedience. They aren’t trying to get at you or show some power play, they are simply doing what they have been able to do since birth-going when the urge hits. Even after you have started potty training your child will forget from time to time-sometimes it will seem like they are forgetting all of the time. Trust me, if you were living in a world of discovering new things and activities daily you would forget a few things here and there.
3. Treat your child the way that you would want to be treated
If you had an accident, how would you want to be treated? Punished? Scolded? Humiliated in front of the rest of the family? No, so don’t do it to your toddler. Potty training can bring out the worst in us all. Think of it as your prequel to the stress of teenage years. When your child has an accident, do not make a big deal about it, clean it up and carry on with your schedule. You may benefit from including your child in the clean up-not as a punishment, but in a teaching spirit…”Well, we need to get this spot up so we can go back to playing-let’s do it together.”. Give them a towel to help you clean up wet spills and make sure that they wash their hands afterwards.
4. Check often
Don’t ask your child if they want to try, just take them in the bathroom to try. Asking comes much later, like when you have had dry underwear for more than a week. At this stage in the game your child doesn’t have the foresight or experience to know if they will actually need to go in two minutes from now so just getting in the habit of getting them to try will help save your sanity. A good rule of potty training is to check often-after waking, before nap, after nap, before bed, after each meal/snack. Remember, when something goes in, something comes out so check after all meals/snacks/drinks.
5. Show Potty Training Progress
We have uploaded our free printable potty training chart that you can download and use to track your child’s progress. Hang it in the bathroom and get some of those inexpensive star stickers from the office section of your local store and mark off each attempt and each success. You may want to have a special sticker to give out when your child stays dry all day and night. You can even get those star stickers in colors and offer a blue for going, a green for wiping and a gold for staying dry. Have fun with it.
6. Don’t get discouraged
Other moms with their stories of children that simply threw away their diapers one day and never went back will make you crazy. Do some kids potty train fast? Sure. I have one child that literally potty trained herself one day because she wanted to wear real under wear like her sibling-she is also a very determined kid that paves her own way in everything that she does. My first child, however, was a really different story. In fact, if my second child had not already been born by the time I potty trained the first, I might have stopped at one. It was that bad. I remember saying, “I house trained two dogs-why can’t I potty train my own child?”…and I cried. A lot. In hindsight I can see every mistake that I made, and if I had it to do over again I would not have stressed about it at all.
Looking back, I can honestly say that a big source of stress for me was other moms-wanting to know if I was potty training, if it was working, telling me why I was doing it wrong, telling me how every child in their family just woke up one day potty trained and how they could write a book on it…it is so defeating, especially when you are on your third accident of the day and have had to cancel your plans to launder clothes and clean ‘spills’. My one pet peeve with moms and how we treat each other is the amnesia that so many of us get when we see another mom struggling. It’s as if some moms want the world to believe that she came out of the womb with a tray of cookies, the organizational skills of a librarian and is some sort of ‘baby whisperer’ that knows everything every other mom is doing wrong. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s just the romanticizing of memories but either way it isn’t helpful. She was just where you are right now, once-I promise you.
7. Gather your tools
Buy Flush-able wipes…and then put your regular wipes on a high shelf where little hands won’t mistake them for the flush-able type. Wiping is a hard enough concept and you can not expect a toddler that didn’t even know what wiping was a month ago to know how to wipe correctly. Flush-able wipes go a long way to help keep your toddler’s bottom clean. Also, make sure that there is a safe stool that helps them reach the potty and the sink, if needed. Liquid hand soap is a must and so is supervision. If you are having many bed accidents, it may be a good idea to invest in some rubber sheets. You can find some at discount stores for a fraction of the cost that you pay elsewhere. If you use them, follow the instructions and place a regular sheet over them.
At the end of the day, you want to potty train your child and they want to be trained-even if they say that they don’t. Unfortunately for all involved, potty training comes at the same time when your child is learning their own voice, their own opinions, their own power. This can prove to make the process harder than it should be, but following our tips will help to get you through it. Remember, when you are stressed, so are your kids. Once potty training becomes a source of stress for you and your little one, it immediately becomes a harder task for you and your child, and then no one wins. Good luck – and know that this, too, shall pass
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