5 Things NOT to Do When Potty Training


Five Things NOT to Do When Potty Training Your Child

My youngest daughter turns 11 months in just two days and the toddler down the road, who is in the midst of his potty training journey, has me shaking in my boots with the thought of doing this again!

Potty training is not for the faint of heart. This is coming from a mom whose daughter decided on her own she was ready and it was easy breezy from there. However, as a new mom I thought there were so many things I needed to be doing. I read all the methods and as a working mom/executive outside the home, there were only a few windows for me to get this right. I put so much pressure on myself to “get it done” that I didn’t focus on whether SHE was ready. I based her readiness on the mom chat at pick up and drop off and social media telling me other kids her age were already diaper free and I longed to be like them.

In the end, it all worked out. Yeah, it got a tad messy at times but we came out of it alive! I have no idea how it will be with our baby, but am going to recap some methods and important lessions I learned the first time around.

  1. Don’t start to soon: Make sure THEY are ready. Like I mentioned, I tried to potty train Caroline before she indicated she was interested in it. This resulted in a few naked days outside with constant pee running down her leg, and a stressed-out mom feeling lost and unsupported.
  2. Don’t go in without doing your research: Make sure YOU are ready. Yes, I said you. It is just as important that you pay attention to the signs of readiness in your child and do your research. If you haven’t picked an approach you are bound to fail. Sorry, that's just the facts. Potty training is an art (for those not as lucky to have a self-training child) and if you don’t pick a method, your inconsistency will influence the success of your efforts, and that’s the worst feeling ever as a parent.
  3. Don’t forget to reward them for their success: Set up a reward system! So this can be whatever you think will work for your child. Some like candy or little toys. We did two things. I got M&M candy and gave her one every time she went pee or poop on the potty. She loved this, but started to just sit on the toilet just to get candy — smart kid! We also created a sticker chart. This was a suggestion from a good friend and it worked wonderfully. I got a poster board and wrote Caroline’s Potty Stickers on the top and found all kinds of fun Disney princess and other stickers I knew she would love. When she went pee she got to pick from one stack and when she went poop she got to pick from the super fancy stack of stickers. She LOVED her chart and would admire it several times a day. It was simple and relatively inexpensive — and healthier.
  4. Don’t stress: If it doesn’t work out the first try, do not stress! I scheduled two separate times where I was going to have her give it a go (pardon the pun). Both times failed miserably and I put so much pressure on myself to make it happen. When it didn’t happen, I felt like a failure of a mom. The reality of it is "Momin'" is hard, potty training is hard, and just because it does not work out when and how you want or expect it to does not mean you have done something wrong. A few months after my last failed attempt, Caroline came to me asking to go potty like a big girl and the rest was history. Of course, we had a few accidents and still wore pull-ups at night and during naptime, but it happened. The point is if your child is not ready to potty train, it won't work. Many children naturally become interested when they see their friends doing it.
  5. Don’t be caught empty handed or unprepared: Make sure you have the gear so you are ready to go. Go out and buy a fun potty for the living room and car, let them pick out panties with their favorite characters and have toilet liners for when you are on the go. Caroline feared “big” toilets when we were out and about, so having a seat cover helped her overcome that fear. We also had a singing potty at home that we kept in the living room and a seat cover for her bathroom. Having these things all ready to go made it easy to just start when she was ready. Another thing I found useful was a car seat liner. It helped with keeping the seat dry when she had accidents and helped keep me stress free while driving knowing I had something between her (possibly) wet bum and the seat!

Moral of the story: Good luck out there and get 'em to "go" when the time is right!


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