Who’d have ever guessed that something we do every single day, without flaw, was once an impossible task?
Pottytrainig my child, like so many other things in parenthood, have made me appreciate my mother even more. When we, as adults, use the bathroom, it’s mindless. We don’t have to think about it. It just happens. Naturally. Normally.
Well, getting the two year old to use the potty is like… a whole other experience.
I get it, I’ve been there. A few weeks ago, I was there.
Talk about exhausting.
Here are my REALISTIC mommy tips for pottytraining your toddler:
1. Put the potty in the living room. Sounds kinda gross and I acknowledge that it’s not realistic for them as potties don’t just follow them around in life, BUT if you want to save yourself some stress, put the potty in the living room. This way, you can completely avoid ALL foreseeable meltdowns when it comes to the child not wanting to stop playing or watching their tv show. (Chloe has had several accidents-SOME WHILE STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE POTTY-because she was too busy freaking out over the fact that I had to pause Trolls. Lesson learned. Not a fight I’m willing to fight today.)
2. Rewards. Bribery. Call it what you want, but once there’s an insentive involved, your kid will be the potty pro. Chloe got three sixlets at my house every time she pottied successfully or peppermints (yes, she likes peppermints; I don’t question it) at my parents’. After she had a taste of her first sixlet, she camped out on the potty, just WAITING for something to happen. Every five minutes, she was trying to force herself to go to the bathroom. It really is ALL ABOUT INCENTIVE.
3. Only wear undies. Pull-ups might be good for outings or car rides if you really want to prevent accidents on the go, but really, once they know they can pee in a pull-up and it not be a big deal, they won’t be as diligent about using the potty. Undies, on the other hand, feel rhorrible if they’re wet, not to mention you can get their favorite character on them and instill a small fear of peeing on their “friend”. They’ll be more willing to tell you that they have to use the potty because they’ll want to prevent an accident for fear of Elsa being upset with them, as well as having wet pants and undies.
4. Consistency. This is probably parents’ biggest downfall when it comes to pottytraining. It was mine, too, for a bit. It’s hard work! You may want to give in and do a diaper JUST THIS ONE TIME. Or you may not want to hear their protests so you let them sit on the potty for only one minute versus the typical five. Don’t do that. Ever. Be consistent. They need it, even when they’re fighting you on the matter. They need to know what the expectations are so that they can eventually be successful on the potty. You also don’t want to confuse them. Why was something not okay yesterday, but is okay today? Will it be okay tomorrow? It’s too much. I know you’re tired. I get that you’re frustrated. Just tough it out for a little while longer!
5. Deep breaths. This is very important. Imagine: You tell your kid to use the bathroom. They don’t want to. They’re screaming, throwing their body all around. They’re having SUCH a fit (RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE POTTY) and they pee in their pants. At this point, you’re angry because all of this would have been prevented had they just LISTENED to you. Why don’t they listen?! (This scenario will be repeated several times throughout parenthood. Especially in the teens. JUST FREAKING LISTEN TO ME, CHILD!) You want to yell, but you know that they may be traumatized and NEVER use the potty again! You also know that you have to have a conversation about them peeing on themselves because they would not follow directions and “you should just listen to mama.” Take a deep breath. Leave the messy child and the mess right where they are. Go in the other room. Have a breakdown. Then, return to the child, clean them and the mess and start all over. Breakdowns are acceptable, giving up is not.
6. When you get REALLY frustrated and it seems like it’ll never happen, change your perspective. No typical child is 14 and not pottytrained. So what are you beating yourself up about? It’s hard, but you know that it’s going to happen. Find your strength there, if you have to. Find your strength and comfort in the fact that this phase, although it seems eternal, is just a phase. Before you know it, you’ll have a potty-using preschooler and you’ll be crying about that. Find some optimism.
So that’s it… I don’t have all of the secrets to potty training, but I have enough to help you regain your sanity!