Potty training 101: What you really need to know

Potty Training 101: What You Need to Know

As a mother of three, I’m here to tell you potty training is not one-size-fits-all. Most parents will tell you that their children progress in different ways – some learn quickly while others take a very long time. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few simple things you can do to support your child – and keep your sanity in the long run.

Follow their cues
This is one of the most important tips I can give you based on my own experience. Pay close attention to what your child is doing, and, more importantly what your child is not doing. Does she show discomfort when she’s wet or has soiled her diaper? Does she go off to a corner to “do her business”? These may be signs she’s ready to roll. But if she has no qualms running around in messy pants, it may mean it’s not time just yet.

Throw a potty party
If you’re stressed, your child will be stressed too. Nothing derails potty training more than anxiety. Do your best to keep it light. Kids are very visual, so keep a sticker chart filled with bright stickers or of favorite characters. Let them choose something from a treasure chest if they have a day of no accidents. If you’re not big on offering regular gift-like rewards, then opt to sing a fun song, hoot and holler or pick her up for a big hug or a high five to show her how very proud you are of her. Those little moments of positive reinforcement add up.

Flexibility is the name of the game
You’re going to need to be flexible. Don’t put yourself under a strict timeline. If your child is making progress but then takes a step or two backward, it doesn’t mean you should give up. But if she is just. not. having it it is okay to stop for a while.

You are not a failure. She is not a failure. It’s just not the right time.

So, try again a couple of weeks or months later. If your school is requiring you to potty train to admit your child, consider a different option if possible. Otherwise, look at your incentives and approach to the training to see if you can tweak something to encourage your child in a new way. The key is to keep the stress level low and the process peaceful.

Keep calm and carry on
This statement applies to many parenting scenarios – especially in these early years. Sleepless nights with a newborn, separation anxiety with an 18-month-old, the terrible twos, and the dreaded threenager stage. Add in the potty training stage between the twos and threes and you must bring patience. An anxiety ridden process will not be one that succeeds in the long term. Berating your child when they have an accident after succeeding will only lead to more regression.

There is no one way to train your children
Like I mentioned above, if you have more than one child, they all may respond to different types of training. While 3-day naked baby boot camp will work for one, a gradual train with Pampers Easy Ups will work for the other. My first daughter trained quickly and easily using a sticker chart and undies. Then when the twins came along and we were constantly having to rethink our methods. Pampers Easy Ups played a big role in saving our sanity until everything finally clicked.

Potty training is a process and each child is an individual who requires her own set of strategies. What will work for each of your children is likely a mix and match of the things that worked for those who have gone before you, so come armed with ideas from them all until you find a combination that works for you. Trust me when I say, you will get there … together.


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