Our third and youngest child turned 2 ½ this week which means we met our (my) potty-training goal. To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to happen. I prepared myself for impending failure because the whole girls are easier thing never applied to my daughter, not with anything, not so far anyway.
I was certain (and so was my husband) that this little experiment of mine was going to be full of frustration and short-lived.
Yet, as I sit here typing this post I am watching my dry and clean underwear clad 2 ½ year old daughter rolling around on the living room floor, clanging two measuring cups in her hands making music while watching A Boy Named Charlie Brown…for the 8th time in the past week. Last Thursday, almost 5 days ago, I committed to potty training her before I had to go back into the office. Tomorrow I leave this newly potty-trained little girl with her daddy while I head into work.
There will be accidents, plastic bags of wet clothes, mad dashes to the nearest gross public restroom, frantic car rides from point A to point B while she continues to master the art of just “holding it” for five minutes.
But, I think, for the most part she’s got it. And it wasn’t half the battle either of us thought it would be.
While her rewards might have been mini chocolate chips and spins in the air, my reward is seeing tiny little Peppa Pig and Bubble Guppies underwear running around our home.
5 Things I Learned and Re-learned While Potty-Training Child #3
- Set a goal but be flexible – 2 ½ years old has been my target potty-trained goal with my kids. Their vocabulary is fairly established, they are aware of their body and what it does, they understand the concept of using the toilet…for goodness sake, they have witnessed me taking care of business hundreds of times. A “deadline” gives me motivation, something to work toward. It reminds me that I actually need to start something in order to finish it and achieve the goal. Of course, there are two players in this little game so if your child is just not cooperating despite your efforts, remember that you set this goal and you can also reset it.
- Commit – Potty training has historically revolved around my work schedule. Long weekends or a span of a few days that I can work from home have made all the difference when potty training. Obviously life can’t stop when potty-training begins but it does help if you can spend some good chunks of time at home. Accidents are inevitable and messes will have to be cleaned up, it’s much easier to deal with all of this at home than in the middle of Target. It also helps your child to be able to get comfortable undressing and using the restroom in the place where she feels the most comfortable, home.
- Be annoying – Pester your child the way she pesters you, it’s fun. Ask her if she has to go potty, take her to the potty, remind her she has underpants on, tell her how yucky it feels if she potties in her pants and my favorite, sit next to her while she is on the potty and talk to her, because we all know how this fun that is.
- Involve everyone – Well, maybe not everyone, believe it or not the UPS guy doesn’t appreciate potty-training updates. Anyone your child is going to be spending time around during the first days and weeks of potty-training needs to know what is going on, especially if you are not going to be there with your trainee. Sunday school teachers, nursery workers, grandma and grandpa, babysitters, everyone needs to be willing to do their part to keep the training going so as not to break the developing habit. Also, the more cheers, hugs and high-fives every time there is a potty success make a huge difference. I paraded Lucy through the house the first few days, forcing her 15 year old and 6 year old brothers to congratulate her and tell her how proud of her they were. Her smile was proof enough that it was worth it.
- Relax – It will happen, your child will be potty-trained. It doesn’t have to be the most awful parenting experience in the world, although at times it may seem like it is. Children sense frustration, my kids pick up on it right away, if I am reaching the end of my rope then they are quick to follow. The more pressure they feel the more likely they are going to fight against whatever you are trying to get them to do. Make potty-training fun, casual, act like it’s no big deal to go sit on the potty but act like it’s the greatest deal in the world when they actually go potty on the potty.
There you have it, nothing you probably haven’t heard or read before. Just the words of one learning as I go mom to another. No potty-training experience has been the same. What worked for one child has not necessarily worked for the other. That’s okay. My three children are all very different people. And as of today they are all potty-trained people.
Oh, we used the Baby Bjorn Smart Potty (affiliate link) and have loved it!
Do you have any potty-training tips or advice to share? It’s great to hear from other parents who have walked the same path. Or, maybe you have a potty-training question? I’d love to hear from all of you. Please leave a comment below.