Even at a young age, your child’s life is full of many milestones. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, teething, walking, talking…most are pretty exciting for parents. Then, suddenly – it’s time for potty training!
I think I can speak for parents everywhere when I say that just reading that may give us a feeling of dread!
With my first, potty training was a dream! By the second week, there were zero accidents, dry at nap/bedtime, diapers were almost immediately a thing of the past and I don’t think I even bought one package of pull-ups!
Then along came my second – the wild child.
I wasn’t naive enough to think it would be a cakewalk again – the opposite, in fact. I figured it would be a complete nightmare, or take forever, millions of accidents, no end in sight, etc.
And unfortunately, I was correct!
In the end, after a few months, she is finally in undies full time, with very, very rare accidents. She is still in a pull up at night, but that’s okay. Here are a few tips I learned along the way that worked for us!
Don’t push them – THEY have to be ready to try. Initially, I was pretty gung-ho about the whole thing. We started on a Friday, aiming to be in nothing but undies and a tee-shirt for the weekend, not leaving the house, potty in the living room – thought we were good to go! After a day of nothing but accidents, with my little one giving ZERO effs, we decided to take a break and try again at a later date.
Don’t shame them. Accidents are inevitable during potty training, that goes without saying. At first, it’s easy to just let it go and move on. After a few days (or weeks!) of it though, your patience will become tested. It is so important to remember that this is a learning experience for both of you. It may take a while for your little to recognize the feeling of needing to go potty, and being able to hold it and make it to the potty. At this stage, your child isn’t going to have an accident just to spite you, or as a way to act out.
Don’t be afraid to switch it up. Sometimes kids can just go right to undies. Some moms might want to start their kiddos out with pull-ups and make their way to underwear down the line. Some kids can put undies on under their pants and not have a problem, other ones do better with no pants on – or even no undies for awhile! If one method isn’t working, try not to get frustrated. Just switch it up and keep going.
Reward them. When they get to the potty on time and their pants are dry, it’s important to act like this is the BEST thing you’ve ever seen! Throw your hands up, jump up and down, give lots of high fives and hugs and praise. If you get excited about it, they will too! In addition to that, it can be helpful to have some sort of chart with a reward at the end, or a small treat every time a trip to the potty was successful.
Don’t be above bribery. In the end, the last resort in our house became bribery. I’m not proud to admit it, but it’s the one thing that ended up working! Initially, with my little girl, I knew there were some things she wanted and we could work towards a toy as the main goal. That worked at first, but when all was said and done, what really got the job done was buying a couple of smaller things she was coveting, leaving them on display until she earned them. That may sound a little drastic or even harsh, and it did to me too at first. But, desperate times call for desperate measures! And she was none worse for wear.
Always remember potty training is a huge milestone and something that is guaranteed to challenge you and your little one at some point in the process. But don’t forget that there is a light at the end of the tunnel – and soon diapers will be a thing of the past!