As I contemplated this post, I had to wonder if I was really qualified to be giving people advice on how to potty train. Afterall, I did just walk in on my almost five year old standing in her closet naked and peeing on the carpet. You may be thinking no big deal… all kids do that kind of stuff and it doesn’t mean they aren’t potty trained. But this isn’t the first time, or the first child that did those sorts of things on a frequent basis.
Perhaps, I am just terrible at disciple… maybe too strict so they lash out… maybe too gentle so they lack respect… or maybe (most likely) it has nothing to do with me and they are just little strong-willed
Anyway, this post isn’t really about teaching anyone how to potty train. It’s about keeping our sanity… and how to hold onto it with every desperate breathe until all the
monsters children are successfully putting their bodily waste where it should go every single time. And since it is more about sanity than it is a how to for potty training, I think I have been sufficiently tested, and tried, and found to still be mostly sane after two terrible, awful, and grooling potty training experiences. 😉
Don’t expect to much
Maybe you will be that mom that has her kid potty trained at 18 months and she did it in an amazing three days by simply letting the kid run around free as a bird and loading them up on liquids….
Maybe you will be the mom that tries and fails to make it happen until they are three…
Maybe you will be the mom that gets it done early, only to discover that your tot regresses when the second child is born.
Maybe you will be the mom that can’t get your kid to quit pooping their pants and the kid is 5! And you can’t handle scrubbing that disgusting poop off that little white butt anymore without screaming inside!
Or, maybe your story will be completely different.
Momma, you have no more control over how fast they learn to tinkle in the toilet than you did when they decided to roll over, or walk. So, pull out that overly played soundtrack and sing, “Let it Go” because that’s all you’ve got honey!
The truth is, you can’t predict this. You might get lucky, or you might not. So don’t let it get to you if it doesn’t work the way it did for your neighbor, your sister, or your best friend.
Never get mad when potty training
So I’m totally going to pull out something I learned while house training our puppy.
If you rub your dog’s nose in their mess, they just learn to hide the mess. It creates fear. So instead of telling you when they to be let out, they sneak into the basement, do their business, and then you get to find a little surprise later. Instead, when a puppy has an accident, you shut them in their crate until it is time to potty again, then you take them out and reward them for good behavior.
Now, what does that have to do with toddlers?
When you get frustrated, or angry, or annoyed all that negative emotion confuses and frustrates your child. What was perfectly fine for their entire life suddenly makes you upset and that just doesn’t make any sense. So what do they do? They hide in the closet to do their doody, they hold it in until they develop a constipation problem, or they simply neglect to tell you they need to use the loo becuase they are afraid of how you might react.
In other words… patience, patience, patience!
Respect their agency
You can’t make them eat. You can’t make them sleep. And you can’t make them poop.
When it comes to potty training your job as a parent is to empower them with a tool they can use when they are ready for it. If you start out great but then things go downhill then scrap it for a while and try again when they are ready. Don’t make it a battle. This is their choice, not yours.
At the end of the day…
All that really matters is that they know you love them. Having a quality relationship with your kids is way more important than having them in underwear. Potty training is one of the very first steps in how your relationship will develop with your child. Will that relationship be built on negativity, or on mutual respect and love?
This too will end
There will come a day when they are potty trained. I promise you won’t have a teenager in pullups… Ok, maybe I shouldn’t promise, but you know what I mean. Enjoy their cuteness, and littleness while you can, potty training is a little challenge compared to what is too come (heaven help us all when they are teenagers!).
What do you think?
How has potty training treated you? Did it test your patience? Or drive you crazy? What did you learn from the experience? What are you hoping for when you train the next, or first tot?
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photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/arztsamui