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Do you feel like your child is never going to potty train? Don’t despair. Take a break and read the potty training tips I wish I knew before I had kids. You’ll get through it!
If you’re in the midst of potty training your child, you’re probably wondering if you’re ever going to reach your goal. I’m here to tell you that you will… even if it doesn’t feel like it now.
We potty trained two daughters, one of which we thought would never potty train – and she did. Zoë was 3-years old when she finally decided she was ready to potty train. Kaylee, on the other hand, decided she wanted to be like big sister at 18-months old and toilet trained herself.
I share this story so you can see how every child is different and every journey in potty training is just a bit different. Even within the same family. Don’t stress. There really is no best way to potty train.
Finally potty training your child feels like a triumphant moment. I know that you’re going to reach that moment.
Until you do, I hope reading these tips I wish I knew about potty training sooner will help you get through the bumps on the journey. And maybe prepare you for some of the surprises we learned along the way.
10 Potty Training Tips I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids
1. Different kids are ready at different ages.
You may be wondering when to start potty training. All kids are different, so look at where your son or daughter is at. Don’t compare too much to those around you.
Like I said, I had one daughter finally out of diapers at 3-years old, and one at 18-months old. If you’re really concerned about a delay, be sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician.
2. Ask your kids on a schedule.
If your child is interested in potty training, but is having trouble remembering to make it to the bathroom on time, ask them on a schedule. Set a timer or reminder on your phone to go off every hour so you don’t forget to remind them.
When you help them establish good habits, it’ll become more routine for them. After a while, they’ll start remembering on their own and one day you’ll realize it’s been a while since they’ve had an accident!
3. Do you go with a potty chair or kids toilet seat?
One thing that I found made a difference for us was figuring out whether our girls preferred a potty chair or a kids toilet seat after your kid uses it. Our girls both had different preferences, so we had both.
The potty chair is a little chair with a collection cup in it that you have to dump into the toilet. They have different ones designed for girls and for boys. The one thing I didn’t like about the potty chair is that if I turned my back, someone might play in it!
The kids toilet seat is a tiny toilet seat the fits over the grown-up sized one, so there’s nothing to dump. These are especially great for smaller bathrooms. The con is that kids can’t really use them alone since they’ll be high up on the toilet.
If you find out which type of potty seat your child prefers, they may go more often.
4. Bribing your kid doesn’t make you a bad parent.
I’ll admit it… I bribed Zoë with M&Ms to use the potty when we were struggling. It’s one of those potty training tricks I was hesitant to try, but it worked for us. Since she rarely got sugar, one little M&M was all it would take.
At the time, I felt bad about it because bribing isn’t my parenting practice of choice. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get to the other side of the moment.
So think of some rewards you’d be comfortable giving your child for using the big boy or girl potty. You could even use a sticker chart to track the days they got rewards so they can see just how great they’re doing.
5. Pull-ups are so messy to change.
This is more of a cautionary warning than anything else for anyone who hasn’t experienced Pull-Ups yet. They are horribly messy to change!
We primarily used disposable Pull-Ups with our kids, but we also had a few pairs of cloth training pants. If you didn’t cloth diaper, I wouldn’t recommend starting with cloth trainers because they’re even harder to clean out since you can’t unsnap them.
They both loved having “big girl” pull-ups and refused to go back to diapers, which were so much easier to clean up. This alone was incentive enough for us to want to get our girls out of Pull-Ups as soon as possible.
In the meantime, you can rip the sides of the pull-ups where the diaper tabs would be and it makes changing them just a bit less messy. Good luck!
6. Ups and downs are to be expected.
One day, you may wake up and think your little boy or girl is totally potty trained. Then three days later, they regress and have a few accidents. It happens!
The key is not to stress yourself out over these fluctuations. When you’re stressed, your kiddo feels it and will be more stressed about it too. Bumps in the road are normal. You’ll get through this.
7. You’re not done with the diaper bag.
Even if you think your kid is potty trained, accidents still happen. You will still want to have a change of clothes with you in case your little one has an accident. Otherwise you may find yourself running home unexpectedly to get clothes for your toddler.
8. All kids will eventually potty train.
Except for rare exceptions where medical conditions prohibit it, all kids will eventually potty train. It may take some kids longer than others, but they’ll all end up using the toilet someday.
So take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is only a moment. It may be a difficult moment right now, but it’s only a moment and you will get through this.
9. You’ll celebrate the last diaper you change.
I remember when both girls were finally potty trained. It felt like a huge triumph, something we worked so hard to attain. I never knew I’d have such a personal celebration for something my child did. Parenting sure can surprise you!
1o. You’re not done wiping butts.
This was probably the biggest surprise and the thing that my husband shares with friends most often… you’re not done wiping butts! Nope, not for a few more years!
You’ll be happily relaxing for the ten quiet minutes of the day and you’ll hear shouts from the bathroom, “Mommy, wipe my butt!”
Oh, the joys of parenthood. The biggest celebration in potty training my kids was the day we celebrated no longer wiping butts. How’s that for you?
Don’t forget this potty training advice because there will be ups and downs. When you’re really struggling, remind yourself that all kids eventually potty train. And they eventually grow up too.
So cherish these small moments, no matter how challenging they may feel at the time. One day you’ll look back on these moments and wonder why you ever worried so much about the small things.