Potty training is a work out. For a long time, I have been wanting to write this piece, but the truth is, potty training is so different for each child. Although true, there are four things I’ve learned that I wish I would have known in the beginning.
1. Don’t Force It
This one I learned the hard way with my second. My first child did great with the 3-Day-Potty Training Method. Naturally, I assumed my second would too. But that was not the case – I was very wrong and totally tried to force it on him. I was mostly in a hurry to get him potty trained because baby number three was on the way and I reeeeaaally didn’t want two in diapers again. I made three different attempts and all I ended up with was a ton of peed on pants and undies and frustration. It wasn’t until he was ready that it actually worked out for us.
2. Every Kid is Different
My first child was relatively easy to potty train. The three-day-method worked for her. She was mostly potty trained in the three days then all the way potty trained that week. She has a bladder of steel and I only had one accident at night…EVER! My second was really hard and we were both pretty stubborn. I put all the expectations I had from the first on him so I ended up super frustrated and it was a waste of time. My third, I learned not to push potty training. She ended up telling my husband she wanted to go potty then pretty much trained herself with very little help from us. I tried a few times that day with her, but stopped when I could tell she wasn’t ready. All three of my kids were different ages when they “were ready” and different tricks worked for each kid.
3. Different Strokes for Different Folks
There are so many different tricks you hear that help kids or even get interested in using the potty. It took a different reward for each kid. I just had to try a bunch of different things and go with what stuck. Here are a few that worked for me:
- Letting my son pee in our backyard (to water the grass) was his absolute favorite thing. It was how he actually learned to relax his muscles to pee.
- One of my daughters loved her character underwear (Elsa) so I told her to “keep Elsa dry” otherwise Elsa will be sad…and wet.
- My last daughter LOVES her sticker “Potty Chart!” I literally wrote her name on the potty chart and bought a huge sheet of stickers from Amazon. Every time she went she’d pick a sticker and put it on the chart. Even the older siblings loved the chart too!
- My son enjoyed, but didn’t help him pee on the potty, was sitting on the toilet seat backwards and coloring the seat with dry erase markers. The marker wipes right off and the activity kept him occupied.
- My mom still swears that throwing Cherrios in the toilet for my broth to “aim” worked wonders.
- Treats treats treats! My kids love getting rewarded with treats whether it was chocolate, a fruit snack, or something special they don’t get a lot.
4. There is No Golden Age
All of my kids were potty trained at different ages. All three also have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to potty training. My two daughters have bladders of steel and it seems can go forever without peeing. My son had more accidents, but he is a champ at getting up in the night. He also takes like two seconds to go potty in public. My oldest daughter mastered the three-day-method while my son and youngest daughter took a bit longer than three days.
I put a lot of pressure on my son because I wanted him out of diapers before my youngest came. All it did was stress us out. We had friends potty training at 18 months and I was trying to keep up. Ultimately the kid determines the age when they were ready and it’s different for with each kid!
The goal of this article is to save you the stress and headache that I went through trying to potty train my first two kids. It was literally a whole different world with my youngest when I took the pressure off and just went with the flow. I am a control freak so this was hard, but it actually made it waaaay easier. She has less accidents and I am way more patient this time around. Let your kiddo show you that they are ready. Most of all, remember you are awesome and you can do this!!