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8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Potty Training My Toddler

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We are in the final stretch of potty training in my house. My two-year old is now wearing underwear full time (well, except for most nights) and pooping and peeing on the potty without any tears.

struggling potty salute

The road to get here has been bumpy and long and smelly. But we’re almost “there,” we’ve almost arrived on the isle of potty trained so I’ve been reflecting a lot on this journey. And in my reflections I came up with this:

8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Potty Training My Toddler:

  1. Potty training is not for the faint of heart, but after some time in it, you get used to the odors and stains and textures that come with potty training.
  2. It’s a long process. For some reason, I assumed that it would be easy to go from all diapers to all underwear. I assumed this whole process would take no more than a few months. Yeah. I read a lot of other parent’s experiences about the challenges that come with potty training, but I assumed things would be easier for us, somehow. But what I’ve learned is that potty training is filled with many steps, forward and, sometimes, backwards. It’s a journey, so treat it as such and pace yourself.
  3. Trying to get your toddler potty trained on a time frame will usually only leave you frustrated. I was pregnant with my second child when I decided my toddler needed to be potty trained. She was 16 months then. Over ten months later, and guess what? We’re still potty training.
  4. You must be ready, too. All the “good” parenting books and websites out there emphasize the importance of your child being ready, but really? Really, you must be ready, too. This is a potty dance between parent and child, if either of you has two left feet then the dance won’t go well for either of you.
  5. Once you start potty training, to continue making progress, you can’t just stop.
  6. Pull-ups are a waste of time if you’re only going to use them as glorified toddler diapers.
  7. Literary potty training propaganda works and is good. So buy it, and use it, often.
  8. As a high school student, your child will not go to prom in diapers. It’s easy to become shortsighted in this process and forget that this phase shall pass, soon. Given this, it’s important to keep things into perspective, pace yourself, and smile. Often.

Parents who’ve run the race of potty training and have come out on the other side, what are some things you wish you knew before you started potty training?

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Thursday 14th of June 2012

I just read this out of interest, as I have a happy, potty trained son. I wish more people knew about EC, or infant potty training. It too is a process, but there is no shame or pressure. We began slowly at 12 weeks, and since 4 months there have been a very limited number of poopy diapers. We used cloth diapers throughout, and he began wearing underwear part time at a year. At 15 months we went to underwear full time. He wears a diaper at night still, at 19 months, as he still nurses throughout, so he is dry 3-4 mornings a week at this point. I know it'll come on its own. I can't express how great the process was, for all of us. Perhaps some of the techniques and philosophy can be applied to late starters - I highly recommend researching for future kids at least.


Thursday 14th of June 2012

It sounds like you started way too early, 16 months?!?!? no wonder it took 10 months+. If you started when she was ready it probably would have took only a week or so. Even "a couple of months" is quite long time for potty training.

I really don't understand why you've just accepted "oh, its a long process" rather than emphasising start at a correct time for your child. You would have been at the same result at the same time, but getting there would have been a whole lot easier.

Toilet training does not have to be a difficult and long winded thing at all, I think a lot of people overcomplicate!


Wednesday 13th of June 2012

Buy potty training pants!!!! SERIOUSLY wish someone had told me that BEFORE we spent 6 months in pullups!!! 2 weeks in cloth training pants- we loved the Blueberry brand and our son was potty trained...granted he was already "mostly" there!! But it made ALL the difference in the world....1 month later and we are still accident free!! Thank you God!! I can only handle ONE baby in diapers!!!


Wednesday 13th of June 2012

Watch them like a hawk or you'll end up cleaning the bathroom, rugs and child more times in one day...

I helped potty train my niece who got it by the time she was 15 months! Now I am potty training (fighting) my son and he is 3 years old and as tall as a 5 year old! Now imagine your kid yells in the middle of a prayer at an extended family gathering that he has poo'ed in the diaper. He won't be attending any until we're out of diapers and pull-ups.

(This too shall pass...)


Wednesday 13th of June 2012

Don't underestimate the power of peer pressure - if your child's friends are out of diapers, they will want to be too. If you are going first, find a friend who's child is also ready and team up. Also, outdoor naked time is awesome. If the weather is nice, let them go bottomless. The mess is reduced and it helps the child "sense" what's going on. I agree with the long-term WILL take! Then you can look forward to seeing every bathroom in every place you ever go!

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