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

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. 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?