There are so many amazing aspects to being a parent and it is truly the most rewarding job in the world. The cuddles, the smiles, the giggles, and all of the fun times that cause these reactions are just perfect. These are memories that are simply unforgettable to a mother. There are many "firsts", such as the time that baby crawls for the first time, says his first word, along with the first time that the child finally goes on the potty.
Each successful achievement for a child is a proud moment for their parents as well as being delighted as a parent for teaching them well. There are, of course down times, tears and tantrums but they are all worth it. One time in parenting that many often dread or even try to avoid for as long as possible is potty training.
It may be because it can be a messy task or it may be because it disrupts routine, whatever the reason potty training can be stressful and not one of our favorite things that must be taught to a child. It’s not easy and one method won’t work for every child, which leads to this article as we have gathered information from 20 mothers on how they got through the struggle that is potty training. Hopefully, this will have some helpful tips for those parents who are finding potty training particularly frustrating.
20 All The Rewards They Want
We all deserve to be awarded for our achievements, it is an amazing feeling when you receive a prize for something that you did well. It also gives you extra motivation to reach another goal. And so, rewards are often something parents implement when potty training their children.
One mother found that rewarding their child for each round on the potty encouraged them until they were out of nappies. "My son had no interest in the potty but as soon as I put in place a reward system he was more than willing to give the potty a go. Each time he would have a go on the potty I would give him a prize.”
19 Wet The Potty
Potty training can be a messy ordeal. Sometimes children miss the potty meaning the cleaning up of both yourself and your child can be one big task. But an experienced Mother I spoke to came up with an idea to help keep one aspect of potty training less messy.
"Place some water at the bottom of the potty- this way when your child does a number two and you have to move it from potty to toilet there is no need to get down and dirty. If the water is in the bottom of the potty already you simply tip the mess into the toilet and just give the empty potty a quick clean; done!"
18 Cold Turkey
For many years before pull-ups were invented the way you would potty train would be to go 'cold turkey'. Meaning that parents would just take away nappies completely and put their child in pants. Nowadays some parents don’t like the 'cold turkey' option but there are still many mothers who do like this method of potty training.
"Taking nappies away and putting my daughter straight into pants was the best option for us. Yes, it was messy and there was a lot of accidents but after three days she was potty trained with no more nappies or accidents. Would recommend giving this a go," one mother shared her experience on potty training 'cold turkey'.
17 Big Toilet
"The potty was a waste of time; my daughter was afraid of the potty but allowing her to use the toilet encouraged her and within a week she was out of nappies. I would recommend getting a child's toilet seat and using that instead of a potty," shared one mom about her potty training experience.
Many mothers would agree with this way of potty training. A toilet has always been in the house and is recognizable to, a child unlike a potty. So, getting a toilet seat insert may be a good option for your child if they are frightened or uncomfortable using a standard potty. This also skips the step of moving from potty to toilet so that is obviously a big plus.
16 Make It A Game
Who doesn't like playing a game? They evolve as we get older but there is no question that games are something that everyone enjoys. Why not try and make a game out of potty training for your little one.
A fellow mother told me: "Listening for the pee was always a good game to play when I was potty training my child. A lot of the time she would get bored sitting on the potty but when I made a game out of it she was all for it. I used to tell her that we had to be very quiet and see who could hear the pee first. Silly but that works with children."
15 Go Anywhere
Potty training in the house is one thing but being out of the house is a whole other ordeal. Children, especially children who are just going through potty training, always seem to be bursting for the toilet when there isn’t one around. So instead of having an unfortunate accident, investing in a portable potty may be a great option.
Another mom shared with me: “My son was devastated when he had an accident when we were out in public, it really knocked his confidence when it came to potty training. Investing in a portable potty was the best thing I could have done for him. No need to worry about where the toilets are anymore.”
14 Lead By Example
As we all know children mimic a lot of what their parents do and this is no different when it comes to potty training. The bathroom is a private time and you may find it frustrating that your toddler wants to follow you to the bathroom but this is leading by example. It may be strange your child might actually feel inspired to copy you if they see you use the toilet. It can help them get over the fear of going in a potty.
This worked very well for one mother, “My little girl always wanted to come to the bathroom with me and I would let her. One day she told me she needed to use the toilet and that was it.”
13 Lots Of Praise And Cuddles
Forget the prizes or rewards and focus on what all children really need; praise. Children love when you praise them and tell them what a good job they are doing especially when it comes to potty training. Even just sitting on the potty can be hard for a child so make sure you give them a big hug after and tell them how proud you are.
“Praise works wonders and the more praise you give the more they want to use the potty. If my son would just sit on the potty I would make a song and a dance about it. I wanted him to know how well he was doing,” expressed another Mom.
12 Waterproof Is Your Friend
Night time is the hardest time when it comes to potty training for a variety of reasons; everyone is tired, it is harder for a child to control their bladder while they are asleep and when accidents do happen it disrupts the whole routine. There is something however that can help make night time potty training that much easier.
This Mom swears by waterproof mattress covers for during the night when potty training, “Before you even think about potty training I would advise getting a waterproof mattress cover. It is hard for everyone being woken up during the night and then changing bedding is a hassle. Having a waterproof cover saves a lot of time.”
11 Ditch The Cute Outfits
What toddler doesn’t like to strip off all their clothes (including their nappy) and run around? Although as parents we try to stop this when it comes to potty training maybe allowing your toddler to be bare for a while isn’t the worst thing ever.
A mom I chatted with suggested encouraging the little one to use the potty while walking around bare before bath and bedtime. She shared her story: “I left the potty in the living room and while preparing my son's bath I would let him walk around naked. Without the obstruction of clothes, he was happy hopping on and off the potty”.
10 Forget Time And Age
Everyone has an opinion when it comes to parenting a child and what are the right and wrong ways to do so. This includes potty training. For example, try not to stress about what the age your child should be and the amount of time it should take. It is hard as a parent to not be affected by these opinions especially if you are having a tough time with it.
From the conversations I have had with mothers, I found that a major bit of advice stood out among all of them. Each child is different and will do things in their own time. If you stress, that will rub off on them, therefore, prolonging the potty training. Be positive.
9 Routine Is Everything
Routine, routine, routine! Routine is everything when it comes to raising a child and for the mother's sanity. Timing naps and bedtime perfectly, knowing what time of day they will be hungry and so on. This all comes down to structure and routine meaning the key to potty training is to put it into their routine making it an easier transition for them.
A mother on Parents.com had a very interesting experience when it came to putting potty training into the routine. In the article, she stated, “The amazing teachers at his day-care did the hard stuff. Putting him on the toilet every 20 minutes. Without fail! We just followed their lead at home.”
8 White Lies
We try to teach our children good morals. One of these morals being to not tell lies, but as parents, we know best and what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Telling white lies occasionally is something many of us parents often do to help, protect or please our innocent children. Potty training may be one of those times where you choose to tell a white lie but only to encourage.
On Parents.com I found an interesting story: “I told him that when we flush, the poop goes out to sea to feed the fish- so if he didn’t go the poor little fish wouldn’t have anything to eat”.
7 No Pressure
We all want our children to do their best and to succeed. To help them towards this as parents we try to motivate our children and this is also involved in potty training. There is however too much pressure you can put on children that will deter them from their end goal.
A mother explained to me: “I wanted my son to be potty trained so bad- all his friends were already out of nappies. I thought I was encouraging him but in fact I was making potty training scary and stressful. Once I realized this and stopped putting the pressure on him so heavy, he was potty trained in no time.”
6 Involve The Favorites
My daughter is in love with the film ‘Moana’ and anything to do with it. She would most definitely be very excited if I got her a new toy featuring a character from the film which can also be tied into potty training- my daughter is not quite at that age yet.
Kids have favorite books, shows, and movies so when potty training if you can get them toilet paper, a potty or any kind of potty training implement with their favorite character on it, your child I am sure will be more than pleased. The positive feeling they have with the character should then transfer into potty training, making the whole transition more inviting.
5 A Countdown To A Major Reward
As an adult, counting down to an event can be very exciting and build your anticipation, the same goes for your child. To get your child to look forward to trying the potty you could do a countdown for them. Once again, this will make the move from nappies to toilet an easier transition and less of a shock to their little minds.
One mother I spoke to had a great idea: “I plan to make a little train countdown, where each day until we try the potty my son and I will move the train a bit further down the track until it reaches its destination- potty training day! We will see if it works!”
4 Choices, Choices
It is our right to make our own decisions and have choices, so of course, we want to do this for our children. Independence and freedom is often something we see that young children want, they don’t like it when you try and help them or tell them they can’t do something. As such, why not try and steer away from confrontation and let them take the wheel when it comes to potty training?
“I bought a potty to let my daughter try but also bought a toilet insert and a step so she could get to it. I gave her the choice to use the toilet or potty,” yet another mom revealed during my survey.
3 Discuss With Other Mommies
Potty training is a strange transition for a toddler which can make them frustrated therefore making for a very stressed mother. But there is strength in numbers and confiding and discussing issues with your fellow parents can be a big help.
“Whenever I feel I am doubting my ability as a mother or need some advice I always ask my friends who are also mothers for help. Even if something didn’t work for their child it may work for mine and if not it is still helpful to get reassurance that you are doing a good job. That’s what got me through the potty-training stage,” shared another mom.
2 Grown Up Pants
One last entry now, this one we have slightly touched on already- pants! When deciding to go from nappies to pants there are a few things to remember. Make sure your child is comfortable in the pants but also try and get a character from a TV show, book, or film that they recognize on the pants. If you manage to do this, your child will be so pleased and more likely to actively use the potty or toilet because they will not want to ruin their new favorite pants.
“My son sat on the toilet for ages just to make sure he did not pee in his new Thomas pants.” One mother stated humorously.
1 Sit Then Stand - A Tip For Boys
“When a child is learning, you want to keep the number of variables that he needs to think about to a minimum. Deciding whether to sit or stand can cause him to hesitate for a few seconds- and those seconds can be crucial.” Dr. Maureen Brian shared on Parents.com.
What she was referencing to was the idea of teaching a boy to first sit down to go to the toilet instead of immediately introducing him to standing up like most boys and men do. As your son grows he can always learn this later but in the early stages of potty training it is best to keep everything as simple and easy as possible.
References: Facebook Survery and Parents.com.