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I know you may not believe this, but you can potty train your kid without going crazy. With some clear expectations, patience, the right tools and boundaries you can have your toddler out of diapers in no time. Well, ‘no time’ is relative. For me, ‘no time’ is about a month, maybe two (or three). Is there ever a reason to rush these things anyway? Sure changing diapers for five years straight is not something anyone looks forward to, but every kid is different. And the internet lies because potty training a kid in three days is BS. All that noise is just clickbait headlines.
Since we are on our second kid and we are both in our md 40s, I feel like a lot of pressure is lifted. Most of our friends have kids who are graduating high school or college or are even having their own kids already. We started our family really late – having our daughter in our early 30s and our son in our early 40s. Aside from being too tired to pay attention to what other parents are doing, we just don’t care. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to not give a shit about keeping up with your friends, especially when it comes to parenting. Honestly, I didn’t even think about introducing potty training to our son until my BFF texted me pictures of the cute little potty she got for her son who is a whole year younger than mine. Not that I was trying to keep up, I just realized we had been kind of lazy about the whole thing and it was time to get moving.
Define success first
Like I said before, if you think you can potty train your kid in three days or less, by all means give it a whirl. But really – why do this to yourself or your kid? Is this a race? Are you going to get some shiny gold medal for getting your kid out of diapers in a weekend? I bet you can buy one off of Amazon if you want, probably. But why? This just sounds like a terrible way to spend your weekend.
Rather than racing to the finish line because some mommy blogger or pretty Pinterest infographic said you could, I recommend setting your won expectations for success. For me, summer is coming and diapers are hot (and also expensive) so I want my little dude to be comfortable. Hubby and I set no real deadline, but we did take tons of underwear and naptime pull-ups to daycare one Monday and told his teacher we were game to start the process. Our goal is to have him used to the routine and dry all day before pre-school starts, so about three months from start to finish. That’s right, three months. Not three days. We aren’t trying to prove anything here.
Just a little patience
Axl Rose said it best, all it takes is patience. Ooooh yeah. My first foray into potty training taught me that patience is key to success. This shouldn’t be a stressful process for parents or children. The more you force things, the more that ornery toddler will fight you. If you don’t believe me, by all means make it painful and see what happens. Ha! But seriously, you should make this easy and routine. Have them go to the bathroom with you so they can see even mommy and daddy go potty. Take them first thing in the morning, every hour or so throughout the day and right before bed. Ask them if they have to go if they start pulling at their pants or squirming too much. It should be a routine, not a battle.
Even with accidents (which will happen), stay calm, don’t shame and just work swiftly to remedy the situation. When accidents happen, it is a great time to reinforce the plan and how going potty works. You can even sit your kid down on the potty after an accident and see if they need to finish. It’s all good. Just keep repeating that – it’s all good.
The right tools are key
There are a few tools that are really useful to help potty train your kid. Invest in tons of cute underwear that they will want to wear. You have no idea how excited a kid can get over PJ Masks on their underwear. We tell our little guy they are super hero pants. It works. We also got small potty seats and step stools for all of the bathrooms in the house. He can climb up and go any time he needs to. We got some pull-ups for car rides and longer excursions because nobody wants to deal with a kid peeing in the cart at Costco. Finally, we still have some diapers for nap time and bed time. Until he stays dry consistently for many, many days, this will be our routine.
That’s it. We didn’t get candy or reward charts or calendars or presents for going potty. We just made it an integrated part of our daily routines. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy and definitely not Instagram worthy.
Even toddlers need boundaries
Speaking of Instagram worthy – potty training should be a private process. Would you want your mom spamming pictures of you pooping on social media? I mean, maybe you would, but that’s just weird. Our kids grow up to be tweens and teens who’s friends will creep social media and discover these photos and I can assure you their intentions won’t be pure. So put the iPhone down and let your kid poop without the paparazzi. Also, I don’t want to see pictures of your kids pooping and it’s really all about me anyway. Kidding. Sort of.
I hope this helps you get your little one on the potty train with less stress. Remember, this shouldn’t be a competition or frustrating process for your family. It’s a ritual we all participate in. Make it routine, be calm, get your expectations straight and stock up on cute underwear. You’ll be diaper free in no time, which is like three months, remember?