A Seasoned Mom Reveals Potty Training Secrets

9:00 AM

Who knew we could find such joy in something as simple as our child actually peeing on the toilet. We feel such pride and excitement the first time we hear that wonderful “tinkling” sound! We dance, sing songs, throw parties! (Ok well I’ve never thrown a party but I have definitely done the other two!) I was so excited with my last child she just looked at me and said, “Mom STOP!” ha-ha ok sorry!

After ten years and five kids, we are finally on the road to diaper freedom!! Can you imagine the exhilaration?? But let’s be honest here, potty training is one of the most frustrating things you will deal with as a parent. (Maybe not THE most frustrating, but it’s pretty darn close!) Why do they even call it potty “training”, I don’t see any training going on at all. It comes down to me chasing a naked kid around the house, crazy amounts of peed on and pooped on laundry and me bribing my child to PLEASE JUST GO ON THE TOILET ALREADY!!!! There are hundreds of books and articles on how to potty train your child, and I’m sure they are all full of useless information. (Oh sorry I mean useful information) But the truth that I’ve found after five children is......there is no secret to potty training; there is no perfect formula. What worked for my boys didn’t work for my girls and honestly every child was different. I think it would be more accurate to say that they train us, because they make sure you know what works for them.

My most recent potty training experience started last year when our almost two-year-old daughter began showing interest in the "potty". I thought, YES! Let’s do this! Well the more I pushed the more frustrated she became until she was begging me to just put a diaper on her. Let me give you a word of advice; Just because they are interested in the potty, does NOT mean they are ready to be potty trained. So I took a step back and decided….not yet. This is the biggest hurdle you will get over, Is my child ready? Mine wasn’t. I could have just kept pushing, and maybe that’s what works for a lot of people. But for me, it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth the tears, frustration and pee covered carpets. I mean, I still have pee covered carpets but that’s besides the point.
So we waited, and then tried again. Nope, still not ready! So I waited again….

Fast forward to about five months later and she was waking me up with a pair of underwear in her hands saying, “Mommy, Abby underwear.” It was a Sunday and I wasn’t so sure about taking her to church in underwear, but she was very persistent. “NO mommy, Abby wear underwear!” OK, what can it hurt? Let me tell you, she totally surprised me! She didn’t have an accident until much later after a full day of church, swimming and playing! Ok! NOW she was ready!

Of course there were still plenty of frustrating moments; like standing in the middle of the grocery store in a puddle of my toddler’s pee…Seriously??? I rush her to the bath room, look in my purse, only to realize that I had left her clothes in the car!! WHAT?? NO!!! Thank God I had a random diaper and I didn’t get too many dirty looks for carrying my kid around half naked. Hey! You do what you gotta do people! At least it was just pee, I’ve had some bad poop experiences as well. And THAT is why I don’t go anywhere without wipes. Ever.
Are we fully there yet? Not at all, but she is doing better every day. And I see that sparkle in her eyes, how proud she is of herself when she gets it right. No matter how much poop and pee I have to clean up, that little face makes it all worth it!

Although every child was different, here are a few things that helped me get through my many potty training experiences.
1.Let your child tell you when they are ready. If they show interest, then give it a try! You will be able to tell very quickly if it’s going to stick or not.

2.When they are ready, don’t go anywhere without tons of clean underwear, clothes and lots of wipes! Seriously, ALWAYS carry wipes! You just never know.

3.Praise them when they do it right. It doesn’t have to be a bribe or a reward, even just a high five or a “Good job!!” makes a huge difference.

4.Don't make them feel bad when they get it wrong. In my frustration I’ve definitely failed at this one. Tell me if this sounds familiar.... 

"Why??? Why can't you just go in the potty? Are you kidding me? You just peed your pants again?? Why are you doing this to me??" 

Usually I calm myself down by reminding myself, "What are you, two or something?" 
Yes she is only two, she is doing the best she can! So just clean it up, give them a kiss and say, "It's ok, we'll do better next time."  

And that leads me to....

5. Above all, don’t freak out! It will be over before you know it. ;)

I know you’re probably thinking, “What if I have that one kid that wears diapers until they’re five??? What if they never get this???” I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. Some kids take longer than others but they will be out of diapers eventually, I promise! You can trust me on this one.

And when it’s all over, when you are finally free of diapers and wipes you will literally dance for joy! But give it about a year or two and you will be longing to get those days back.
Because the hardest thing about this stage is realizing that it means my baby is no longer a baby. Honestly with my other children I was excited and ready for the next phase, but with this one….I’m not rushing a thing! No matter how hard this phase is at times, it goes by way to quickly for me to wish it gone.

There will come a day when I will no longer have to wipe butts and clean up poop. When my house will no longer smell of weirdness and I won’t step in something wet and know that it’s probably pee. But it is not this day!!!

I will embrace this craziness that is life, I will take on this potty training season with lots of wipes, carpet cleaner, Clorox and laundry soap. Here’s to diaper freedom!

Alexis is a happy mom of five beautiful children. She has been married for nearly 13 years. I am fairly new to blogging but have always enjoyed writing whether it be poems, songs or merely journaling. My desire is to encourage other moms to find the joy in all of the diapers toys and messes, and to share in the struggles we all face in parenting. Beyond raising children, my other passions include singing/songwriting and being a present member of our local church and community. 
You can find Alexis at diaperstoysandmessyjoy.wordpress.com and on Facebook  . 

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  1. I've got this ALL to come with my daughter! Haven't even thought about it yet although will do in the next few months!!

  2. Potty training is like the toughest task for me in my parenting journey till now. My baby does not like to sit on the potty at all. Even if she sits, she simply keeps sitting & does not do potty. Uff! Such a big headache. I will follow your methods & see. I found another useful blog like yours for potty training. Here it is - https://www.tinystep.in/blog/9-steps-to-potty-training-your-toddler