Long gone are my diapering days. I remember the day I realized that I could get rid off all my cloth diapers and stop buying pull-ups. It was a glorious day, I ceremoniously got rid of it all and followed up with a nice bottle of wine.
Hey, I earned it.
Three kids and five solid years of diapering later I was more than ready to move on from that stage of life. While I did accomplish the awesome task of potty training three kids, I am still no expert.
My first child was so easy to potty train, in fact, she was completely potty trained (no night diapers, no accidents while out…) by her 2nd birthday. That was mind-blowing to me and of course, I thought I was hot mom stuff.
Nothing says “awesome mom” quite like a potty trained baby (*sarcastic snicker*).
When I started training my next child I got a reality check. Even though I did all the same things with her, she just wouldn’t do it. Didn’t want to, had no interest what so ever and it turned in to a battle of the wills.
I don’t know who was being more childish…me or my toddler. Oh, wait! Me! I was definitely the childish one in this situation.
How to Potty Train a Toddler
Don’t be like me! Wait until your child is showing signs of readiness!
I know this is really annoying advice. When I was a young, new mom that was the last thing that I wanted to hear. Everyone was saying, “Oh, just enjoy your toddler, she will be potty trained before you know it.”
It drove me NUTS when people would say this to me! But it was sound advice I wish I would have heeded early on. After our own potty training fiasco, I now know the wisdom that these veteran moms were trying to impart.
Some common readiness signs are:
- asking to use potty or to wear undies
- going longer between changes
- asks to be changed
- tries to change themselves
- hiding/showing embarrassment
- waking up after a full nights sleep with a dry diaper
Take my word for it, you will save yourself a lot of misery if you just wait until they are ready.
Speaking of readiness, make sure YOU are ready, Mom.
I don’t think new moms consider this much, I know I didn’t. Potty training is a ton of work and I mean real W-O-R-K.
You will be running to the bathroom every 15 minutes or so, to begin with, and there will be more laundry to do.
Lots and lots of laundry.
Then there are the accidents.
There will be accidents.
Lots of big, gross accidents that you will have to clean up. Mentally prepare yourself for that.
One of my worst potty training memories is scrubbing my carpets from one of these epic accidents while I had a stomach bug…looking back I’m not sure how I got through that without spontaneously combusting.
Make sure that you have set aside a week or so to focus on potty training. Can’t devote an entire week? Maybe try to start potty training on a long holiday weekend if you aren’t traveling. Added bonus: Your spouse will likely be home to share the workload!
Now that I have prepared you for the accidents I will give you another (almost just as awful) reality check.
If you have another small child, crawling infant or a dog secure them in a safe spot BEFORE you run to get your supplies to clean up the aforementioned accidents!
I will spare you the horrendous details, certainly, that last sentence paints a pretty good picture.
Grossed out? Yeah me too. Which leads to my next tip…
Invest in a good carpet cleaner and disposable cleaning supplies.
You will feel a whole lot better letting your babies on the carpet again after a monster potty training accident if you are able to give it a good shampoo.
Also, I know we are all out to save the planet, but now is not the time to be “green.” All my friends refer to me as crunchy. I do my best to buy reusable supplies and to reduce our waste (remember, I was a cloth diaperer).
But when it comes to these types of accidents don’t fret over a few rolls of paper towels and a canister of Clorox wipes.
Remember when I said potty training is a lot of work? Yeah, don’t add to your workload. Don’t make your life harder than it has to be. If your child is ready and you are consistent in your potty training efforts this time will be rather short-lived.
A note on potty training boys.
I honestly had no idea how fast my bathrooms would turn into a cesspool of pee-stink after our son was potty trained. When you hear moms joke about “little boy bathroom smell” they aren’t kidding!
There are a few things you can do to keep your bathrooms clean and smelling fresh.
First, remove anything that is absorbent or that could otherwise collect pee in it from around your toilet. It takes a while for little boys to perfect their aim and even then, sometimes they don’t pay attention to what is pointing where.
Second, teach your son to clean off the toilet from the get-go. Every time he goes remind him to check for pee that didn’t make it into the potty and have him wipe it off.
Eventually, it becomes a habit and you will have all your friends in awe when your son comes to visit and he leaves their bathroom remarkably clean.
Last, do a daily, quick once-over in the bathroom to keep it fresh between heavy cleanings. On heavy cleaning days don’t forget to clean the walls around the toilet!
If you are a new mom I hope I didn’t scare you or gross you out too much! I’m just trying to convey the realities of potty training that I learned the hard way while also imparting a little humor in an otherwise humorless situation. If you are a well-seasoned mom who has likely been through these things I hope you were able to laugh along with me.