A friend recently asked me to share all of my potty training insights. To be honest, I don’t have much to share. Potty training isn’t my forte.
Though I rejoice that 6 out of the 7 people in our family are potty trained, I’m not quite sure how it all came about. Each time, we tried the 3-Day Thing, and yet…
One of our kiddos took longer than others.
One was waaaay too distracted.
One was less interested.
One – one amazing child of ours – figured it all out within 24 hours of training and said, “I’m potty-trained, Mom.” Bam. Done.
Another one relapsed after 2 years of consistency.
SO, in my experience there is no pattern or formula for fail-safe, accident-free, blissful potty training.
I do, however, have 3 cosmos-shaking quotations about potty-training that I’m willing to share with you.
1. “Treat your child the way you’ll want to be treated when you’re old and they help YOU go to the potty.”
This is the golden rule of potty training.
A mother of 7 told me this one. I’m amazed that the concept has shaped how I think about the servant-part of parenting. When I consider that I’m modeling the way I’d like them to treat me, I’m kinder and much more patient, that’s for sure.
2. “There’s no turning back now, Mom.”
We aim for the focused 3-day Potty Training Thing, putting the child on the potty every 15- 20 minutes.
In the past, we’d transition to pull-ups. But when we were about to train our third child, we decided to go right to underwear instead of transitioning with pull-ups. That day, a good friend and experienced dad stopped by and heard about our Project of the Day. He said, “There’s no turning back now, Mom. Whatever you do, don’t go back to diapers or pull-ups.”
We took his advice and I’m glad we did. It required consistency and dogged determination, but the process seemed to go much more smoothly. Of course, there were plenty of accidents that I couldn’t bear to clean up (you know the kind) so, I threw some underwear away. We’ve shopped around for inexpensive packs of underwear. At the end of the day, we’ve thrown away and spent far less than if we had transitioned to pull-ups or gone back-and-forth.
3. “I count on my children having accidents until they are 4 or 5 years old.”
After a few years of frustration over occasional accidents – even 2 or 3 years after a child being potty-trained – a friend shrugged her shoulders and told me that she counts on her kids having accidents even when they are 4 or 5 years old. I breathed a sigh of relief to learn that I’m not alone! She told me that she keeps a change of clothes in the car and doesn’t make a big deal about it when it happens. Now I do that, too.
This mentality was a game changer for me.
Being prepared for accidents helps me to extend grace to my child as well as to myself. We’re not shocked. We’re not angry. We just clean it up. No big deal.
I haven’t tracked the data scientifically or anything, but I’m certain that my kids have far fewer accidents now that I’m prepared and relaxed. Wonders!
So, there you have it, all I know about potty training in 3 simple quotes: “don’t turn back”, “prepare for accidents”, and “treat your child with dignity”.
What about you? What do you know about potty training?