March 22, 2015

Mommyhood: Potty Training Mistakes and Victories


Jonathan turned two years old about a month ago and I would say we have completed his potty training right around then. To be honest, I was a bit optimist starting the process at 9 months old but if I have been a little more persistent, I would have had him (and myself) trained out of diapers earlier.

Long story short we did it and I couldn't be happier. But, do accidents still happen? Yes. Do I forget to take him to the bathroom at a restaurant and he tells me too late that he has to go, while I don't have a change of clothes? Yes. Does he not ask to go to the bathroom while out at a birthday party with his aunt? Yes. But I consider them small mishaps because most of the time he asks to go (sometimes annoyingly too many times). I'm ecstatic that we are done with potty training before the baby arrives because changing two diapers would just be exhausting. Well, here's what I learned from our process.


Be Consistent. Once you decided to start potty training, don't look back. Be consistent in your approach (whether using training ring or potty) and let the child know what is expected of him.  If you start with pull ups, don't go back to diapers; and the same if you put him straight into underwear don't go back to pull ups. It's very confusing for the child when things get switched back and forth. Do not back down when the going gets tough and it seems like he is not getting it. Potty training takes time. Stick to your guns. Do not for one second think they don't understand what's going on - they very well do, and they very well know how to push your buttons.

Pay Attention. Potty training is as much parent training as it is toddler training. Take him/her to the bathroom around the clock - first every 30-45 minutes (yes it will seem like that's all you do), then with longer breaks in between. Learn to recognize the signs of needing to go to the bathroom (squatting is one of them) and immediately take them there. It's as much learning of their body as it is getting used to the routine. Once he gets the hang of it and learns the routine, he will ask.

Start Early. Depending on where you are in the world, early may be 6 months or 2.5 years. United States boasts the latest potty training age, to no surprise of mine. Start as soon as you can tell that the child is hiding when he needs to relief themselves. That means they are fully aware that it's not socially acceptable behavior and are ready to tackle the task. If left to their own devices, children would not potty train at all. Honestly, think about it. There is no magical age at which they decide to use self control and discipline in any area, so why this? Don't read into all the babble out there because if you wait around they will never 'be ready'. Try this parenting book that will completely change (or encourage) your parenting view and make you question the modern day advice.

Teach. He may have seen you use the potty a million times but he doesn't know everything that goes into it. From wiping clean to washing hands and drying, it's all very new. Repeat and explain the steps, because they will forget the, very often. Make sure he develops healthy hygiene habits and knows that he needs to wash his hands and to tell other people when he's out of the house. Potty training is a teaching process, therefore you must have patience.


Give In. Do not give into their cries or withholding strikes. Jonathan would cry when he didn't want to sit on the potty, but he got used to it. I would just sit him on the toilet and leave the room. If he got off, I would come back and put him back on without a word. Eventually he got the point that I'm not going to waste my energy yelling or arguing, he's simply going to learn to sit. It's all a battle for control and you are in for a big one. Who's going to be in charge here? Who's going to win this time? Are you going to give in? They are just waiting for the right time to sound the victory cry. I know, I'm making it sound a little bit harsh but that's just how it is.

Use Bribery because they will expect it, and have no other motivation. Plus, do you want to teach him so early on that he will get something in return for obeying? I don't think so. Plus he is going to expect it outside of toilet training as well. It's a slippery slope which you don't want to start on. Of course, you can reward him for a good day and give an extra treat but don't make it 'this for that'.

Give Up. It's going to get tough and some days you will want to cry and throw your hands in the air. And it's not going to be your last time. Raising children is hard work - first it's potty training, then it's learning the alphabet, then it's the multiplication table and than it's who they are going to be friends with. It's never easy. Tell yourself that it's all a process and he will mess up, he will push your buttons, he will try every rule in the book to get away with but you must persevere. One day, when he will go without accident, then two, then a week and it will be so worth it. Let's face it, diapers are not free and you could use that cash for a pedicure. Just sayin.

Now that I completely scared you, have you potty trained a child? Was it successful or completely failure at first?  Have you thought of how you are going to do it? What are your tips and tricks? I would love to hear from you mamas!

xo, Anna

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Potty Training Essentials


  1. You and your son are so adorable together!

  2. Anonymous23.3.15

    Aaaw so lovely

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  3. I need to start training my son. We attempted once and he was just not interested and I don't want to force him. I feel he may not want to at all. But I think he's ready. He says potty we sat him down but when we do he just says no no. I'll keep trying. This weekend we will be trying to train my son. He turns 23 months so I better get moving! LOL



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