When my husband and I first brought our daughter home from the hospital, I knew things wouldn’t always be easy, but I never in a million years thought sleep training and potty training would cause me so much anxiety and heartache.
Sleep training ended up being a 11-month affair filled with more chocolate and ice cream than my hips and thighs care to remember, and while I was sure I had paid my dues and wouldn’t experience another parenting nightmare like that until the teenage years hit (bahahahahaha!), potty training my daughter has proven to be the second most difficult thing I’ve ever accomplished in my entire life.
I’m not kidding.
We’ve gone from a year of refusing to even LOOK at a toilet to 6+ weeks of refusing to empty our bowels, and while I feel like a better mother for all I have learned along the way, I really wish someone had given me honest, practical potty training tips when I was knee-deep in all of our struggles.
The good news is that I’m all about making the lives of other parents easier, and since I know there is another poor soul out there who is trying to figure out how to get her potty-refusing child to use the toilet, I decided to share 8 of my best potty training tips.
1. WAIT UNTIL SHE’S READY
When I was gearing up to potty train my daughter, I asked several of my mom friends for advice, and I was surprised at how many of them told me to wait until she was REALLY ready to ditch the diapers. Most of them had pushed potty training on their first born children too soon and swore up and down they would never do that again as the process took way longer than it should have, and resulted in more accidents (and tears!) than was really necessary. As it turns out, this was one of the BEST pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever been given as it took less than 2 days for my daughter to master the task of peeing in the potty once we got serious about the whole thing. I’m so proud of her!
2. CHOOSE A DATE…TOGETHER
When I felt my daughter was both physically and emotionally ready to say goodbye to diapers, I made a big deal of taking her out to buy a calendar so we could choose a date that we would start potty training. I gave her a 3-month period from which to choose, and even though she picked a date as far in the future as possible, she felt empowered by making the decision herself, which went a long way in making the process a success.
3. MAKE IT FUN
As potty training day approached, I set aside an afternoon to take my daughter out to buy new underpants and a potty training seat, and then the 2 of us went to our favorite coffee shop for a treat to celebrate. It was such a small thing to do, but the excitement in that child’s eyes when she helped me throw her new SpongeBob and Frozen underpants in the washing machine was PRICELESS.
4. USE REWARDS WISELY
I’ve often heard of parents rewarding their kids for using the potty with an M&M or a sticker, and while this sounds great in theory, my previous (half-hearted) attempt at potty training proved this system completely overshadowed the task at hand because my daughter became more concerned with the reward than learning how to use the potty. So when we became really serious about potty training, I completely ditched the rewards as I felt using the toilet, feeling proud of herself, and showing off her cool underpants to her teachers at school was reward enough. With that said, I am all about offering incentives when we’re in a sticky situation and I desperately need my daughter to use a public bathroom (i.e. at the airport before boarding a flight so I can avoid taking her into a disgusting airplane bathroom by myself!).
5. BE PREPARED FOR SET BACKS
When I first started potty training my daughter, I thought the best thing to do would be to throw the diapers away altogether, but then she started holding her bowels. And even though I was quick to reassure her and offer her a diaper when I knew she needed to go, the damage was already done and it took SIX WEEKS of misery to get her back on track. Her tummy hurt all the time, she started fussing at bedtime and waking up in the night, she clung to my legs all day…it was horrendous. But with a little patience and extra attention, we finally got through it.
6. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TAKE A BREAK
While my daughter was wrestling with her fear of pooping, our pediatrician suggested we go back to diapers until we got things sorted out, and while I was devastated for her after all the work she had put into potty training, taking a break ended up being a smart move. Not only did it completely take the pressure off of both of us, but it also gave us a chance to come up with a way to make potty training less scary for her. We ended up agreeing that we would put a diaper on every time she needs to poo, and while it’s not ideal (what happens when she starts Kindergarten in the fall???), I’m just happy she’s pooping again!
7. TREAD CAREFULLY IN PUBLIC BATHROOMS
One of my friends was lucky enough to toilet train her daughter when she was only 18-months-old, but after taking her to use a public toilet shortly after her second birthday and the toilet flushed by itself while her daughter was still sitting on top of it, the poor kid was so scared she refused to sit on another toilet FOR A YEAR. I’m not kidding. So before you place your little one on an automatic-flush toilet, make sure to put something (anything!) in front of the sensor!
8. STOCK UP ON KANDOO FLUSHABLE WIPES
In the past, when my friends with boys told me how gross the whole bathroom experience is (‘there’s pee everywhere!’), I always felt a bit smug that I have a girl. But the joke was on me, my friends, because even though my child sits down to pee, she can still make as big a mess as a boy. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but let’s just say our bathroom isn’t exactly pee-free. The good news is that, thanks to Kandoo Flushable Wipes, I can easily keep my daughter’t bottom clean AND take care of those little messes she likes to make at the same time.
Have you heard of Kandoo Flushable Wipes?
They clean up to 30% better than toilet paper (woo hoo!), the plastic dispenser is designed in such a way that they pop up with the push of a button (perfect for little hands!), and they are flushable and biodegradable (score!). I keep a dispenser in every bathroom in our home, and have a package in every single one of my purses, and I’m pretty sure I own every other Kandoo product on the market.
The foam soap is the perfect kids soap as it’s brightly colored to ensure your child knows when her hands are appropriately covered, it’s Dermatologist tested and doesn’t contain any parabens or SLS, and it contains Vitamin E and Natural Fruit Extracts to moisturize your child’s hands while also cleaning them.
The kids bubble bath creates the BEST bubbles ever, and it’s hypoallergenic, contains natural moisturizers, and is specially formulated for kids with sensitive skin (like my daughter!).
And let’s not forget about the lightly-scented, tear-free girls detangler that makes it possible for me to brush through my daughter’s crazy, curly hair without her screaming her head off each morning.
What can I say?
We love Kandoo!
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