Potty training in 3 days!
Did I catch your attention?! Can it really be done?
Or at least not usually. Sorry to trick you. See I did a search of potty training articles and the titles were all ones like I gave this post. Other ones were “Potty Training Basics,” “5 Steps to Easy Potty Training” or “Potty Training 101”. All promising that it can be easy and effortless. And while there are good things to know that will help you, it will still take time (lots of it) and energy (lots of it). Even if they catch on quickly to peeing in the potty, there is still helping them with their clothes, wiping them and cleaning up accidents, many accidents. Usually at inconvenient times. So what can I tell you to help make this necessary teaching task bearable?
I’ve potty trained 4 kids and I still felt like I needed to do research before writing this article! Each child was so different and each experience was unique that I had a hard time figuring out what advice to give to moms.
So I decided to ask a core of trusted Selah leaders for their collective wisdom. I asked them what advice they would share with moms who had reached this pivotal moment in their motherhood journey. I should have asked them this years ago! Their advice can be summarized with this word: “chill”. And with that one word, I no longer felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. They all agreed that the books and blogs don’t tell the truth! It’s a lot more work than 3 short days or 3 easy steps.
That said though, we did have a good discussion as leaders as to common things that helped us survive:
1. Wait until your child is ready. If you try to start too soon, it will only end up in frustration. Maybe you’ll be able to parent-train them, meaning you know when they are about to pee or poop and you can rush them to the potty before they go in their diaper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they are doing. If you wait until they are ready, things will go much better. If you wait long enough, they might even train themselves.
One mom shared that she had tried to train her son but gave up because he stubbornly refused to go on the potty. Then one day while she was getting him dressed for the morning he started running around with his siblings. All of a sudden he had to pee but did not have a diaper on. So, he ran to the potty and peed! And with that he was trained.
2. Block off time. Make sure that whenever you do decide to start that you have lots of time to be available to your child. Scheduling aside a week to be at home for most, if not all of the week, is a really good idea.
3. Use rewards. Celebrate successes, even attempts, at the beginning. Use small things like mini-marshmallows, chocolate chips, nickels, or whatever motivates your child. Reward yourself too! It’s going to take lots of energy and enthusiasm on your part so go ahead and treat yourself for your effort.
4. Be consistent. Decide what your strategy will be and stick to it so your child doesn’t get confused. If it doesn’t work, take a break and come back again with a different strategy. Take them to the potty at regular, consistent times: first thing in the morning, before all snacks and meals, before leaving to go somewhere and before sleep times.
5. Make it fun! Have special books or a short video for them while they are sitting on the potty.
6. Take breaks. If your child is not catching on or either of you are getting frustrated, it’s okay to take a break or pull back for a while.
7. Expect and be prepared for accidents! It’s easy to feel upset when these happen because ‘they should know better’. But actually they are still really little and this is a big skill. They’ve spent 2 to 3 years peeing in their pants and now we’re telling them not to, so it’s going to take some time to form a habit.
8. Bedwetting is normal. Not all kids are automatically night trained at the same time that they are day trained. We all have a chemical in the brain that helps us control our urine production during the night. We are not born with this chemical and until it kicks in waking them up at night, stopping evening liquids or disciplining won’t help.
9. Pray! Yes, God can give you strategies for potty training too!!
10. Have hope. As one Selah mom said, “Just remember, they won’t be wearing diapers when they’re 18.”