I’ve come to learn that no matter how much of a bomb a$$ mom you try to be, something definitely will crack you wide open somewhere along this journey. For some women it was a trimester of pregnancy (or God forbid, all three); for others, lactation; and still for others colic, teething, sleep regression or any other stage of this bugged simulation called motherhood. For me, friend, it was potty-training.
I bought my son a potty chair when he was a year old because I thought he was showing signs of readiness (how ambitious of me), then I proceeded to drive myself bat💩 crazy for the next two years trying to get him to use it. In my audacious attempt to get him out of diapers as soon as possible, I suffered through several completely avoidable meltdowns and accidents.
But as Mariah Carey once said, ‘I didn’t know nothin’, I was stupid, I was foolish, I lying to myself!’
It was actually only a few weeks before my son’s third birthday that we finally saw a bathroom breakthrough. By that time I had read it all, tried it all, and was just about to completely abort the mission and let him wear diapers to college if he wanted to. How did I do it? I really didn’t. He did.
But to save you some of the trouble I went through, avoid these common mistakes that parents often make when trying to achieve potty-training success.
1. Setting your own timeline
In my defense, diapers are fricking expensive, man! From day one (when he was blasting through up to eight per day) I’ve been planning to hop on the earliest potty train and choo-choo straight out of Diaper District. As he got older, and I learned to pick up on his cues, I felt more confident and anxious for him to go on his own. I wanted him out of diapers by 18 months. Haha.
2. Compare with other kids
I read on the Internet that some kids are toilet trained at two, or even one, while others might go up to three or four years old before they had it down. Though I was warned that boys tend to take a longer time than girls, I assessed by comparison that so far he was ahead of the curve developmentally, so this should be a breeze. That unfounded expectation was the root of my frustration.
3. Trying every method you see online
Being a bushy-tailed first time mom, I read just about everything I could find, trying to get him out of diapers faster, and you bet there are plenty theories out there. I tried it all– from the three-day challenge, to bribing, altering his diet, scheduling potty time, and even doing silly dances everytime we managed to get even a drop of pee in the potty chair. I’m not saying one of these methods may not work for your child, but its best to just follow their lead in this department, because trying to speed up the process will just leave you broken and, well, broke.
3. Dropping your guard
Now by the time my son was two, he was going several hours dry before needing to to urinate, and was pooing at predictable times each day. He still didn’t communicate with me, but I thought I knew enough to let him roam around the house free willy. Most days it went well, but maaan did we have some bad days. I became the pee and poo patrol. I cleaned up yucky stuff from every imaginable surface (and remember boys have a built-on hose, so they can spray far and wide).
5. Losing your sh💩t
It really can feel like forever, especially when you feel deep down that your child is developmentally ready, but is just against the idea completely. Most times it’s really the tension we create for the child around the potty that causes them to be reluctant to use it anyway. Just take a step back and try not to think about it too much. Let nature ‘run’ it’s course. But of course, if you think something is definitely wrong, and you child has passed age three with no sign of progress, then you should probably tell you paediatrician about it at the next visit.
It’s not the most fun part of parenting, that’s for sure, but this too shall pass. I can’t tell you what formula might do the trick for your child, but I can tell you that if you follow these tips, it won’t be such a sh💩tty experience. Soldier on!