As a parent potty training is one of the most difficult times. I am a mother of two children and definitely did everything wrong trying to potty train the first child. Let me tell you I read every article, talked to other parents, called my mom, and asked the pediatrician. Ultimately, I came to a few conclusions about the “best” way to potty train children.
1. Do not listen to other people
Parents love to brag about their 18-month-old, who is potty trained. I have come to find out that this is highly unlikely. Majority of children are not even ready to be potty trained until they are 2-3 years old. Yet, every child is different. Do not compare your situation to other people’s situations. This is when you will try to potty train and make the experience awful for yourself and the child.
2. The child has to be ready
This is extremely important. I started way too early with my first child. I decided that when she turned 2 it was time to start potty training. This caused a lot of frustration for my daughter and myself. We would try to potty train and she would flat out refuse to try. This was some of the most painful months of my life. Eventually, we gave up and decided to wait. When my daughter turned 3, she still wasn’t ready. I believe this was from our negative experience with the first attempt. About the time she turned 3 ½, she was ready and potty trained in about a week. This reiterates that the child has to be ready. With my son, we waited until he was a little over 3 years to start the potty training. I decided I would take a week off from work and attempt potty training. This week of potty training went very smooth and he was almost completely trained in a week. Two completely different experiences and one had a definite better outcome.
3. The parent has to be ready
Potty training is not for the light-hearted. This is a tiring process and parents need to be ready to do lots of laundries and have extreme patience. Parents need to clear their schedules. Then plan to be busy for the next unforeseeable future (hopefully not much more than a week or so). Few things you will need to pick up at the store before you start are:
- Laundry detergent
- New panties for the child (let them pick them out)
- Carpet cleaner
- Rewards for the child ( if you choose to go this route, you could buy stickers, snacks, treats, or toys)
4. Do not feel pressure from society
This is huge. Everyone is going to have an opinion on what you need to do with your child. The fact of the matter is, that you need to decide what is right for you and your child. This is not anyone else’s decision to make. The key here is to not start too early. If you start potty training before the child is ready, then it will be a negative experience. In the end, it will take much longer than needed. My children have been at the top end of the growth percentiles, so they look much older than they are. I always felt people were judging me for having children that looked to be 4 or 5 and were not potty trained. My advice is to ignore the pressure from other people. Do not make these big decisions due to what other people will think about you.
Everyone needs to decide when is right for them. There is no set standard.
Lastly, I would like to say that patience is key. These tips are something I wish I would have had with my first child. However, everyone has to make these decisions for themselves about what is right for their children. My advice is to wait for the child to be ready and not feel pressure from what society may think about you!