What They Never Tell You About Potty Training

We recently went through potty training with our 2.5 year old daughter and it was an adventure! Around Thanksgiving she started saying “change the diaper” and she became very interested in the potty. My naive self thought “This is it. She is ready! It can’t be that hard right?”

Phew. Now looking back on the other side it doesn’t seem that bad. But during it, I almost gave up 100 times. So today I am sharing what they never tell you about potty training. 

We recently went through potty training and it was so much different than I expected! So here is What They Never Tell You About Potty Training.

First, you need to remain calm.

Growing up my brother and dad nicknamed me Miss Melodramatic Lauren. While my husband remains calm in the midst of the storm, I often get flustered, frazzled and panicky. Those are not good qualities to have when potty training!

Even though our daughter was showing all the signs she was ready she had a lot of anxiety about using the potty. She occasionally cried (loudly) that she wanted a diaper on. I noticed when I got flustered and lost my patience she would too. C

hildren feed off of our emotions and the words we speak. Once again this experience in parenting expanded my patience and reminded me how my attitudes impact the atmosphere of our home.

Second, social media lies.

Before potty training I read numerous posts about how you can potty train without tears, potty train in one weekend, etc. Now I’m not saying those techniques never work. I’m sure there are kids out there who are very easy to potty train and almost do it themselves. However, that is not ALWAYS the case.

So often we form ideas and expectations based on the media. In our case, potty training wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be and it definitely didn’t happen in 3 days. When we were going through it we talked to multiple people who said the same thing! If it takes longer than 3 days that is okay.

We recently went through potty training and it was so much different than I expected! So here is What They Never Tell You About Potty Training.

Third, you need to put aside your selfish desires.

If I’m honest one of the reasons I was hesitant to start potty training was because I didn’t want to be homebound. The convenience of diapers was comforting and I enjoy getting out of the house. I didn’t want to disrupt our (my) routine.

When we started potty training it always seemed my daughter had to go to the bathroom at the most inconvenient times. I was in the middle of nursing IJ and she would start panicking because she had to go. Or just as I sat down on the couch to relax for a minute she would have an accident all over the floor.

I’m convinced there will never be a perfect time to do this. You will have to make some sacrifices for a while, but as with anything it will get better.

Even when your child starts to understand she has to use the bathroom she will occasionally have accidents. No one prepared me for this. I thought that once she got it, we would be good to go.

Potty training quote from Julia Roberts "Usually the trump of my day is, you know, everybody making it to the potty."

Although a child could be potty trained, it doesn’t mean they will be 100% accident free. There are some things you can do to help your child stop playing and go potty.

I am by no means an expert, but my advice for someone who is considering potty training. Pray, be flexible, be patient and give it a good week. If after a week your child doesn’t seem to have made any progress, it may not be the best time. As I said at the beginning my daughter had a lot of anxiety about using the potty and I wasn’t prepared for all the tears and tantrums.

Kids may cry during potty training so be emotionally ready. I think it was good for both of us to work through it and now looking back I’m glad we did it!

What did no one tell you about potty training?

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  1. This is a fantastic article. I loved how honest you were. I related to your idea about potty training taking more than three days. I have absolutly hated training four of my children and don’t look forward to the fifth. But like you said, it will be better once we’re done. I’ve scheduled your post for sharing on my FaceBook page.

  2. To be honest, I’ve trained 3 now (all girls) and I waited until they were good and ready. I did try with my first seeing if I could train her and I found the accidents worse than the diapers, in my opinion. My children trained at 32 months, almost 3 (2 weeks before 3rd birthday), and just after 2 years old (in the 24th month). They each trained really quickly for both night and day once they trained. We hardly had any accidents with the first two children (who trained later) but we did have some with the 2 year old. I do wonder that the earlier they train the more accidents, but who knows. Everyone told me it was going to be so stressful. I didn’t realize there was another way. I didn’t find it stressful the way I did it (waiting). I found it was over in a few days except the 2 year old as I said she did have a few accidents, but not many. We talked about it a lot (eg. we read books about the potty to the child, we had a potty out in the bathroom) but I really think that waiting (the almost 3 year old was the hardest wait for me) was the easier way for me. I think my 2 year old trained so fast because she had two older sisters to coach her. I also found that with each of my children, potty training corresponded with talking really well as in full sentences (the first 2 of my children had speech issues) but I don’t know if that is just coincidence.

  3. No one told me my daughter would feel ashamed of going potty. She loves to sit on the potty and pretend, but when it comes to actually going, she starts to cry and scream. Once she accidentally peed on the floor, and she had this look of terror on her face. She grabbed the nearest towel and started frantically whipping it up. She’s only 2. I keep telling her it’s ok and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but she still is, I don’t know what else I can do to make her feel like it’s ok.

  4. Oh my goodness! This is so true. It’s been a rough road for us. My son goes back and forth–sometimes he really wants to, sometimes he cries. I don’t know how much to push him! We keep “stepping back” and then trying again a few weeks later, but the excitement at the beginning always peters out into exhaustion for both of us. I try to stay calm and positive, but it’s just a lot of hard work for both of us, and I think that’s why he always ends up losing interest. I’m letting him decide now when to go, instead of him crying every time the timer goes off or I say “let’s try going potty.” Whew! Just hanging in there. Thanks for the encouragement and reassurance!

  5. My daughter was so easy for some reason. She was just over 2 and we trained her in 3 days. Smarties, a sticker chart, and no pants did the trick for her.

    I am trying to prepare myself to train my son knowing that every kid is different. I don’t want to have expectations that he will be the same as her. Your post is a good reminder to come into the experience without stress or anxiety, and to rely on God and be calm. I have no idea how to train a boy so I am kind of avoiding it. I also take them to the daycare at a health club where I teach swimming now, which I wasn’t doing when I trained my daughter. I am so afraid he is going to have accidents while he’s there, so I haven’t figured out a solution yet. Ah, potty training. So necessary but so tricky. Thanks for posting!!

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