When I think back to being a brand new mom, so many memories pop up into my head: holding my first baby for the first time, celebrating his first birthday, watching him take his first steps, and those super fun months where I did nothing but sit on our bathroom floor bribing, sobbing, and literally begging Lennox to use the dang potty. That kid was relentless, and I thought something was wrong with ME because of it. Every mom on the Internet had fed me a lot of false hope about potty training, and it made the process such a miserable experience for both me and my child. So, now, after teaching three of my babies how to not pee their pants, I’m here to tell you the ten things that I wish I would’ve known back when I started potty training my first:
1. There is no magical way to potty train your kid!
Soooo many articles on Pinterest and blogs promote these “easy” methods where your child will magically know everything about potty training in three glorious days. As a new mom, it made me think it was going to be a one-step process where I showed my kid a toilet and they would just automatically know how to wipe themselves and everything. But, you guys, potty training is a journey—a long, drawn out journey that happens in many different phases. It starts with them recognizing the urge to go potty, and it ends several years later when they’re able to wipe themselves, sleep through the night without bedwetting, and never have accidents. Without naming names, one of my children pooped their pants in the grocery store with zero warning at five-years-old. FIVE!
2. You will wipe their butts for YEARS, and it isn’t easy!
If you thought changing a baby’s diaper was hard, try chasing a dirty toddler through your house with a wipe while they yell at you that they can do it themselves. Cleaning a toddler is not for the faint of heart; so, when we potty-trained the girls, we immediately stocked-up on Kandoo Flushable Wipes. They recently upgraded their wipes tub with an improved locking technology, so now the girls can only get ONE wipe out at a time, instead of pulling the entire pack out. Kandoo Flushable Wipes are also free from parabens, chlorine, phthalates, and drying alcohols, which makes me SO much more comfortable using them with the kids.
3. Accidents happen!
Kids are really sensitive, and unfortunately, when stressful things happen in your life, potty regression is a very, very real thing. Lela was 100% accident free before Leif was born, but after I spent four days in the hospital for his birth, she was peeing her pants non stop when I got home. We waited until our routine was fully back to normal before we tried to talk about it with her—my inlaws had left town, the visitors had slowed down, Tom had gone back to work, etc. And now that Leif is a month old, I’m super happy to say she’s back on track. But be prepared to revisit potty training if you have any major life events coming up for your toddler.
4. Your baby has to be ready!
Lennox was three, Lela was two, and Luna Darling was only one when we started potty training. You have to watch for their cues and take it from there. To be honest, I was NOT ready for Luna to start down the potty training path, but she kept taking off her diaper and running to the bathroom because she would see Lela doing the same. There were definitely a LOT of accidents over the course of many weeks, but the first step was her acknowledging the purpose of the potty. As soon as she was able to recognize that, I switched her from diapers to training underwear, and she quickly caught on. There’s no magical age to start the process, though: you can show them 100 books about potty training on their first birthday, but you still have to wait until they are showing interest!
5. Car rides and public outings just got super dangerous!
Remember when you could pack some diapers and wipes in your bag and just go wherever? Yeah, now you have to plan road trips and outings around your child’s bathroom schedule. We bring a foldable potty seat and our Kandoo Flushable Wipes with us everywhere we go, and it has worked wonders for taking the girls to public bathrooms. On road trips, we also make sure to plan our stops in advance around when the kids need to use a restroom, and hey, accidents happen: good thing car seats are totally washable!
6. Some kids can’t stand those tiny, training potties!
Before you waste your money buying a standalone tiny toilet that sings princess songs every time your kid pees, think again. Lela completely refused to use the little potty that I bought for her, and as a result, I ended up wasting a lot of money on potty training supplies. Take your child to the store with you and buy whatever potty training supplies that they personally show interest in. Verbalize the entire process to them: “Do you want your own special toilet or do you want to use the big-girl seat?” By only using a tiny seat that fits over our toilet, Lela was able to understand flushing from an early age, so that was definitely beneficial.
7. Bribe away, baby!
If you think you’re a bad mom because you had to offer your kid M&Ms to use the potty, you are not alone. I pretty much offered Lennox anything that I could think of: candy, stickers, a Ferrari, ten puppies, ANYTHING! Don’t look at it as bribery: it’s positive reinforcement for reaching an amazing milestone. Think about what motivates your child and offer that to them; they deserve it.
8. Your kid will be naked a lot!
As soon as your child figures out how to take off their diaper or pull-up, be prepared to feel like you’re running a nudist colony. I can’t tell you how many times people have knocked on our door, and I had to yell for them to give me five minutes to clothe my toddlers. Don’t plan on having guests over unless you are SUPER comfortable with them watching you wipe your toddler’s butt.
9. Bye, bye rompers!
While we’re on the topic of clothes: don’t even think about buying your toddler any more rompers, onesies, or footed pajamas. We keep the girls in dresses every day because it’s easier for them to take off when they have to use the restroom. Button up pants can also be super frustrating for kids, so stick to pants that can easily be pulled up and down.
10. Every child is different!
After potty training three of my babies, I’m just gonna go ahead and warn you that once you have a successful system in place for one kid, it might not work for the others. Don’t beat yourself up if something isn’t working, just switch gears. You know your child the best, and if bribes aren’t something that motivates them, try a chart or a YouTube show that they like. You’re doing an amazing job at parenting your baby, and trust me, no matter how “easy” other moms claim for potty training to be, we’ve all struggled. You’ve got this!
This post was written in paid collaboration with Kandoo Flushable Wipes, but the content and opinions are 100% my own.