All I heard when Avi turned 1 year old was – Potty Training! That is one of the difficult milestones to achieve in a kid’s life and well! to some extent for the mom too. It isn’t easy at all. My blog is not about giving tips or hacks to you moms, it is all about the experiences and things that I learned during the potty training phase. Potty training is not a walk in the park. This blog will surely not tackle the potty training situation in 3 days. That is not my forte.
You might have gone through several articles and books which said, potty training can happen in 3 days – that did not happen with us. I admit the fact that I have gone through such articles and parenting guides, books, etc so much that I started tuning my mind that there is something wrong with my potty training style. But hey! I was wrong. I did the right things, just that 3 days potty training is not a doable task. You aren’t training a robot, you are dealing with a human kid with feelings and emotions. And if you feel you are failing, don’t feel so. You aren’t alone, many Moms have gone through this phase.
Putting pressure on your kid isn’t the right thing to do. You should understand the readiness of your child. And that isn’t just physical readiness but mental too. We got a potty stool for Avi when she was 8 months old. Well, I can assertively say that she wasn’t ready at that time. She would barely sit on it. We never put pressure on her. It was there in one corner of our bathroom. It all started when she turned 15 months old and I made my trip to my home back in India. I had amazing help from my Mother and Mother-in-law. Things seemed to be very easy and my daughter also coped up to the “no-diaper” phase. We did face a lot of accidents but it was easy to clean up in India.I used to take her to the potty every 1-1.5 hours and make sounds like “piss piss piss” and she would do her business. I was super happy and felt successful.
But once I returned to the USA, that is when we introduced the potty stool to her. Yea! she wouldn’t sit on her potty chair and she started peeing all over the floor – the CARPET floor. It started becoming frustrating to me and the child.
Start with a Potty Stool
It is good to start with a potty stool rather than putting them on the toilet directly. I feel potty stool is more ergonomically designed to place them in a squatting position. And it is ideal for younger kids. Once they get trained in the small potty stool, slowly move to the toilet with a small ladder which they can climb on and sit. There is nothing like weaning off a potty stool. Young kids are always attracted to new things.
Express the feelings? Are they ready?
Yes, the first thing in potty training is that the kid should be able to express that he/she wants to go and use the potty. How do I make her feel or make her tell that? This was a big challenge. At one point, she knew that she should inform me when she wants to pee. But she would do that after peeing on the floor. I mean I did not know if I should consider it as a win or rather be sad about it. Well, we did not stress her much, we appreciated her for telling us that at least after doing her business. And I used to immediately take her to the potty just so she knows that it is where we do our business. Taking the kid to the potty at regular intervals did help a lot. We would have to deal with a mini accident if she hadn’t gone to the potty in a long time. So either set a timer, or ask the kid frequently in regular intervals if he/she wants to go to potty would help. They will start relating eventually and begin to tell you.
Patience is the key. Be ready with the cleaning supplies
The problem with us was that we lived in an apartment with carpeted floors. Yea! so things can get dirty. So having a good cleaning solution in hand is a must. I chose the clean and organic method of cleaning. I made a solution using cleaning vinegar and baking soda. Added a few drops of lemon for the fizz and fragrance. Whenever she had an accident, spritz this solution on the carpet and it would do its magic. I can’t believe that I have cleaned the floor so many times. But this is part of the potty training process. I kept losing my patience, thanks to my husband who used to be a mediator between me and Avi. But the moment you lose your calm, it affects the kid adversely. I learned that shouting at the kid won’t do any good. Instead, hug them and tell them that “yes, mistakes do happen and it is okay”. Put on a smile and tell ” no pee-pee on the carpet. Pee-pee only on the potty”.
Appreciate, applaud and reward
Every time, Avi used the potty successfully, she got to choose a sticker of her favorite animal. It was working well. She slowly started giving me cues that she has to use the potty. Each time, she got a reward. Over a while, stickers started becoming invaluable. She wanted something bigger. So I chose Zollipops, the clean lollipops for toddlers. She loved them and that was the biggest reward I have given her so far.
Also, we used to make it a big deal whenever she comes out of the bathroom after using the potty. Applaud the success, jumping up and down cheering her. She would be so happy and excited. Even now, after so many days of being partially potty trained; we do appreciate her each time she successfully goes and pees in the potty.
Another big thing that worked well with us was that we used to sit with her while she is in the potty. Go and sit on the floor, tell them stories, rhymes, funny giggles. Avi loved it a lot. This actually made the potty time enjoyable and a little bit of a company doesn’t hurt anyone.
Another reward that you might feel gross is to dump the potty pot filled with the pee in the toilet and FLUSHING it on their own. That is so much fun for them! This will give them joy and a sense of accomplishment.
Don’t lose hope
You know what? It took me more than 9 months to be precise for daytime potty training my daughter. Still, I would say she isn’t completely potty trained. We haven’t even stepped into the night time potty training. But I think we are not so far anymore. We have had setbacks in the past, I have had bad and sad days where she would pee all over the floor, car seat and would just be okay with it. She also had exceptional days with no accidents, awful days with no improvements at all. And these are the times, we should not lose hope. If you have started this process, don’t give up. If your kid is not on diapers in the morning hours but he is still not ready to sit in the potty stool, don’t put him back on the diaper and confuse his mind. And take things slowly, we used to leave her without diapers in the morning and evening wake up hours. She would wear her diaper only during nap times. And I kept explaining to her that she is wearing a diaper just so she won’t wet the bed. I don’t know if she ever understood what I told her but I kept telling her the same thing, again and again, each time I made her wear a diaper.
Also, try to make this process enjoyable by probably going for underwear shopping for your kiddo and get their favorite cartoon character. Make it a fun thing and not something to worry about. Because I did make that mistake of worrying. Please don’t do it.
Be consistent and never interrupt the process
Is the cleaning part Nagy & inconvenient? running errands with a kiddo who can pee anytime is difficult? feeling awkward to make your kid use the public restroom? The best solution for all this is to put him/her on the diaper again. NO, that will be the biggest complex message you will put into your child’s brain. Be consistent and do not worry about cleaning or being embarrassed in the public. It is your kid and you have to teach them what is right or wrong. I started taking my daughter outside without a diaper when she was nearing 22 months. She started giving cues when she wanted to use the potty. I was okay even if she had an accident. The first place I took her was to the library and that’s where kids gather. It is okay to make a mistake or have an accident. No judgments because we are all moms.
So don’t hesitate, if you feel your kid is ready to get started, do it. There are so many moms who are going through this tough phase. It is tough for both the mom and kiddo. But the result is so worth it right? So many diaper bucks are saved and such a good feeling for the kid. But don’t stress yourself. Go with the flow and be calm!
Also, there are a few things I used to train her. I will link all that worked well for us.
I have very few items as you noticed. And I want to assertively tell you that the “training pants” available in Amazon was an utter waste of money. It never helped me in this process. So you might want to stay away from it.
Feel free to share your experience with me in the comments below. I am all ears!