Is potty training hard or easy? Should it be parent led, or child led? Should you start early, or wait till a certain age? Are accidents inevitable? Is there a way around it? What’s the truth?
Truth #1:Potty training can be TOUGH
The first week especially. Did you expect me to say that? Perhaps not, but it’s a bit like the way nobody tells you other stuff, like how “easy” breastfeeding is, how babies “sleep through the night” etc and when it comes to potty training, how if you leave them to it, kids will “do it in a day”. Chances are you have a different perspective on the earlier things but are you still holding out for an easy ride when it comes to potty training? Are you assuming your kid will be that one who just wakes up one day and decides to potty train themselves?
I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you that for most people, potty training is hard work. How do I know this? Well, its partly ‘cos I’ve trained both my own kids and mainly because I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time working with parents, listening to their experiences and moderating and participating in support groups for parents going through this stage. The truth is, MOST parents will have some struggles where potty training is concerned.
Truth #2: Potty training is messy
This is the part where your toddler learns WHERE to pee and poo. There is no way to sugar coat this: if you have used nappies until now, your child has been taught that nappies are where it goes. You now have to teach them a new way of doing their business: that pee and poop must now go in the POTTY. Whatever method you use, you WILL have some pee on the floor and you WILL have some poop in your house (though you can offset the impact with one of these).
Truth # 3: Potty training should be parent led, in partnership with your child
Just like when you chose to put the nappies on, you can also choose when to take them off. Potty training involves a huge step in learning for your child and is often a source of frustration, anxiety and stress for parents. Usually, that’s because the expectations are out of line. Children DO need to be taught, and YOU as the parent are in fact, your child’s best teacher. You know them, you love them, you can choose how best to motivate them to succeed. Just like when they learned to walk or talk and as they learn to read and write, potty training involves developing a series of skills. And, like learning anything, a good teacher makes all the difference. HOW are you supposed to teach the this??? (more on that in a moment).
Truth #4: Your child probably won’t be on board the whole time
You set out all excited on behalf of your child and you try and install this in them (“what a big girl/boy you will be!”) and then they refuse to get with the programme. In fact, refusal is the biggest challenge facing parents who potty train. Does it mean you shouldn’t do it (NO!). The truth is, refusal happens because most children start in the toddler years when this way of being is a la mode. Toddlerhood is the breeding ground of refusal, but don’t let this put you off. You CAN overcome refusal without bribery or force. You child CAN take pride in their achievements and be motivated to succeed (see below for a PLAN).
Truth #5: Potty training can be quick
The average time to complete potty training with the method I teach is 3-7 days. Really, that’s a drop in the ocean, especially for busy working parents. Yes, you might have a few accidents for a little while, on and off, but these are actually proof of learning and provide great opportunities for teaching. If we approach potty training with the same commitment we did to the other areas of parenting, we can embrace it as a natural transition and opportunity to teach something important to your child. But this doesn’t have to take months.
Truth #6: Potty training can’t be avoided
All children must go through the same stages as follows:
1: recognise what their body is signalling and doing
2: respond to this appropriately
3: develop independence in stage 1 and 2.
Whether you start potty training at birth, before they walk, sometime after they walk or around school age, the stages are the same and in that order.
Truth #7: The earlier you start the better
I know this may sound controversial, but there is a TON of science behind this statement. So, if your child is any age between birth and 3 years old, it’s a good time to get started. if your child is age 3 or above (common these days), it’s time to get going.
Truth #8: A potty training PLAN helps (MASSIVELY).
Having a plan is a good idea whatever age and stage your child is at. It means you have a clear focus which gives you confidence and back-up when and if things get tricky.
Lately, a discussion took place online where parents were (rightly) complaining about having to part with money to get this plan (and learn how to potty train and help their child through this process). So let’s talk about that. The truth is, the knowledge of HOW to potty train has all but gone from our communities. (you can find out why here). People never used to have to PAY for a plan, but that was before the knowledge was taken away from us.
Just like we don’t get enough support for other areas of parenting – potty training has also taken a hit. Because I too feel indignant that we have become deprived of this knowledge, I want to help (and I also work as a nurse in addition to running Little Bunny Bear so this is not a money making machine for me I promise you!) That’s why I started sharing what I learned in my years of children’s nursing, research nursing, nannying, mothering and on my course as a certified potty training coach. I have put together a unique plan that is based on all these things and which, importantly WORKS to get you and your toddler learning as a team.
Potty Training help
You can now attend a class, have a consultation with me or get a written plan to help you. Yes, these things cost money. Why? Because time is precious. In fact, I believe that time is the most precious gift we have, and it takes some of my time to make these things available to you. Money is one way of off-setting that gift (But if money is an issue for you, why not just let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help you). When you consider it, you will actually SAVE money in the long term, whether that be by no longer using nappies, wipes, creams and lotions or by reducing your washing. You’re welcome!
Still not sure?
Why not take my readiness quiz and learn the facts. Or, tell us how you feel in a comment below! We LOVE to get feedback, the good the bad and the beautiful. So go ahead and share your thoughts.