Potty training is one of those milestones in parenting that cannot be avoided. We’ve all been there. If you haven’t, you will be soon. It’s one of those experiences that brings excitement, increased funds in your bank account (from the loss of diapers) and greater independence in kids.
Potty training can also bring out a side of a you that you never knew existed. Massive impatience, complete and utter confusion, and the desire to throw a good ol’ fashioned two-year-old tantrum are just a few characteristics that you may not have known you had the capability to possess.
Knowing the effects that the task of potty training can have on a mom’s life, I’ve come up with a few ways that you can encourage your mom friend as she ventures into this treacherous land.
1. Give Her Grace
Every kid is different and responds to potty training in various ways. Some kids are perfect little angels who grasp the concept immediately, while others take a whole year to fully understand that wet pants are not desirable. I’ve seen the range of this in my own household, and it’s been completely out of my control. So, when your friend spends 30 minutes bragging about how her child is a genius and was fully potty trained in one day, give her grace. And when your other friend spends an hour complaining about how she will never see the end of Clorox wipes and the smell of pee all over her house, give her grace.
2. Send Her a Good Meme
Humor is one of the best ways to overcome a challenging time. A meme about the woes of poop can be just the medicine your friend needs to make it through the day. What better way to endure this delightful stage of parenting than with a little laughter!
3. Surprise Her with a Gift
Potty training is full of rewarding kids for every little success they encounter, as it should be. Whether it be M&M’s, stickers, or toys, the reward aspect of potty training is like Christmas morning over and over again. But not for moms. Moms spend this “magical” week (or month) cleaning carpets, mopping floors, bleaching potty seats, and running extra long sanitation cycles on the laundry. Interrupt those moments with chocolate, candy, wine, or even dinner for your mom friend! Surprise her and reward HER for her hard work!
4. Don’t Judge Her Tactics
Whether she is potty training her child at 18 months or has waited until the age of four, don’t judge. If she chooses to use the Three-Day method or spend an entire two months kind-of-sort-of figuring it out, don’t judge. If she takes the portable potty seat with her everywhere she goes (even to Target), don’t judge. Judgment is the first action we typically take when it comes to parenting, and in this case–and every other–it needs to be the last. Let her do her thing. Encourage her. Give her helpful advice. But don’t be a critic. Teaching a child about bodily functions and where they go is hard enough.
5. Celebrate with Her
When the task of potty training has been completed or even somewhat conquered, celebrate with your mom friend! Throw a party, have a girl’s night out, make her a cake! Sure, you’re celebrating a child learning a new, very important task. But more than that, you’re celebrating a friend who has climbed a mountain in parenthood and reached the top! You’re celebrating perseverance, endurance, and no more diapers! Rejoice with your friend and embrace the chance to celebrate her accomplishments in motherhood.