The Summer of the Potty: Four Lessons Learned

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When summer began, I had two goals:

  1. Find confidence with my new “I just had two kids” mom-bod and
  2. Potty-train my oldest son.

Now that summer is winding down, I can safely say both goals were met!

Now, I would never in a million years say that I am an expert on potty-training. But, I have learned a thing or two, and I want to pass the information along. Why? Because when I first had an inkling to tackle the potty-training hurdle, other moms passed what they had learned down to me.

Guess what? Some of their tips helped tremendously, while other bits of advice weren’t for us.

That being said, you know your child better than anyone. Take what I say, what the “experts” say, and what your friends say all into consideration, but with your child’s personality and character at the forefront.

What I learned

  • Don’t Back Down

There was a time a few months prior that we attempted to potty-train. I say “attempted” because once the fun wore off and things got hard, I backed off and the diapers came back out. Day three was when things got ugly this summer. We stuck it out, and by day five, he was doing amazing again.

These time periods might not be the same across the board, but I’m telling you Momma, STICK IT OUT! Take a deep breath, and calmly hang in there. Looking back, I can clearly see that my son was just testing me. It was as if he was asking, “Is this for real? Are you serious about this big change, Mom?” Ask yourself that before you even start training. The first time, I was not serious. The second time, I was most definitely serious.

  • Sleep is Key

Learning a new skill of this magnitude is mentally exhausting – both for the child and the mom. I noticed that my usual one-nap-a-day kid was suddenly overly tired. This made learning to use the potty all that more difficult.

Once I finally figured out that exhaustion was the source of his refusing to use the potty, we added a short second nap back into the day. I cannot even explain how much this helped everyone. The second nap gave me a break, and it gave my son’s mind and body time to relax and regain mental strength.

  • Understand Your Child’s Love Language

A lot of people warned me against a reward system; but knowing my son, I could see how stickers might just be that little incentive he needed. After all, he was probably thinking, “So what’s in this for me?”

Once he found out that stickers were in it for him, he was on board. For the first week, he would go potty and then get to pick out a sticker to put on his chart. One day in the second week, he just stopped asking for a sticker. He didn’t need that incentive anymore. He saw the value in the potty itself without needing the reward. #momwin

  • Pay Attention to What They Eat

Now, this one might stir up controversy, but hear me out. You talk potty-training with a group of moms, and most will warn about how hard (literally and figuratively) it is getting the kid to go “Number 2” on the potty. 

In an attempt to help my kids’ little guts stay as healthy as possible, we choose to not do things like breakfast cereals, juice, candy, cokes, and most snack foods in the home. Sugar and processed foods cause toxin build-up, which can lead to gut health issues – AKA it can make it tough or even scary to “go”.

Obviously, I can’t prove that our “no excess sugar” in the house rule resulted in my son mastering going Number 2 before completely mastering Number 1, but I think it at least helped. I only say all of that to hopefully help a mom whose child refuses to go Number 2 on the potty. To me, it just makes sense to make pottying as easy as we can for our littles by guiding their diet in a positive way.

Veterans, what other potty-training tips do you have for our Rookie Moms about to take on this big milestone?

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