Ahhhhhh...the joys of potty training. It is a topic that strikes fear and trepidation into the hearts of new and experienced parents alike. We all hope and pray that we hit the potty training lottery and have a child that just waltzes into the bathroom one day, sits on the potty, goes, and never has another accident again. Sadly, reality tends to be a very different story for most parents.
Potty training is not a one-size-fits-all activity, and what works for one child may send another child screeching and running from the bathroom. Some children are more simple to toilet train than others, and then there are the holdouts...the ones who refuse to try, who fool you with a good day or two and then regress to wanting nothing to do with leaving their diaper or pull-ups behind. Sometimes even kiddos who have been seemingly trained for a good amount of time will suddenly regress and start having multiple accidents. So, how do you stay positive when all your potty training attempts seem to be failing?
One of the first things to remember is that a majority of little ones do end up completely potty trained by the time they get to school. Of course, there may be the very occasional accident, but that is often due to children waiting until too late to ask to use the restroom or anxiety. Secondly, regression, when potty training is going on, can be common. Your child may find the praise and adoration or even gifts they receive when first successfully using the toilet to be incredibly motivating and novel. However, like most things, this novelty can wear off, and laziness can set in.
Oftentimes, kiddos also just get super absorbed in what they are doing and forget to pay attention to their bodies’ signals that it is time to go. No matter what situation you are in, we have some friendly tips to help you accomplish potty training and staying positive during the process, even if there have been previous failures.
Many methods are advocated for potty training. Some involve taking your child to the restroom at set intervals and encouraging your child to sit on the potty for a certain amount of time. Others involve letting your child run around naked so that they feel when they are going and make the connection of that feeling to needing to use the restroom. Others say put your little one in big kid underwear and if they have an accident, let them stay wet for just a few minutes because it will be uncomfortable and make them not want to feel that discomfort and the list goes on and on.
Keep in mind that the earliest that most children are ready to begin conscious potty training is between 18-24 months, and that is still earlier than a lot of kids. Every child has a different learning style and readiness. If you approach toilet training with a spirit of patience and understanding, it will help everyone involved to have a much less stressful experience. Additionally, it can be a good idea to think of potty training in the context of learning. Your child has to learn this skill and associated tasks. If we think back to our days in school, some concepts took longer for us to master than others, and we certainly didn’t want to be punished for not being fast enough.
If you are feeling frustrated, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Talk to other parents who are working on this skill with their children or have already gone through this stage with their own. There are numerous groups on social media where you can access the hive mind for ideas and suggestions that have worked for others who may have experienced a similar situation.
Your pediatrician can also be an incredible resource. Not only is child development their area of expertise, but they will also be able to work with you to see if there are any underlying physical issues that may complicate the toilet training process. Some children need help in the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy to develop healthy toileting habits that stick. Just realize that you are not alone. You are part of a village of parents and caregivers that have had to go through this rite of passage with their child.
At Tony & Ava, we work hard every day to make the process of potty training a little bit easier. We offer a complete line of absorbent underwear that is comfortable, washable, and prevent little potty-training accidents from becoming huge messes. Our briefs and panties stop leaks and make quick changes a snap. Just know we are here to support you and cheer you on. You’ve got this!