Let’s talk about potty training! It’s one of those monumental milestones we mamas walk through with our toddlers that makes them suddenly seem like they went from babies to tiny little humans overnight. And while it can be an exciting time (and a time to save some serious cash by ditching diapers), it can also come with lots of stress. From cleaning up potty accidents for what may seem like days (or even weeks) to wondering if you’ll ever be able to drive further than down the block without stopping for a potty break, potty training can be daunting.
But many moms agree that once it’s done, you forget about all the stress that comes with it. Kind of like pregnancy and giving birth —you forget about it all until you do it all over again.
So, read on as I share five things I wish I had known about potty training before I jumped into it with my then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Because if I had known these things, I think I would have been a bit more laid back about the whole thing!
5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Potty Training
1. You Don’t Need to Read a Dozen Books
If you’re anything like me, you research before jumping into anything, especially parenting-related. I was one of those first-time mamas that read ALL the pregnancy and parenting books. But I walked away feeling overwhelmed and almost inundated with too much information. I definitely didn’t learn my lesson because I did the same with potty training books! By the time I finished each book, I was overwhelmed.
Ultimately, what I found the most helpful was talking to other moms about their experiences—or reading helpful tips on mom blogs with real-life experiences. So learn from my mistakes! Don’t read all the books — get the cliff notes online and talk to real-life mamas!
2. Don’t Rely Heavily on Pull-ups
While there are a dozen different potty training methods, I found pull-ups to be the least helpful (other than for nighttime). Whenever I had a pull-up on my two-year-old, she would go potty in them. Why? Well, they are basically just a “big girl diaper!” I ditched the pull-ups by the second or third day of potty training. And things went much smoother!
If I could do it again, I would say no to pull-ups from day one.
3. Don’t Attempt Potty Training Until Your Kiddo is Ready
Ok, this one is crucial. I waited to potty train my daughter until she was about 2-1/2, and while that was still fairly young, she was ready. But starting potty training too early can lead to some added stress no mama has time for. Plus, you don’t want to make the situation unnecessarily stressful for your babes. All kids eventually stop requiring diapers, so don’t stress about it! Your kiddo will get there in their own time! Just be sure to keep an eye out for readiness signs and, even then, take it slow.
4. Have Multiple Potties!
No, you don’t have to install actual toilets everywhere, but having those little kid portable potties set up around your house will save you so much stress and cleanup!
When I started potty training, my daughter would give us zero warning when she needed to go (this happened a lot!). So, before I wised up, I was carrying the little potty from across the house, hoping we would get to the bathroom in time.
The bottom line is to save your sanity and have portable toilets anywhere in your house where you hang out the most. And get the portable toilets that you can collapse and bring in the car.
5. Overnight Training May Take Some Time
Every kid is different, but overnight training often takes much longer than daytime potty training, so don’t worry about this. That’s what nighttime Pull-ups are for! You’ll know when your kid is ready to take that next nighttime potty training step.
Conquer Potty Training Like the Mom Boss That You Are
These are the top five things I wish I had known before starting potty training my first. Knowing these things now, I’m ready to tackle potty training like a pro when my second is ready. Although some say potty training boys is harder (even though the AAP has said this is not true1), chances are I’ll be just as lost as I was the first time around!
While it may feel like potty training is a huge feat, it’s simply a season of motherhood all of us mamas power through like the mom bosses we are. You (and your toddler) will get through it!