Potty training has been a hot topic amongst my circle of mom friends lately. Some mamas are in no rush to ditch diapers, while others are ready for their kiddo to start practicing on the potty. We are officially done with diapers at our house, and it feels good! For us, the transition out of diapers was relatively smooth, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have ups and downs and moments of frustration. I am definitely not an expert on potty training but wanted to share a few words of encouragement for any families going through this transition right now.
Choose the approach that’s right for YOUR family
There are lots of different methods and approaches to potty training, but none of them are one size fits all. Potty training requires parents and toddlers to work together, so you have to figure out what works best for you. We decided Henry was ready to start practicing on the potty when he started peeing or pooping every time we took off his diaper. Sounds messy, right? We decided we had nothing to lose when he pooped in the middle of our hotel room floor when we were on vacation… He was pretty young at the time, but he took to the potty right away, so we trusted his signals and our intuition and stuck with it. If researching potty training or trying to do it the “right” way is stressing you out, take a step back and remember that there is no perfect formula you need to follow. Just like sleep training or introducing solid foods, there are so many opinions about what’s best, but ultimately, yours is the only one that matters. Trust your gut and have faith that your little one with figure it out. Go team!
Henry used to enthusiastically say “pees!” after going pee. In his pants. He never seemed particularly sad about not making it to the potty; he just wanted to alert me that his clothes were completely soaked. I found that it was me, not him, who felt embarrassed by accidents when we were out and about. In the beginning, I would rush to change his clothes immediately or worry that other parents were judging us. In reality, no one really ever noticed or cared. One time, Henry peed everywhere on the plane. There was so much pee that I scrambled, unsuccessfully, to catch pee leaking out of his pants with my hands (why?!). It was an epic mess, in a confined space, but no one around us even batted an eye. I realized over time that accidents are just part of the learning process. They happen to everyone, and they don’t reflect poorly on parents or kids. Life with toddlers is already messy, so adding a few dirty clothes to the mix is nothing you can’t handle. Pack extra wipes and clothes everywhere you go, and whatever happens, just clean it up and move on!
Where’s the nearest restroom?!
San Francisco can be a tough place to potty train because there aren’t always easily accessible public restrooms. My initial approach was to bring a travel potty with us everywhere, so we could stop and go anytime, anywhere. Packing a potty for outings in the beginning works well because you don’t have to worry about the location or cleanliness of public restrooms. Also, if you’re ever in a pinch, don’t hesitate to ask businesses if you can use their restroom. I’ve been surprised a number of times by people’s kindness, even when they don’t typically allow customers to use their restroom. It can be stressful to figure out bathroom breaks when you’re on the go, but don’t panic! Get creative (peeing outside once and a while is fine!), plan ahead whenever possible, and wing it when you have to!
Potty training is a process that takes time, so be patient with your little one and yourself. Information about potty training often focuses on what parents can do to make it easier for children, but parents need support throughout the process too! We all need to share more stories of small successes and funny fails with each other so that potty training feels less overwhelming. If you have a good potty training tale or something you’re struggling with, share it in the comments below!