My oldest child is finally potty trained, kind of. There are the occasional accidents along with bedtime and naptime diapers. But after well over a year of on again, off again potty training, I am happy with what we have accomplished.
Potty training has been one of the hardest things we have done so far as parents. The whole experience was especially infuriating because it was nothing like what I expected.
Going into toddlerhood, I had read so many blog posts about ditching the diapers in three days and stories of successfully potty training within days of their second birthday. So when our time came to give it a try, I had completely unrealistic expectations. We struggled for weeks, gave up, and tried again three different times before we finally had success.
What I learned over the whole process was that potty training is pretty much nothing like what I believed. Before you get started, here are 6 things you need to know that no one tells you about potty training.
1. Potty training doesn't make your life easier
After two plus years changing diapers around the clock, the thought of ditching diapers for good sounds SO enticing. But what no one tells you is that potty training your child actually makes your life significantly harder for a good long while. While, a diaper change can always wait for "one more minute," when a toddler needs to go, they need to go RIGHT NOW. If you have ever dragged a van full of kids into a shady gas station bathroom, you know that potty training doesn't make your life easier.
2. Ditch the diapers in three days? Yeah, right.
Three day bootcamp? I am here to tell you that is a load of crap.
Simply search the words "potty training" on Pinterest and you will be met with hundreds of pins promising your child will be potty trained after a "three day bootcamp." Well, I am here to tell you that is a load of crap. If you have a strong-willed child, or your child simply isn't ready, there is no amount of sticker charts or m&ms that will give you a fully potty-trained child in three days.
3. They may be 3 or 4 before they are fully potty trained
Two years old seems to be the universal age to start potty training, and some parents even get started closer to 18 months. The truth is, while your child may be ready to potty train by 2, there is also a good chance they won't.
4. Everybody poops, or maybe they don't
For whatever reason, every mom I have talked to has at least one kid who just won't poop in the potty. It isn't all that uncommon for a toddler to learn to potty really quickly and then refuse to poop in the potty for months on end. So, when you head to the store to pick up baby's first undies, you just might want to pick up a suppository as well.
5. Accidents will happen at the worst possible moment
No matter how much you prepare or how well your child has been doing, accidents will happen. And they will happen while you are standing in line at the grocery store or the one time you forgot to bring a spare change of clothes to the park. Trust me, I know.
Unless there is a medical or developmental problem that needs to be addressed by a professional, your child will be potty trainedeventually. It may not be on your timeline and it may be your most frustrating and exhausting parenting experience to date, but it will happen. I promise.