Key Take aways:
- Use this time to focus on your child and helping them through this milestone.
- This isn't about you, or your value, or even your talent as a parent.
- This isn't about if your child is smart, or advanced, or slow, or behind.
- This is about a new milestone in your child's life and your chance to help them through it with your love and support.
- Together, you can form a team where you establish a pattern of them working with you through their milestones, which you can carry on into adolescence.
article summary: This is our polite reminder that this task of potty training your child is not about you. It’s easy to get focused on other parents telling us if our kid is ahead or behind or whatever. But that’s all a lot of rot.
Your child is an awesome small human who is about to embark on one of the first major changes of their lives. They’ll be transitioning into an area of personal accountability for the first time. Don’t miss out on this chance to engage, love, and grow together.
Also, keep the conversations positive, upbeat, and never shame or scold a child for having an accident. They’re doing their best and so are you. Lots of hugs for everyone!!!
Our own experience has cued us in on a lot of things that can help YOU succeed in this and future parenting endeavors. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
This has nothing to do with intelligence.
Again, we heard this over and over from experts and books alike. Don't be confused with feeling like your child being potty trained early is somehow a sign of a better child, or worse, a child being late in training to be somehow less. That's just not true at all. Kids just develop at different times, and it has as much to do with their intelligence and mental capacity as their hair color.
Shame is always bad.
Try very hard to never shame your child or make them feel bad because they had an accident. Tons of experts, books, and just everyone say this, so we'll say it again: when accidents happen, meet them with optimism, confidence, and tons of love and patience. After all, it's just pee and poo. And associating bathroom messes with shame and guilt can cause problems down the road.
Remember that this is a really big change for them.
Your child has only ever known potty going into diapers, so there can be tons of confusion and emotions with this significant change. Don't be in a rush, don't make it feel scary or too big... give them confidence that they can do this and that you're there to help them.
Be on the same page as your partner.
Or any other person in charge of caring for your child. Sometimes, one parent will feel a bigger push to check this next step off the parenting to-do list, but another parent may feel it's not the right time. Often, stay-at-home parents feel pressure to tackle this next milestone to prove they are doing their job. Take it from us: if you are a stay-at-home parent, you are surely doing your job just fine, and there is no need to jump the gun until your child signals they are ready.
Get ready to repeat yourself
Get ready to repeat yourself. It's very likely that you'll have to explain every single part to them at some point. Multiple times. And again. Two more times on Sundays. That's ok. They're learning. Become their cheerleader, saying it over and over again with smiles and claps. ;)
Get ready to repeat yourself (again)
Seriously. Get ready to repeat yourself. It's very very very likely that you'll have to explain every single part to them at some point. Multiple times over and over. And again. Two more times on Sundays. That's ok. Become their cheerleader, saying it over and over again with smiles and claps. ;)
Do not give in to pressure
You have our permission to not give one single f-ck about whomever you may feel is giving you the side-eye about when your child is potty trained. They do not matter; your child's well-being does. Do not let them manipulate you into feeling bad about your child. They're jerks.
Alright, you're doing great. Keep it up.
Keep your pants on.
Story Time With Jason Glaspey
When our boys were close to being able to potty train, I recognized in Holly that it was the next thing on the list (potty training) and therefore, it became the next box she had to check off. That the sooner she did it, the sooner she knew she wasn't neglecting her job as a stay-at-home mom. This is all too common with us parents, as I felt it was too soon and too much pressure and that it would sort out on its own. Turns out I was right. Just this once... With that being said, you also have to balance the damage of diapers with the patience of waiting. ¯\(ツ)/¯
If you are potty training with another person, like your spouse or another caregiver, I can't tell you how important it is to have a frank conversation with each other about if your kid is actually ready or if there is another reason why you are feeling like it is time to start. Also, make sure you are very open with each other about your frustrations, hesitations, and how you will continue to support your kid together with positivity.
Story Time with Julia Walker
My oldest daughter potty trained so easily - really, I felt like I was on top of the parenting world because obviously, it had to do with my complete dedication to her and that I am a rockstar. Well, after she had been completely perfect with potty use for well over a year, we visited family abroad for a while, and she began to have accidents. My husband and I were sympathetic at first, thinking perhaps it was the jetlag, being confused about where the bathroom was, etc. But even after being there for over a month, it was still happening. Finally, I reached the breaking point as we were about to leave to come home and tried to force her into a diaper to make a point that we had no more clean underwear. She adamantly refused, and her tears and protests only made me more frustrated. At one point, I even chased her around the yard, probably with tons of neighbors watching, trying to force her into a diaper to feel shameful and to ensure she would never have an accident again.
This story is my lowest point in parenting thus far, and even sharing it feels so yucky because it brings up such shame for me. Yet, I try to think about this often, especially when I feel frustration rising inside me. It helps me take a step back to remember that my children are precious souls that I have been blessed to nurture, and it is my job to support them without judgment and without reflecting my own insecurities onto them.