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Five Steps to Potty Training Success

Benjamin Franklin wisely wrote that “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” However, wise words from a mother would not have so easily omitted potty training from this statement. Honestly, like it or not, there’s no avoiding this task as a parent. As your child grows and flourishes into a spunky and occasionally savage toddler, potty training slides from the back to the front burner with the flame on high.   

In our society, potty training has become the doom filled task most parents appear to dread. So many people have nothing but unsuccessful horror stories of rebellious toddlers or kids that have surpassed the toddler stage and haven’t mastered the skill. What’s there to look forward to? Unfortunately, these popular misleading mindsets have shined the focus on the potty portion but not so much the training. 

So, in an attempt to help lay the groundwork and change the misconceptions surrounding the ever prevalent statement that most children just aren’t ready, I’ve put together the five best pieces of advice that helped me successfully potty train my daughter in five days before the age of two.

5. Do Your Homework 

Go ahead and insert the groan of annoyance here. Yes. Homework. Would you get in the car to go on vacation and start driving without packing up your necessary items or avoid choosing the best route of travel to get to your selected destination? No. Would you sign up for a marathon knowing you’re not a runner, or athlete in the least, and expect to be successful without training? Probably not. Well why should potty training be any different? You need to research methods, coaches, whatever it may be that outlines a process for you to follow that will work best for both you and your child (or children). You need to know the step by step, nitty gritty details of what lies ahead for you both. This resource will help you get from point A (diapers) to point B (potty trained) much quicker and smoother than white-knuckling this daunting task.  

4. Gather The Gear

I toyed with the idea of titling this step Prepare The Battlefield because in all honesty, that’s what the adjacent areas surrounding your selected bathroom(s) is about to become. A graveyard of positive vibes and upbeat attitudes. An overflowing river steadily rising from the never ending streams of tears, child and adult alike. I kid. Kind of. None the less, you will need training potties or seats, a whole lot of toilet paper, paper towels, books, stools, more paper towels and all purpose cleaner. Oh yeah, and paper towels. You know what, just tell Alexa to add a jumbo box of economy strength paper towels to your Amazon pantry and have them delivered the week you start. Also, don’t forget to get your toddler pumped up about whatever their favorite character is on their big kid underwear. Elmo, My Little Pony, dinosaurs, whomever. That character is going to be one of your best friends in the coming weeks.      

3. Brace for Day Two 

Seriously. Day two is a doozy. There is no nice way of sugar coating this make or break day in the saga of potty training. If there was only one piece of potty training knowledge that you could have before jumping in head first, it’s to fully mental, physically and spiritually prepare every ounce of your being for day two. If the plan or book you chose in step number five doesn’t mention or highlight the woes of day two, you need to pick a different plan. Seriously. Good luck with day two.   

2. Prep the Army 

This step is especially important if your child goes to daycare or is often around other family members or friends that assist in their care. They need to be fully prepared for the plan you will be instilling for this process. Give them plenty of notice, what you expect from them and make sure they are on the exact same page. The last thing you need after putting your blood, sweat and tears into potty training is having the sweet taste of success still fresh be shattered by someone not following the outline and waving a diaper of defeat from one accident.

For the record, if your child attends a daycare that is proactive about potty training you’ve hit the jackpot. After five isolating and pant-less potty training days at home with me, my daughter had a fresh outlook on the entire process when she returned to daycare. Her teachers were phenomenal carrying on with my outline and all the extra support from them skyrocketed my daughters potty training success and confidence. 

1. Sound the Alarms of Support

Sure, you’ve completed preparing the army of contenders in your child’s day to day life on how and what lies ahead. The do’s and do nots. The plan of action. You’re certain everyone is on the same page. But, who’s going to give you that come to Jesus talk (metaphorically at least) on the dreadful day two? Mama, this is where you make sure to take care of you in this arduous process. You need those others mothers closest to you with that recent lingering pit of their stomach potty training success vibe saved as favorites in your phone. These are the women that will gently remind you to pull it together and dry your tears of frustration. Trust me. They’ll be waiting for your text.

If there’s such a thing as dedicating a blog, this post would certainly be dedicated to the two friends that did just this for me. These five steps are the pillars of knowledge they bestowed upon me before taking on this challenge. In all honesty, they were the key to my success from the very beginning. My text and calls were answered at warp speed, they stopped in with their kids to lend a helping potty training hand and they never stopped reiterating that their experience paralleled ours, including the success we eventually celebrated on day five. Never once did they suggest that my daughter wasn’t ready just so that it would be easy. These are moms empowering other moms during the not so pleasant aspects of parenthood.

Parenting like life in general is an ongoing learning process. The ultimate lesson from successful potty training is so much more than just ditching the diapers. You and your toddler ultimately conquer this together. You plant the seed that change in life is inevitable and difficult but with the right mindset and support, success is even sweeter. It’s relearning that the lessons we teach our children apply to parenting as well. Especially, that what’s right isn’t alway’s easy and what’s easy isn’t always right. Even if it’s just potty training.

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