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slides: Mum’s the Word: Four Ways to Stay Sane While Potty Training

Friday, April 10, 2015


Unlike Yoga Mom, my experience with potty training my toddler could easily be referred to as “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

While attempting to potty train my toddler, I’ve frequently found myself singing the old spiritual, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows my sorrow.”

To my annoyance, I am not one of those yoga mothers who you’ll hear casually bragging at the gym, “Yeah, little Poppy took right to the potty. Can you believe it? Eight months old and already out of diapers! I just can’t keep up with her…oh don’t worry; I’m sure Tobias will get it one day. So hey, how’d that Kombucha recipe turn out?”  

Unlike Yoga Mom, my experience with potty training my toddler could easily be referred to as “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

Just the other day, I picked up Lia, my daughter, from my mother’s. Lia rushed out looking fresh as a daisy in her Sleeping Beauty costume and yelled, “Mom! I peed in there (her grandpa’s office), but it’s okay. I let it dry up.” 

Considering my three year old is capable of speaking in full sentences, it’s starting to get a little suspicious that doesn’t “know” how to go potty. However, throughout this emotional process, I have learned that patience is the key ingredient in staying sane while potty training.

In the last several months, I have found that emotional development is equally as important as physical development when you’re in the process of potty training your little one. So, for some of us, our children may be approaching preschool or kindgeraten before they're out of diapers. That's okay; everyone develops differently.

Still, when you’re in the line at the grocery store buying yet another package of expensive Pull-ups, (what are these made out of, unicorn hide?) it can be a little difficult to remember to be patient with the whole potty training endeavor.

So for all of us parents, whom heaven deemed fit to smile down upon specifically, I have compiled a list of things to remember while potty training the “willful” child.



Related Slideshow: Mum’s the Word: Four Ways to Stay Sane While Potty Training

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1.Take your time.

There are many psychological reasons why a child, no matter how old, might not be ready to use the potty. Sometimes, they feel like using the potty is letting go of something that is precious to them (I admit, I do not fully empathize with this sentiment.). However, I happen to have a daughter who sings the Peter Pan song, “I Won’t Grow up!” with the passion and gusto of a civil rights activist. For her, the issue is that she is afraid that if she uses the potty like a “big girl,” then she will immediately stop being my baby. With this in mind, it’s okay to take your time with potty training. It’s better to ease into it then to cause emotional distress on both you and your little one. 

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2.Lighten up.

Sometimes, we get into these “WE ARE POTTY TRAINING TODAY” moods as parents. We buckle down, and we make the decision to show our children that life isn’t just fun and games. Suddenly, our homes turn into a medieval prison as we launch into a week of Potty Training Boot Camp 2015. When we get like this, though, it can sometimes end up leading to more stress on both you and your child. So, again I say, lighten up. Yes, be consistent with taking him or her to the potty every ten or fifteen minutes, but be sure to make it an enjoyable experience. Never yell or get upset when things inevitably don’t go as planned. 

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3.Don’t despair.

Don’t despair. If you’re like me, then you have made this face many a time while parenting and especially while potty training. Don’t despair. They really are only little once, and this time will quickly pass.

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4.Be kind.

Be kind. As I indicated before, potty training is an extremely stressful time for everyone involved. Since we aren’t always “our best” when we are stressed, remember to be kind to both yourself and your little one. You’re not a bad parent simply because you have a three year old who claims she is fine with pooping in her pants for the rest of eternity. You’re not a bad parent, and she isn’t a bad child. Since we only live once, we’re all just trying to figure out this crazy, scary thing called life as we go. Not all of us will get it socially “right” in every area.  So when we seem to be behind or on a completely different path than everyone else, resist the urge to shame-talk yourself. Instead, make a commitment to be kind and to keep trying. 


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