Potty training was a difficult phase of parenting for me. It started out pretty bad. (If you don’t know about our potty training experience, read The Ugly Side of Potty Training at your leisure. It’s very entertaining to say the least.) In the early stages, our family and friends told us about their potty training experiences. Some stories provided false hope of having him completely potty trained in three to five days, which obviously did not work for us. My wife and I both work during the week and often times run our errands on the weekend. Therefore, isolating ourselves in the house for a weekend or a long holiday weekend was not always a good option for us. To help busy moms, I have put together the things that worked for this working mom. Hopefully, they help you as well.
- Discuss potty training with your spouse and your child’s teacher/caregiver. When we realized our son was ready for potty training, we spoke with his teacher about the next steps. If your work schedule is like our work schedule, you leave the house at the wee hours of the morning, leave your child in someone else’s care during the day, and return home with enough time to eat dinner, pack lunch, give baths, and put the kid down for the night. Our child spends a lot of time with his teacher since we work during the day. Devising a plan and having conversations about your child’s potty training accomplishments and what works is very important during this process. Being on the same page with his/her teacher can make the process a little easier. Discussing everything with your child’s daycare provider such as your kid’s potty schedule and progress can aid in the transition from diapers to using the potty.
- Know your child’s potty schedule and develop a routine. Does he/she usually take poops in the morning, mid-day, or in the evening? How long between “going potty” does your child go? How much juice or water have they had today? Knowing such information can make your potty training experience easier and encourage the child to use the pot without assistance. After our evening commute (usually a 20 minute ride), we make our son go to the bathroom before he is allowed to do anything else. Now, he walks in the house, after our evening commute, and goes to the bathroom without being told to do so. The possibility of an “accident” is reduced because you know how much your child has drank and their schedule.
- Keep a spare potty in the car while running errands or visiting family members. It seems like a crazy idea but believe me it works. In the beginning, our son would not use the public restrooms. He wouldn’t use them not only because some of the public restrooms were questionable but the toilet intimidated him. Toilets, in public restrooms, are much bigger than the pots our little people are use to doing their business on. So some may refuse to use it no matter how bad they have to go. We quickly learned keeping a pot, a few bottles of water, and wipes in the car was best for him until he became comfortable with the “Adult Pot.” It was only for a short period of time though. I recommend purchasing an inexpensive potty to use as the travel potty.
- Create an award program or some type of positive reinforcement. If our son was dry for several days with no accidents at home and school, we rewarded the kid with what he called “slupees” from the “7” or what we adults refer to as Slurpees. We also praised him for telling us when he had to “potty” with kind words or dance sessions. There are several potty training incentives out there on the Internet. If you have a free moment during your work day or commute to and/or from work, you can find plenty of potty training reward ideas on Pinterest. Everything from reward charts with fun stickers, potty training cards, potty prizes and more. Figure out which idea works best for you and peaks your little one’s interest. I am warning you now though, you may have to change the type of award/prize one or two times. Toddlers get bored very quickly so what was working at first may not give them the same enthusiasm to go the next few times. A simple good job and dance party was sometimes enough for our son. He loved seeing and hearing how proud we were of him. Remember, you don’t always have to result to fancy or overly creative system because making you proud is enough for your child.
I hope some of these tips help, not only working moms, but all moms. The biggest part of potty training is understanding your child is different when compared to the next child. So you shouldn’t compare your child to someone else’s child or children. What tip(s) would you give to a mom who is staring on her potty training journey? Leave a comment with your tips.