Toilet training can bring anyone to tears, frustrated mums included.
Here’s how to stay sane and make it happen, no stress, no mess.
I’ve just emerged from the darkness of what seemed like never-ending toilet training. In the middle of this journey you can be fooled into thinking you’ll never make it out the other side. But surprise, you do! And just like me, you will too!
It’s a no-brainer that toilet training isn’t fun. But it need not be traumatic for you or them. Avoid these common mistakes when training your toddler and the journey can be more potty, less grotty.
1. Don’t make toilet training a big deal
The best advice I ever got when I was wringing my hands over the seeming impossibility of ever getting my first babe toilet trained was to just not make a fuss about it. The more despairing I was of getting my child anywhere near a toilet, the more pressure I was putting them under. I’d overdo feigned excitement about the potty, ask them constantly if they needed to go, follow them around to see if there were any signs of needing the bathroom, and generally wind my child up with my extreme over-eagerness. Making toilet training a big deal can be disastrous. The best strategy is letting you child navigate the process in their own time and in their own way. The less of a fuss you make, the easier it will be for everyone.
2. Make toilet training worth their while
Bribery will be your best friend. Seriously. Reward charts, favorite treats, unwrapping presents, screen-time… whatever works with your kid, do it! I don’t care what righteous parents say about bribery, it works. Use rewards to motivate your little one to embrace the toilet (hopefully not literally) and get on with their business (definitely literally). The more positive you make the process, the more successful you will be.
3. Don’t react to their poo-tastrophes (even when you’re internally losing your sh*t!)
Many people have stories of epic scenes of destruction, where pooh has managed to get into every nook and cranny of a room (seriously, how do kids manage to smear something so small so far?) Breathe deeply, stay calm and don’t treat a pooh-nami like the apocalyptic wasteland it may seem to be. Like I mentioned earlier, making it a big deal can make toilet training a bigger ordeal than it has to be. Gloves, Nifty, deep breath… we’ve all been there.
4. Don’t be impatient when it comes to toilet training
Some kids seem to become toileting pros overnight, yet others can take a whole lot longer. Both are fine. Both are normal. It can be super frustrating at the time, but remind yourself that this too shall pass. Being impatient can be counterproductive and draw out the process even longer. Relax, know that your toddler will slowly make progress, and that – eventually – all will be well. It’s also entirely appropriate to decide you’ve false started toilet training and have a break. If, after a reasonable period, your child just ‘doesn’t get it’ have a break and let them mature a little more. There’s one thing that I’m sure of – they will eventually be ready!
All of a sudden you’re going to wake up and realize you have a big kid that has left nappies far in their wake. Amid toilet training, that day can certainly feel far away but as soon as they’re actually there you forget the stress. It’s just a distant, stinky, wet memory. Remember to keep perspective and try to keep it fun. Resistance to toilet training is not personal; your child’s trying to navigate a massive milestone. Embrace the process, stay strong mumma and know that you’ll have a toilet-trained kid eventually in no time!