For those of you that know me, it will come as no surprise that potty training was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Why? Because it’s tough to control. For a “Type-A” mama like myself, potty training is both terrifying and frustrating. There are a zillion theories about when kids are ready and how it should be done. If you are a person who is resistant to messes and have little to no patience when things don’t go your way, I have the guide for you.
3 Day Method=False Advertising
Before I undertook this task I read just about every book and book review, as expected. I searched every forum for specific evidence on which methods worked and why. I compared the reviews of potties at length. As an overachiever, I was fascinated by the promised expediency of the three day method and decided to get to work.
I should warn you that calling it the three day method is a bit misleading. It’s three days to teach the method, but up to two weeks to practice and implement said method. Imagine my surprise when my child wasn’t completely trained after 72 hours. As long as you know that going in, your level of frustration will be reduced by at least half.
Don’t Attempt to do Anything Else
I laughed when I saw the gentle encouragement to “stay close to home” and play quiet games. I’m the queen of multitasking, so obviously those rules didn’t apply to me. I realized rather quickly that those gentle words of encouragement should have been put in a bulleted warning list more like this:
- Completely wipe your schedule of everything including taking care of other children and going to the bathroom.
- Prepare to stare at your child for at least 48 hours. Do NOT turn your back on said child even for a second.
- Prepare to spend your entire day away from curtains, rugs, upholstery and any other fabrics that you care about.
- Order in all week (groceries, take out, wine).
- Expect your husband to undo your work in the 6 seconds you leave the room to pee despite telling him not to take his eyes off said child.
All Potties are Not Created Equal
Does the actual potty really matter? Apparently, it does. After a variety of issues with different potties (distracting sounds, uncomfortable, difficult to clean) we settled on the Baby Bjorn Smart Potty which is the best. I’ve tried them all, trust me. Don’t worry about all those books that tell you to let your child get acquainted with the potty. If your child is like mine, she will show zero interest in said potty and act confused by your enthusiasm.
Go “All In”
Because my kid is exceptionally strong-willed (I’ve got some discipline help for ya, here) she learned pretty quickly how to manipulate my system. She started to notice that diapers were handed out during nap time and bedtime. Obviously, she held all of her bodily functions until then and just went in the diaper. I realized that I was going to have to get my game face on and go cold turkey. I was not mentally prepared for this change in my system, but I powered through anyway. With this little fun addition to the training, you wont actually sleep for a few days and you will be doing laundry pretty much around the clock. However, I kept my eye on the prize of getting it all over with. Who the hell wants to do this twice?
Now I know some of you out there are far more patient than I, opting to let the child go at his or her own pace. I’m impressed with your gentle encouragement and ability to not overanalyze and control every situation. For the rest of us control freaks, you have been warned.
Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.