5 things no one told you about potty training

By Colleen Brunetti, MEd

Not only are you training your child, you’re also training yourself as a parent. You are learning to tune into your child’s cues, react to her temperament, and integrate her into the family routine in a whole new way from how you did when she was a baby. Look at this time as a chance for increased bonding and understanding with your precious little one.

This is one of those times that will make you both more relieved and proud than you could have imagined. Be prepared for a mix of, “Well, I’m glad that’s over!” and “I can’t believe how big he/she is now (sniffle)” range of feelings. Potty training is a fantastic milestone when accomplished, but it also signals the end of the baby days. Sigh.

It takes much more time than you anticipated, or maybe it is easier than you thought! Kids are really very good at surprising us. The most willing to please child may initially completely balk at training. The most active and hard to day-train child may night-train in under a week. Honestly, you just never know. So, roll with it.

The method you choose may not be the method you end up with. Isn’t this just the way with kids? You are so sure you are going to breast-feed or bottle feed, (cloth diaper or disposable; sleep train or co-sleep; count to three, use time out, don’t use time out…) or whatever it is you are so sure you are going to do as a parent, and then it turns out your kiddo has a whole different set of needs and agendas. But just as you have adjusted in the first two years or so, you’ll find the right thing with potty training, too.

At some point, you are going to be embarrassed as all get-out by something your child does while potty training. It may be his tendency to drop his drawers in public places, or his sudden use of a word for a certain piece of anatomy that scandalizes a relative. Laugh it off, and quietly and gently coach a more appropriate choice for your child to make for next time.

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