If somebody asks me what is the hardest stage of motherhood? I would say potty training.
The potty training stage is a difficult one for sure, but during all this mess, moms forget that this is equally daunting for kids as well. They go through one of the biggest changes in their childhood and they need time and patience, just like parents!
We’re trying to teach them a whole new routine and skill that is completely foreign to them. Therefore, we need to set our expectations low and go easy on them. Don’t compare them to others and know that they will figure it out when they’re ready.
There are plenty of potty training mistakes that most parents make. However, it’s not your fault! You’re learning at the same time as them.
11 Potty Training Mistakes to Avoid
Potty training is hard. It is chaotic. But with the right strategies and a lot of patience, you can do it. I tried so many methods to potty train both kids and I learned a lot: which ones to follow and which to avoid!
While trying different methods and strategies, I found out that there are some potty training mistakes that no mom should make. Here are the ones that we made while potty training without even realizing it:
1. Starting too early
Now, this is one of the biggest potty training mistakes ever! Moms often get influenced by others who tell them that their kids are potty trained at 2 years or 1.5 years old. This can be too early for some children. If you start too early, you’re not helping your child at all. If your kid doesn’t understand the concept of potty training, how can you train him?
The best thing to do is to wait until your child is completely ready and then start potty training. I started potty training my kids when they were around 4 years old and trust me, they learned it all within a week.
Don’t compare your child to others. Sure, you’ll find kids who were potty trained at 18 or 22 months, but that may or may not be your child. Don’t put added stress on your toddler and yourself by comparing them to kids who have done it early.
Of course, they can’t become potty trained without the guidance and teachings from their parents. So it’s best to start introducing it early on, but not putting the pressure on them when they’re not ready.
2. Having unreal expectations
Another one of the biggest potty training mistakes to avoid is having unreal expectations. All those articles that tell moms that their kids will be potty trained within 3 days or a week and they start expecting a lot too soon. Maybe your kid isn’t ready or maybe it’s too early!
Don’t fall into the stereotype traps like, girls are easier to potty train than boys or boys can’t be potty trained until three. Your toddler is different from everyone else and expecting something like that is just an extra pressure that’s not going to help anybody.
3. Not observing the potty signals
Your kid is not going to tell you, hey mama I need to pee, although that would be a dream! So make sure to keep observing if they are showing signals. Keep an eye out for the signs that your toddler has to go and take them to the toilet when they need it.
It is suggested to take your child to the potty after every 20 minutes or so when you are potty training him. In case you forget to observe the signs, you will have it covered.
4. Potty training during a big change
Moving to a new home? Going on a long vacation? Having another child? Changing jobs? Just wait.
Always start potty training when your kid is comfortable and relaxed. Many moms make this potty training mistake of starting when they are moving or going through some big changes. If your kid is starting preschool or has had a new sibling and you start his potty training at the same time, it may not end well. So try to avoid that to keep your sanity.
5. Starting potty training when you are busy
Potty training your kids need a lot of patience and washing. If you are not ready to wash butts, clean your toilet 10 times a day, clean your floors and sofas, don’t start it. Potty training is messy and time-consuming.
Make sure you have enough time on your hands to potty train your child. You must be ready to do multiple rounds of laundry while taking your kid to the washroom more than 10 times a day. If you are not ready, wait for it.
6. Reacting badly on accidents
One of the biggest mistakes many moms do while potty training is losing their temper when accidents happen. If you are yelling at your kid and shaming him for wetting the sofa, he will become very discourages and lose interest. The potty training will take longer and this is not a good idea.
Accidents happen all the time, even after your kid is potty trained. Accidents are going to be a part of your life now so don’t treat these like a big deal. Act cool and normal like this is okay. This will help your kid learn faster and you will see the positive results.
7. Switching back to diapers
Parents often potty train their kids for bedtime but switch back to diapers when traveling or while going outside. This is not suggested if you want your kid to learn the concept of potty training. Your kid will lose the experience and you may have to start all over again. Once they feel that diaper on them, they will just make in their pants.
The best way to avoid this mistake is to invest in some plastic liners that you can use when needed. Don’t go back to wearing diapers- ever! once you start, just stay consistent so you don’t confuse your child.
8. Not using potty training underwear
One thing I learned when I was potty training my kids was that never use regular underwear! If you use those normal cotton underwear, they will not help if your child has an accident. Get new underwear that is designed for potty training. These are cotton underpants that have a liner for some absorbancy so that even if your kid has an accident, it will not stain the carpet or wet the sofa.
9. Losing patience
Nobody likes the sight of poop and dirty underwear! But if you are a mother who is trying to potty train her child, you have to be patient. I know the stress of constantly asking them if they have to make, changing wet underpants or accidents on the floor, or arguing with a toddler when they tell you they don’t have to go.
However, losing patience, shaming your kid, or yelling will not help you or your child. You need loads and loads of patience for potty training so hang in there mama!
10. Rewarding too much
I am not against rewards, but if you give away too many rewards, they expect a lot more from you. When potty training, giving away rewards after every pee is not recommended. You can offer candies or their favorite cookies at the end of a successful day.
Offering stickers or check marks for every pee and then earning the real reward at the end of the day is a great strategy. This way, they know they are being recognized for doing something right, but not dependent on an immediate reward every time.
Many child experts do not support reward systems because kids can manipulate them. It’s also not good if your kid associates everything he does with a reward. However, if you’re looking for a simple potty training reward chart, check out this one.
Consistency is the key to a successful potty training strategy. If you are not being consistent, it just won’t work. Tell the babysitter, daycare, your spouse, grandparents, and everybody who is in your child’s life how to help potty training your child. If they maintain the same consistency as you, your kid will learn better.
Remember, if you are not consistent, this may take weeks of hard work. But, with a consistent plan, you can potty train your child pretty quickly.
Don’t stress too much about potty training. Your kid will not go to his college in diapers so don’t worry!
Potty training is a stressful time for little ones so don’t make it more stressful by making these potty training mistakes. You can turn this time into a learning and growth opportunity for your child. Have some patience, be consistent, don’t lose your cool and you will see the results! Good luck!
About the author:
Saima is a mom of two cute boys. She blogs full time at A Supertired Mom. She loves kids and her dream is to open a kindergarten. She wants to motivate and encourage mothers and make them feel less lonely using her words. When not writing, she is eating pizza and sipping strong tea. She loves glitters and celebrations and beaches.