How to Make Potty Training Stress-Free

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Happy Tuesday, friends! Today we are chatting all things potty training. Such a touchy subject, right? Why is it that milestones for babies/toddlers somehow end up being this crazy competition between moms. You know what I’m talking about because we’re all guilty of it. Phrases like “well my baby started walking at 9 months,” or “my baby is already sitting up.” And when it comes to potty training it gets even worse. We start hearing things like “it only took me one day to potty train my son” or “the one book’s method is the best way to do it.” Yuck.  The only thing phrases like that does is add stress to the mom in my opinion.

So today we’re going to chat potty training. No, I’m not going to give you a perfect method of how to do it because is there one? I think each child is so incredibly different and therefore each potty training experience will be different. I am however, going to talk about several things I did differently with my youngest juxtaposed to my oldest. The reason I decided to share how I potty trained Abby is because my shift in my “potty training plan” led to a shift in my attitude, a stress-free environment, and a happy toddler.

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Before I get down to what I did differently, let me share a brief explanation of how I potty trained Emma Grace, my oldest. To start, I felt like I read every potty training method out there. I landed on potty training in 3 days. Then, we put the full court press on EG with every book and DVD we could think of that talked about using the “big girl toilet.” I stayed home for 3 solid days and let Emma Grace run around naked while pumping her full of liquids. I made stick charts, set up reward systems, and had multiple “potty chairs.” I was determined to have my just-turned-2 year old potty trained.

Well, big fail. It backfired so badly in fact, that we actually backed off and went back to diapers for a couple of months. Eventually she was ready, but she wasn’t even fully potty trained (referring to going #2) until she turned 3. It was madness and honestly made me feel so ill-equipped as a mother.

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So when Abby came along I knew I would go about doing things differently and I did. Honestly, I think created a stress-free, child-let environment when it comes to potty training makes a world of a difference. No, Abby was not potty trained in 1 day and yes, she still has an occasional accident. But, did start around 2 years 4 months and was potty trained in less than a week. Huge props to her amazing teachers at school, too, because we formed a team and we did the exact same things at school and at home. Consistency helps, y’all.

how to make potty training stress-free

  1. Wait until Your Child is ready: Unlike with Emma Grace where I decided she was ready, we waited for Abby to show us signs she was ready. The main sign was that she stopped going potty in her diaper during naps. She actually stopped doing this 3ish months before we started potty training. I held off though for selfish reasons…she’s my baby and I just wasn’t ready! Haha.
  2. Switch right to panties (during the day): With Emma Grace we went from diapers to pull-ups during the day and night. Our school and some wise mommies however told me to switch right to panties. This way your little feels a different sensation when they have an accident. It makes a bigger difference and kids often don’t like it. We used training panties and I highly recommend them. They’re a little thicker so if they do have an accident it doesn’t go everywhere. Our favorites were Kickee Pants. So soft and they wash well!
  3. Switch to panties at nap ASAP: waterproof mattress coverAlong the same lines as above, I quickly switched Abby over to panties at nap time, too. I wanted her to feel when she had an accident and not get used to pull-ups. Then when she did, I made it a non-issue. I simply cleaned her up, cleaned the bed up, and moved on. I do recommend getting a – it makes clean up so much easier! (We still use them at night however)
  4. Remove your timeline: AKA remove yourself from the equation because it’s not about you. Once I took my own timeline away, it became stress-free. It was fun and there wasn’t any pressure on Abby or on me. I just assumed that when she was ready to be fully potty trained she would be. Could be a day, a week, a month, or a year.
  5. Don’t Compare: This should go without saying, but don’t compare yourself to the mommy standing next to you. Everyone parents differently and every child is different.
  6. Use the regular seat: With Abigail we decided not to use a kiddie toilet or a cover for the regular toilet. This may have only worked because she didn’t care and her legs were long enough to straddle the seat, but it worked. It somehow helped us skip that middle step and we never used the kiddie toilet as a crutch or safety blanket.
  7. Let #2 come naturally: Why is it that we put so much pressure on ourselves and our kids to poop in the toilet? It seems like such a scary thing. So instead of forcing Abby to, talking about it all the time, and trying to catch her in the moment, we just let it happen naturally. It took a couple of months, but she finally decided to do it on her own and she has ever since.

I so hope this helps you mommies out there a little bit. Again, this is not a magic formula to potty train your child quickly. Rather, it’s just some things we did differently the second time around that created a stress-free atmosphere.

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