While I never once hesitated about my decision to trade my hectic, 14+ hour work days for the chance to stay at home and raise my daughter, there have been moments over the last 4+ years when I’ve questioned my abilities as a mother. I just feel like the things my daughter and I struggle with aren’t even on the radar of the moms I know and love, and it absolutely amazes me at how easily they tackle the things that take me MONTHS to figure out.
Sleep training? Done in 3 days.
Temper tantrums at the mall? Doesn’t even phase them.
Picky eaters? Sent them to bed hungry one night and they never complained again.
Potty training? Trained themselves!
Now, I realized I shouldn’t compare myself or my daughter to other people, but it’s hard not to beat myself up a little bit when I see her acting out or struggling with something, because I worry that I am the root of all of her problems. The good news is that I am a pretty resourceful person, and even though I often fail at things the first time I try them, I pay attention to what does and doesn’t work in hopes that I can learn from my mistakes. And since I know that potty training is an especially hot topic in the wonderful world of parenthood, today I am teaming up with the fabulous folks at Kandoo to share 9 potty training tips that saved my life.
I think each of these tips is equally as important as the other ones, but # 9 was especially helpful in the transition to full-day school.
1. WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE BOTH READY
Like most moms I know, I spent a lot of time researching the various potty training readiness signals in an effort to determine when would be a good time to start the potty training process, and while I found a lot of useful information online, one of the moms in our music class offered a piece of advice that helped me even more. She was in the process of training her third son, and when I asked what her secret was, she said that, physical and emotional signs of readiness aside, potty training was only ever successful in her household if she waited until SHE was ready. As she explained to me, toilet training takes a lot of patience and perseverance on the caregiver’s part, and by waiting until she was in the mindset that it was time to ditch the diapers, she was not only more motivated, but she was also better able to handle accidents and setbacks. She had a goal, and she was willing to do whatever she needed to get to the finish line!
2. GET THE GEAR
A few months before we started potty training, I took my daughter out to buy all of the gear we would need: potty, potty seat, pull-ups, underpants…you get the idea. She had been completely disinterested in the idea of using the toilet up until that point, but when I got her involved in the process (and humored her requirement that we ONLY buy Spongebob underpants), she was not only more excited, but she was also more interested in the idea of saying goodbye to diapers. I made sure to leave everything visible within our home so that she could check it all out and practice if and when she wanted to, and the process was much less daunting as a result.
I also made sure to download Kandoo’s Potty Training Toolkit as it was filled with a lot of great tools to get my daughter and me in the spirit of using the potty. She absolutely fell in love with Diddit, which ended up being a huge motivator as well!
3. MAKE IT FUN
I try my hardest to be a fun mom, and while my husband often thinks I go a little bit overboard, experience has proven to me that the more exciting I make things, the more interested my daughter is. So in the months leading up to potty training, I started playing different potty training clips on the iPad and belting out potty training songs in the car, and I made sure we had the latest and greatest in potty training books. Our favorites were Potty by Leslie Patricelli, Go, Girl! Go Potty! by Emily Bolam, A Potty for Me! by Karen Katz, and The Potty Train by David Hochman and Ruth Kennison, but you can find heaps of other great recommendations in this list.
4. TRACK YOUR CHILD’S PROGRESS
A couple of days before I took my daughter’s diapers away, I asked some of my mom friends for their best potty training advice, and almost all of them told me how important it was to track our progress. By writing down everything that happened in the bathroom using the Bathroom Time Chart I got in my Kandoo Potty Training Toolkit, I was able to show my daughter all of the progress she was making, and I was also able to get a better understanding of what was and wasn’t working. For example, she rarely needed to pee before 12 o’clock, but could go 4 times between lunch and dinner. By knowing when she did and did not need to go, I didn’t have to nag her unnecessarily, and could plan our outings around her toilet time until she was more comfortable using public toilets.
5. USE REWARDS WISELY
Almost all of my friends have had luck with rewarding their kids for their potty training successes, but I found it actually hindered my daughter’s progress. She would be so focused on wanting the toy or treat or whatever it was that I was trying to use as a reward that it not only took away from what we were trying to achieve, but it also made her feel extra upset when she wasn’t able to meet her goals. So I took the rewards completely away and made the whole process more about subtly praising her (‘You peed! High five!’) while also focusing on how her successes made HER feel (‘That wasn’t easy. Do you feel proud of yourself?!’). You may need to play around a bit like I did to find something that works, but whatever you do, keep it positive!
6. THROW A PARTY
A potty training party, that is! I first heard about this concept from a friend of mine who has a bunch of friends with kids her daughter’s age, and I have since learned that loads of parents do this, and that it really works! I obviously wasn’t intelligent enough to organize a party like this myself, but if we ever decide to expand our family of 3 (the jury is still out on the whole idea…), this is definitely something I would do. Check out these awesome tips for throwing a fabulous potty training party!
7. REMEMBER: EACH CHILD IS DIFFERENT
While I know we should never (ever!) compare one child to another, it’s often easier said than done. We all want the world to think we’re perfect, but if I’ve learned anything in the last 38 years, it’s that trying to be the best at every single thing you do is not only exhausting, but it also really, really sucks. And you know what? I don’t want my daughter to be perfect. I just want her to be happy and healthy. And as soon as I wrapped my head around the fact that it’s up to ME to show her that being perfect isn’t everything, I found it much easier to not only let go of the things I can’t control, but to also stop caring about what other people think of me, my parenting style, and what my daughter is and is not good at. We all develop and learn things at our own pace, and while it’s great that my BFF from college potty trained her daughter when she was only 18-months-old, it doesn’t make her any better than my daughter, who didn’t show an ounce of interest in toilet training until she was 4.
In case you haven’t realized, I am a bit of a control freak. I like everything to run on a schedule, and break out in hives when something doesn’t go exactly as I had planned. But motherhood has a tendency of changing people, and while I often get frustrated with how headstrong my little girl is, I love that she is opinionated and assertive, and that she only does things on HER terms. Those traits will get her far in life, and I’ve learned that parenthood is much easier when you take a deep breath and let your kids do things when they are good and ready.
9. ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENCE
My daughter started full-day kindergarten a few weeks ago, which filled me with both excitement and fear. I couldn’t wait for her to experience all that school has to offer, but I had no idea how she would handle being away from me for 6+ hours every day, and when I was informed that teachers are no longer allowed to help children wipe their bums, I started to panic. Yes, my daughter is potty trained and knows how to pull her pants up and down by herself, but I was in charge of everything else and I had no idea how she’d cope.
So about a month before school started, when I knew she had perfected every other aspect of toilet training, I sat her down and asked if she was ready to take on more responsibility, and when she excitedly yelled, “YES!”, I told her I would no longer be helping her in the bathroom. From that point forward, it was up to her to remind herself when she needed to go, and she would be responsible for wiping her own bum and washing her own hands.
She initially looked at me like I had 2 heads, and a part of me died the first time we did a trial run, but then I remembered we had a box of Kandoo Flushable Wipes in our bathroom cupboard, and it all just worked itself out.
Have you heard of Kandoo Flushable Wipes?
They clean up to 30% better than toilet paper, are perfect for little hands, ensure a thorough fresh cleaning, and are safe for sewer and septic systems. And did I mention they come in the cutest little container? The lid pops up with the push of a button so your little ones don’t need to mess around with the rolling and ripping that toilet paper requires, which is so helpful.
It took us a couple of trials before we got the system down, but my daughter soon became a whiz in the bathroom, which gave me one less thing to worry about when she started school. And thanks to my favorite Kandoo hand soap with BRIGHTFOAM® colors, she has learned the art of washing her hands properly as well. With Vitamin E and Natural Fruit Extracts to moisturize while cleaning, the bright colored foam lets your child know when her hands are covered with soap so she gets a better clean. I love that the product is free of parabens and SLS, and that it comes in a large, foaming pump with a wide base bottle that’s easy for her to use.
Oh, and my trick for ensuring she washes her hands long enough to get rid of germs and bacteria? I have her sing Happy Birthday from start to finish. It’s perfect!
To learn more about Kandoo Flushable Wipes, check out this quick clip on YouTube:
Don’t forget to download THIS COUPON so you can enjoy $0.50 off any Kandoo product, and CLICK HERE to download your free Potty Training Toolkit. It’s filled with great ideas and advice – you don’t want to miss out!
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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