5 Things I Learned When I Tried Potty Training My Kid


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Potty training is one of the real struggles of parenting. Believe me, I’ve been there and it was so difficult, it was draining and Kai and I fought over it. I have to be honest, I wasn’t too nice when it came to potty training my kid. One of the reasons I wanted him to learn at a young age is to be over with the diaper stage.

I stopped using cloth diapers when he was older around almost three years old because it was just too much – I’m talking about poop. So I switched to disposable ones and I felt I didn’t want to spend more on that so I thought about potty training him.

I even wrote about our potty training journey. There was a time I thought he already did it but it was just a one-time thing and since then, he was scared of using the potty. I have also mentioned how he only uses the toilet for peeing but never for pooping. This eventually progressed to pooping ONLY on his bear potty but not the adult toilet. And finally, in April this year, Kai successfully pooped in big people’s toilet. He’s 4.

If I had struggles in potty training, I’m pretty sure other parents do, too. And I’ve heard of them. I’ve heard my mom friends sharing about their disappointments that their 2-year-old still can’t use the potty or are still in diapers. And you know why most of them are pressured into thinking that their 2yo needs to learn how to go on their own? It’s because of comparison.

Let’s be honest. We tend to compare our kids’ milestones with other kids’.

If you hear that Felicia’s two-year-old has already mastered potty training, you start to feel bad about yourself. You start to wonder, where did I go wrong? Why is my two-year-old not learning? Why is Felicia so damn awesome that she can make her 2-year-old go?

Photo credit: Buster Benson/Flickr

I’ve been there, too. I’ve compared my kid to other kids his age and when I learned that they’ve mastered potty training early, I felt bad. And admit it, if you knew someone’s child who hasn’t learned yet, you feel so relieved that you’re not alone.

So for all moms who are struggling with potty training, here’s what I need you to know.

#1. It’s a process

Potty training doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a while. It takes time and it involves accidents, here and there. If you’re patient enough, you can endure this process and reap the rewards with your little one. Make this process a positive experience for your child.

#2. Prepare for disappointments

As mentioned, there will be times when you’ll get very disappointed, especially when accidents happen along the way of your training. It’s okay. But don’t ever reprimand your kid for making a mistake. They are learning and their brains are still processing everything. The important thing here is to be patient.

#3. It’s not about your parenting

Failing at mastering potty training doesn’t say anything about your parenting. All moms need to remember that kids learn at their own pace and their learning abilities differ. If there’s one thing I can take back it’s being hard when I was potty training my kid. If he’s ready, then he’s ready. If not, give it time. Eventually, your kid will be ready and he’ll be the one to go on his own. Just like what happened to us.

#4. Your kid will eventually learn

And I mean let them learn at their own pace. I never expected for that day to come – when Kai finally overcame his fear of going to the toilet to poop. I honestly thought we’d still go for another year of wearing diapers, but we didn’t.

#5. Potty training guides don’t always work

I’ve read a lot of articles on how to potty train your kid. Some have boasted of their success in just three days. Honestly, I was like, “whoa? really now?” Others said it’s possible to do it in a week. And the more you rely on them, the more disappointed you get because you can’t get yours to do it in just a short period of time. My advice? Don’t rely too much on them. Yes, you can get tips but don’t make a how-to article the basis of your potty training success/failure. As I’ve said, kids learn at their own pace and every kid is different and has different learning abilities.

Instead of comparing your children to other kids who have learned potty training at such an early age, focus on your own child. Take it slow and remember to reward the good things, even the smallest steps to independence. This is not to say that you’ll just SIT and WAIT.

Don’t get me wrong. As a parent, you should take charge. You should do something and you should put in an effort in potty training your kid. Just don’t beat yourself up and remember that it’s a process that involves commitment and patience on your part. (Read about delayed potty training).