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What has been the hardest part of potty training?

What has been the hardest part of potty training?

Here’s your opportunity to learn more about the parenting styles of each Maturing Mama. No Mama is exactly the same in her parenting skills. This is our opportunity to highlight our differences in parenting in a means to help you find a method that works for you.

Today’s Question:

What has been the hardest part about potty training?

Chanelle, from BC Canada

The hardest part of potty training for me has been begging my kids to use the toilet when they have to.
I never knew kids could just not want to use the toilet just because. My youngest seemed to not want to use the toilet simply to assert her independence. She would go as far as changing herself from her big girl panties to pull ups so she could go poop. It was insane.

She was the type that would use the toilet by herself without being asked but then when we’d ask her to, she’d fight with us.
My oldest would try to hold it for as long as possible while playing and insist she didn’t have to go until she was done playing.
I’ve since learned how to reason and trick my kids into believing it was their bright idea to go use the toilet and not mommy or daddy’s.
It can be confusing though as some childcare workers say if a child doesn’t want to use the toilet then they’re just not ready to be potty trained… I don’t get that. My kids are too strong willed for me to accept that.

Jadine, from Jamaica

I have the honor of being blessed with five beautiful children.  Potty training is something I have done a lot.  As a matter of fact, I have a twin almost two years old that I will be potty training soon.  Yet, no matter how often I have done it, it never gets easy.  Every child is different and grows at their own pace.  I have one child who caught on pretty quickly and was no trouble to potty train, and I have one child who took longer and was still struggling with bedwetting up until age four.

The hardest part of potty training for me, has been knowing each child and determining their readiness for potty training.  It takes a lot of patience to do and sometimes I wish they were all baby genii who knew exactly what to do.  The truth is, babies and toddlers are developing and learning as they grow.  Potty training requires understanding, communication, physical development and even emotional security for children.  For each of my children these were accomplished at different ages and with different time spans. The patience and consistent work it takes are the areas that I need the most work on.

Sharon, from Victoria Australia

I’m going to answer this firstly from an educators perspective rather than a Mama as we are only in the beginning stages of toilet training with my eldest (currently aged 2 ½). When I was working in childcare there was plenty of toilet training happening and never just with one of the children. I think what was the hardest part about it, was guiding the children to trust that if they needed to leave an experience to be taken to the potty, they would be able to return to it exactly how it was before they left (eg a built tower) or that if they were on a bike, that it would be put aside so they would then be able to resume their turn.

As the children are learning to know when they need to go, they will often need to be asked and/or reminded, and they are often so focused on and enjoying their chosen activity that they don’t want to go. I have found that as they get use to the routine (being taken frequently), they begin to realise they wont miss out on anything. There is often a lot of tears and resistance, so it takes time to build that connection and trust and its not easy, but its definitely possible.

This kind of also reflects one of the difficulties with taking the next step towards fully toilet training my eldest at home.  So now coming from a Mama’s perspective, as I mentioned earlier, we are only in the beginning stages. Circumstances around his medical condition (Congenital Heart Disease) have contributed to a delay in toilet training, but that aside, he has been introduced to the potty for quite a while now and on most nights he will go before his bath/shower. I am planning to do the full training in a couple of weeks time. So I guess you could say I am/have taken the gradual approach whereby he knows what the potty is and what goes in there and as he has been showing signs of readiness. I am intending to do a 3 day at home method taking his nappy off.

I can agree with my experience above that Joshua too loves to play/explore and when I have asked him if he would like to use the potty, it’s a very clear and stern no (especially when he is enjoying quality time with his Daddy! ????) I have his wiggles underwear ready to go, which he has seen and loves to get out of his draw. He even knows that he will get to wear them when he doesn’t need to wear nappies anymore. So we are ready for all systems go and I’m sure it will be interesting and fun. I’ll then be doing it all again when his little sister is ready, lol! 

Brittny, from BC Canada

Potty training was the hardest thing I have ever done in my parenting life. Like a classic first time mom I over complicated it completely. I stressed myself out so much, that one day my husband came home to me laying on the floor bawling because I didn’t want to do it anymore. I had spent 3 days staring at my child looking for any ques that she was going to use the bathroom and failing. She peed on the floor everytime I’d look away for half a second. We didn’t watch TV, we didn’t do craft, we didn’t play. I literally just stared at her for 3 days strait.. and I lost my mind. I googled and googled and read a million “potty train in 3 days” articles. But if I learned anything, it’s that if your kid isn’t ready to potty train, THEY WON’T POTTY TRAIN.

My girl wasn’t ready but I thought that because I was ready, she was ready. We ended up taking a break and 3 months later she trained herself!Then came my second kid. I was dreading potty training. I kept putting it off despite the signs she showed me that she was ready. I did not want to go through it again. But much toy surprise my first daughter started teaching her! I barely did anything and after about a month and a half she was day trained. Night training is a whole nother story, but I’m in no rush to figure that out with her. It’s not like she’s doing it on purpose, her body just isn’t ready to be night trained.

A big challenge for me though was going out and making sure there was always a bathroom close incase the dreaded “I need to go to the bathroom” was said. I remember the first time we didn’t make it to the bathroom, we were in a grocery line and stuck when one of my kids said they need to go. I didn’t know what to do so I kept telling them to wait. They couldn’t, I learned that day that maybe we should go out in pull ups even if they were potty trained in the house haha.

My word of advice is, don’t rush it. Most kids don’t potty train until they’re 3 or even 4. And even then some still struggle with certain aspects until they are teens. It’s not their fault, they are trying their hardest. Their body just isn’t ready yet. Ignore those moms that brag about having their babies trained by 1. Good for them! That must have been hard work! But most babies just aren’t ready for awhile.

Kimberly, from Louisiana USA

The hardest part for me with my son is getting him to actually “use” the bathroom. He literally will sit on the potty stand up clap his hands and flush the toilet. That’s as far as we have gotten. He’ll be 2 in September.

My concern for the future is how long Eli will take to potty train. I’ve had a few people tell me that boys take longer than girls. I know it won’t be “easy” but I hope he doesn’t struggle.

We want to hear from you! What’s been the hardest part of potty training for you and do you have any tips or advice?

Let us know in the comments or email

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