Here is what I learned about potty training the second time around.
There are a lot of things that you think you know when you have your second child. You have some idea of what labor, delivery, and recovery will be like. You know about all the things that no one talks about – I’m looking at you hemorrhoids. You’ve been through teething and introducing foods. All those big milestones the first few years happen so quickly and if you’re anything like me you’re thinking this whole raising kids thing is not so bad.
Then it begins. Your toddler starts showing signs. Probably with a fascination with the toilet. Or the annoyance with the diaper and an overwhelming need for your toddler to be naked. Watching their older, independent, sibling use the toilet freely certainly is fuel to this burning desire to want to use the toilet themselves.
Potty Training, no problem right? I’ve done this before, how hard can it be to get this other tiny person to use the potty…correctly? Piece of cake.
That’s when my motherhood reality check hit me smack dab in the face. Here are my potty training takeaways this second time around.
There Is No Potty Training Blueprint
Just because it’s your second time doing this does, by no means, mean that you know what you are doing. There is no one size fits all way to potty train a child. My two daughters couldn’t be more different both in physical stature and in their personalities. What worked for my oldest does not work for my youngest so why then would I think potty training would be any different?
I went into potty training having SOME idea of what worked but that easy peasy 3 days of nakedness at home and they come out of it potty trained did NOT happen here. Sure we cleared our schedule one weekend and stayed home and did the thing but at the end of the three days, she was still wearing a diaper at night and during naps and ya know what…I’m totally ok with that and so is she.
Don’t Rush It
This was something I learned the first time around – listen to your child, they will show you when they are ready to make this leap. My oldest had urinary reflux when she was a toddler and we had a few visits with an amazing Pediatric Urologist. Her biggest advice to us was to not rush potty training. Too many parents are in such a rush to get their kid out of diapers for one reason or the next when really they are better off staying in them until THEY are ready, not you. Don’t worry, they aren’t going to go to Kindergarten in diapers, it will happen and it will happen much easier if you go on their schedule.
We waited until Big Nugget was almost 3 until we potty trained her so I thought we had PLENTY of time until we had to do this with Little Nugget. She, like always, had other plans. Around the time she turned two she started to really dislike her diaper and would take it off whenever she had a chance. So we went with it and by the time she was 26 months, she was daytime potty trained.
Make It a Family Affair
Little Nugget things the earth revolves around her big sister. Anything she does, Little wants to do twice as badly. I used that to our advantage when we were potty training. Getting big sister involved not only helped the little one, but I could see Big Nugget’s confidence and pride grow each time she helped out.
That also means that if you are going to reward your toddler for going pee in the potty, that you have extra. When I was handing out marshmallows for a successful pee in the potty, there were four hands waiting for their handout, not just two. And that is totally ok. Fostering the sense of accomplishment not just for your own achievements but for others as well is a great lesson to learn as an older sibling.
We also utilized our reward jar a lot during this time. The girls loved earning rocks by just going to the bathroom.
Potty Training Stinks
Both literally and figuratively. One thing that hasn’t changed is that you have to bring your A game with your patience. There is no relaxing on the couch when you have a minute or two. No focusing on other tasks at hand when the naked one is on the loose. You’re always on. Always waiting for the next “I gotta pee” scream and sprint to the toilet.
When the accidents happen, cause they will, then you have to put your own frustrations aside and be as supportive and reassuring as possible. This is a big undertaking for that little person and it’s just as easy for them to get frustrated and discouraged. Patience and persistence will eventually pay off, I promise.
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