I just recently potty trained our 5th child. I was dreading it and I postponed it as long as I could. But it finally had to be done. And let me tell you I love being on this end of it! After potty training 5 children I definitely wouldn't call myself an expert, but I would call myself "seasoned" in the potty training department. But evenso, there's still more lessons to learn! And I learned 2 valuable lessons during this experience that I want to share, along with a few general potty training ideas.
First, the potty training general ideas:
-Be prepared! Watch videos, read books (and blogposts!), gather supplies.
-Supplies = rewards (toys, candy, sticker charts, etc), potty chairs, underwear, whatever you want to create the best experience possible.
-Know that it will take time and diligence and be prepared to be patient. It's not going to happen after the first day (or second or third!) and that's completely normal. Potty training is a process. I'd say give it a week or two and sometimes more, depending on the child.
-There no need to rush into potty training! It's okay to just wait until they are ready or even just wait until they are a little older. I potty trained 2 of my kids at age 2 1/2 and the others were all 3...I know that may sound old, but it was fine. I think in some ways, it made the process a little smoother. Again, every child is different and ready at their own time. My easiest potty trainee was Gracie. She was 3 and we were living in hard circumstances (I was 8 months pregnant and we were living in a hotel). Once I got her started she just took it and ran with it. It was such a blessing because I just didn't have it in me to be very detailed at that time. But she was sure ready and jumped right into it. I see pottty training similar to transitioning a child out of their crib - I see no reason to rush into either one.
Now onto the new lessons learned:
-Potty training is not a one size fits all deal. We watched a few videos on You Tube this last time to get George prepared and excited. There are some videos on there that show potty training as an x, y, z kind of experience. And sometimes it is. But sometimes it's not. Every child is completely different. They may not accept this new teaching as you expect or they may take different approaches. And again, this is okay! At first George would not go in the regular toilet, or in his froggy potty. He had a little anxiety of using either and I could tell he was about to explode and so I offered him our shower drain and he took it. For a while that is all he would do (pee down our shower drain) and he would not poop in any kind of potty. This went on for about a week. But eventually he started trying the toilet and the froggy potty and realized that they weren't so bad afterall. This situation was definitely not in any story I've ever read! But it all worked out alright in the end. So if a child is potty training in their own way or at their own speed, it's alright. And this leads me to the second lesson learned.
-When in doubt, pray. After a few days of George peeing down the shower drain, I started to second guess myself. What if he wasn't ready? Should I stop and start again at another time? I really didn't know what to do or how to overcome this hurdle and so I prayed about it. And the answer I received was to just move forward and be patient. So I did. And it worked out very well. I learned that the Lord knows us and he knows our children and he is just as concerned about potty training as he is about any other experience in our lives. He is willing to lead and guide us in every step of motherhood (and fatherhood). We just have to be willing to ask for help.
So that's it. My newest thoughts on potty training. I have 5 kids now done and 1 to go. I feel very satisfied to know that I only have to do it one more time! And the funny thing is that I'll probably drag my feet with baby #6 just as I did with every other one. I guess that is just the nature of this particular beast. But really, once you are prepared, you have no reason to fear. Just jump in with 2 feet. Do your best, ask for help, and it will all work out.