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Toileting Troubles!

When the baby suddenly isn't a baby anymore, so many adventures ensue. My most current adventure in parenthood is potty training, and thus far, it's my least favorite! Potty training requires intensive attention to detail and uninterrupted time to dedicate to reminders, bathroom breaks and underwear changes.

Being a single parent often hinders my ability to devote time to a specified activity. I am usually attempting to muscle up the energy to even cook or clean, let alone take a toddler to the bathroom every 15 minutes. But, it must be done. The journey of potty training my daughter has gone through numerous iterations. First, we transitioned into Pull Ups beginning in August (a month before she started school). From September until January, I lacked the physical tenacity to attempt potty training as I was acclimating to new workload responsibilities. Overtime, I noticed that my daughter was able to pull her trainers up and down as needed.

Then, came February and things at work started to become second nature, so back to potty training we went. This began with panties on the weekends for a few hours just to get her adjusted to the feeling of having underwear on. Yet, my patience beat me at the game and I was overwhelmed with constantly cleaning puddles of urine every five to ten minutes; it was like having a puppy in the home. Ultimately, I felt discouraged all over again and began to blame myself for being a terrible mom because I couldn't get it right. That same week, I dropped her off one morning, and her teacher praised me for my attempts. She stated that my daughter was finally showing interest in lining up for the bathroom during bathroom breaks and even used the toilet at school!

Fast forward to this week (week of April 22nd), we are on Spring Break, and the uninterrupted time that I couldn't find before has been restored to me. Potty training has been daunting, but extremely rewarding. I have been able to identify when and how often to take my child for toilet breaks and have been able to take her out in underwear with no accidents. Here's how I did it:

  1. I wait five minutes after she has eaten or had anything to drink before taking her to the bathroom.

  2. I set timers in 15 minute intervals to remain consistent with her bathroom breaks.

  3. After two consecutive bathroom breaks, I am able to give her at least 30 minutes to an hour before she has to go again.

  4. Limit the amount of liquid intake. Unless my daughter is engaged in physical activity (i.e. running at the park), I try to limit her liquid intake so that she can pay attention to her own body. This helps children understand the sensation of needing to potty.

  5. Because she isn't 100% potty trained, I only use a Pull Up for naps or bedtime; I attempted to let her sleep in underwear twice, and she woke up in a puddle.

Overall, this journey is teaching me how to be more attentive and focused. With these skills, I am finding that I have become more patient and gentle in my approach. Furthermore, I have learned that researchers state that potty training can take 3 to 6 months, so there is no rush. Just remain consistent and pay attention to the signs of readiness in your child which can be:

  • wanting to use the toilet

  • can pull diapers or trainers up and down with ease

  • show understanding of simple directions DO NOT GIVE UP! YOU GOT THIS!


Here are some helpful articles about toileting:

  • Toilet Training (for Parents)

  • Potty Training: How to get the job done

  • The Best Potty Training Tips From Experts and Parents

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