If you’re looking at your 18 or 24 month old and contemplating potty training, you’ve probably already heard plenty about how to do it. But I’ll bet nowhere in all the articles you read did they tell you what to expect AFTER you get potty training going.
It’s way more work than you can imagine. And weird things crop up as you go. So here’s a primer on some lesser known things you might want a heads up on as you head into potty training time.
It can take YEARS to finish potty training
Some kids just don’t take to it for a long time. They might resist the change in routine from diapers. You may have to try and then give it up over and over until he or she is really ready.
Even when daytime is going well, it can also take a year or more to get the nighttime potty break figured out, since many toddlers will sleep right through an accident.
They want to go more than they need to—and it’s EXHAUSTING
You’ve got a reward system worked out, and your child is responding. Now he or she wants to hop on the toilet every 15 minutes.
Removing clothes, placing him or her there, and then putting it all back on can be VERY tiring. But it’s not really something you want to say no to.
Or they catch on that a potty break is the perfect excuse to avoid something they don’t want to do. Our son started wanting to go multiple times before bedtime. (We put an end to his ploy by telling him “This is the last time you can go before bed” so he knew he had to get it all out.)
When our son was really little, he also wanted to go to the potty when he was scared. At one particular party with a lot of people, he asked for the potty every 5 minutes.
Then they never want to go
When your toddler becomes comfortable with holding it, he or she won’t want to interrupt playtime to go to the bathroom. Some parents complain of kids that won’t go for 5 hours or more. Not good for little bladders!
They may try to do it themselves—with disastrous results
When the independence stage hits, you may find your little one sneaking off to do a poopie by him or herself. This usually doesn’t lead to a good result. You know what I mean if you’ve ever found your child in the bathroom after a big one, with poop smeared just about everywhere.
Things fall in the toilet
If you let your child bring toys on the toilet to keep him or her happy while waiting for something to happen, make sure those toys are big enough that they can’t fall in. Better still, read books to your child. (We had a toy car fall in during a poop, and our son was devastated for weeks.)
You’ve got to keep your toilet spotless
It’s horrifying to see their little fingers gripping the rim and touching everything, knowing you haven’t cleaned your toilet in days.