10 Tips For Surviving The Potty-Training War

After two years of trying, on and off, to potty train my toddler, it's safe to say, I've been through the potty training struggle. I know what works and what changes the game. I also know why you don't push a child. Regression is real. very real.

In and effort to save you from my potty training plight, I've put together a list of 10 things that I couldn't have survived potty training without.

1. Patience. Patience was the number one thing that got me through the PT battle. Once I accepted the fact that my child would ONLY potty train on his time and terms, I relaxed a little. I stopped holding myself 100% accountable that my toddler was not potty trained by two. His time. His Terms.

2. An Emergency Mess Kit. For those days where I let him run around without a diaper, accidents seemed inevitable. Or worse, when his aim left much to be desired. For quick clean-ups, I keep an emergency mess kit under the kitchen sink. In a plastic basket, I store quick clean-up products. Whenever the kid would have an accident, rather than scramble to find the products I needed to clean up the mess, I would just grab the bin on my way to him, and his mess.

I got the entire kit at the Dollar store for $5! SO WORTH IT!

3. A toilet seat with a built-in toddler seat. This thing was magical for getting Ollie to sit comfortably on the potty. Plus, I had no desire to have him pee in a plastic potty, and clean it out after. So. Gross.

4. A stepping stool. When the wild-child started trying to go on his own, I was afraid he would fall off the toilet and bang his head on the tile when either climbing up or down from the potty. So, I got him a Child's Step Stool. The stool was awesome for both safely climbing on the potty, and for reaching the faucet to wash his hands!

5. Self sufficiency. It took me a while, but I finally realized my kid would never be able to go by himself until he could undress and re-dress, solo.  Even though it killed me, I stood by while it took him four hours to put his pants back on. Now he;s down to about thirty seconds. So what if they are on backwards with the seem running up the side of his leg.

6. Bribes. I know many experts frown upon bribing your kid, but in this case, bribes are WAY better than diapers. I started with mini M&Ms, but quickly realized my kid would have a mouthful of cavities at the rate he was "going potty" for a treat. He was pretty much squeezing out a drop or two for candy.  So, I switched to dollar store trucks and army guys at treats.  If he used the potty ALL DAY, without any accidents, he could choose a toy.

FYI:  After about a month of bribing, I told him he was a big boy now, and didn't need a treat for going potty.  I added something about how mommy and daddy don't get treats before he took off knowing where the story was going...

7. Emergency Change Kit- I keep an emergency change kit, with wipes, in my car so if there's an accident, I don't have to scramble for wipes or new clothes.

8. Foaming soap. I found foaming soap to spread on the tops and bottoms of his hands, and rinse off those little hands the easiest. It's also much easier to clean uptake a gob of spilled gel hand soap.

9. Nighttime Diapers- Naturally, the older my toddler gets, the more he pees.  He can fill up a regular diaper by 3am.  Just like pee in my car is not cool, pee in my bed is really not cool! After a couple of unpleasant nights, I sought out nighttime specific diapers for toddlers, not big babies. Since switching, he has not had a leak since. While I hope and pray he is night trained sooner than later, I'm not taking any chances on middle of the night surprises.

10. Flushable wipes.  Above all, flushable wipes were the game changer. At first, they were awesome just wiping him in general, and the  misses he made. Then, when Mr. Independence decided he wanted to wipe on his own, potty training took on a nasty twist. Flushable wipes came to the rescue by stopping him from trying to unroll and use, the ENTIRE toilet paper roll. I taught him that butt wipes were his special toilet paper, and that he only needed ONE.

NOTE: Nighttime potty training is a whole different battle. One that may last years after daytime potty training...

What has been your potty training saving grace? 

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com