I was not prepared. I wasn't ready!!!! No matter how many articles and books you read, so many curve balls will be thrown your way! You read many horror stories and think to yourself, "that will never happen to me!"....then it does. What do you do? Well I lost it. All my preparation flew out the window and I decided to pay attention to my child's cues. Yes, planning and preparing is always advisable, of course. I'm a planner myself. But as a mother, you should also be prepared for the unexpected. By now you know that your child has a mind of his/her own so today, I'm not here to regurgitate what all the books and publications advise. No. I am here to advise you on how to read your child's cues. Hopefully tap into that parent and child bond no-one can understand but you two.

When to start: When ever you want to start is okay. Having your idea of when you want your child to start learning how to do anything is always a decision you are responsible for. But never forget the task involves two people. At least make sure your child is somewhat in the know of what your plans are. Discuss it.
Verbal Language: Even if it sounds like gibberish to them, trust me, they understand. Pick words and stick to them. If you choose potty then stick to potty and if it's toilet or restroom, stick to that. too many words will cause confusion and frustration and prolong the learning experience. So be on the same page with your souse or partner. She can't be saying restroom and you are saying toilet. Maybe later on but not to begin with. Always keep your tone calm. There are going to be so many accidents. Oh my gosh! So many of them. You will get frustrated but do your best to keep calm. If it's a situation that your child knows better, maybe he is now at the age where he has been going to the potty but he is just choosing to watch an extra 5 minutes of cartoons instead of alert you that he needs to go; be firm in your tone in letting them no it's not right. But never raise your voice. It will be difficult at times and when you feel yourself bubble over, take the long route to grab the cleaning supplies. By the time you get back, your tone will be correct.
Body Language: This is just as important. Children are the best at studying body language. They sense things we ourselves do not. So stay open and positive. Slouched shoulders, chest puffed out and frowning face are not helping the process. Involuntary things like heavy sighing and foot tapping also send messages so in this case I am glad I have a verbal child. I saw him look at me as I checked my phone and he said "taking too long mommy? it's not coming out." My heart sank. This showed me that my child is always studying me. A reminder to always reevaluate my behavior around him.
Patience: Like I mentioned, there will be some accidents. You will have good and bad days. You will have days where you feel like you have made so much progress and others where you feel like you are starting over. Do not set timelines and deadlines. This is your child's journey. Though you are the teacher, he/she is in control of how long it will take. Just stay supportive and present. Constant reminders help so until your child no longer needs to let you know when they need to go, keep reminding them.
Celebrate: Have the best time of your life when your little one uses the bathroom. Every time! This excitement will encourage them and yourself to stay the course. Celebrate little and big milestones. No matter how busy you are, that little pee in the potty is the best thing that has happened to your little one at that moment so do the potty dance, sing the potty song, eat a freakin' Popsicle! Celebrate!

BONUS: It helps to have a male influence and a female influence when teaching children of the opposite sex. Daddy was best at showing my little Ethan how to hold it, aim and shoot. That's essential. My part came in in the first days when he would sit on the potty to pee and once he was standing my job was to teach him to grab a tissue and wipe if he tinkled on the seat. My husband rolled my eyes at this but ladies know how important this is. I am training my child not just how to and where to relieve himself, but I am also teaching him how to be sanitary. Some might think he is too young but I can assure you now, there are grown men out there not cleaning up their messes because this was not instilled in them at a young age. Yuck! His future wife will thank me lol

I hope this helps.

p.s. check out the comedic video i recorded detailing my thoughts during potty training!


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