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4 biggest and most common potty training mistakes

Like all things motherhood, the way you choose to potty train may be different from your friend’s way. And like all things motherhood, that is totally okay! When approaching potty training, there are different methods to try and each child will respond differently.

At our house, I potty trained my older two once they started to show signs of being ready. For my oldest, that wasn’t until closer to the age of 3. For my second child, it was around 2 1/2. They potty trained differently and it took a few different approaches with each of them. However, once my kiddos got it, we were able to never deal with pull-ups or even bed wetting.

I found some few bumps along our potty training road, and discovered that there are a few common mistakes we make when setting off on the potty training journey.

So what are some of the big mistake to avoid?

Watch for these signs:

1. Forcing it

You told yourself that your kiddo is GOING to be potty trained by two. After all, little Charlotte down the street was wearing undies at 18 months!  And your little guy is so smart, you know he will catch right on. But is he interested? It is good to start testing the waters and talking to your toddler early on about going on the potty, getting rid of diapers, being a “big kid” in underwear but be prepared for it to take some time if you little one isn’t showing any interest. A good first step is introducing it through a book. One of our favorites is the Sesame Street Potty Book. There are a lot of potty training books out there, so check them out and see which one interests your child. (And then be prepared to read it on repeat.)

2. Not staying consistent

You little one started going on the potty! Things are exciting and both of you are ready. However, you really need to make a target run and you don’t quite trust your kiddo to stay dry out in public, so you slap a diaper on her and head out. Only for your little one to fill that diaper up before you even make it in the store. During those first few days or so of potty training, it is so important to be as consistent as possible. It does sometimes feel like an inconvenience and you may find yourself thinking “Ummm diapers were way easier… I wanna go back!!” But it will get better! Some people swear by the 3 day rule. They hunker down for a few days and offer timely potty breaks. Others love the naked from the waist down method to help train. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to be consistent on your expectations for your child. It will help both of you in the long run.

3. Punishing after an accident

Accidents happen. You could be 2 weeks in accident free and she forgets to go because she didn’t want to miss the Hot Dog song at the end of Mickey. One of the most discouraging accidents is right after you just offered to take him to the bathroom and he says he doesn’t have to go but now the couch is wet. It can be frustrating. It can feel like sometimes you need to make them understand how frustrating it is and punish them. Hold yourself back. Keep encouraging the times you do see success and remind them that accidents do happen, but to tell you right when they have to go.

4. Relying too much on pull-ups

I’m gonna be honest… I hate pull ups. I see their purpose. I understand that sometimes they are needed. I have even purchased them but… I still hate them! Pull ups are so close to related to diapers that a lot of kids confuse them and have a hard time not having accidents when they are wearing them. If you are really worried about a public accident and can’t avoid using one, try placing them on over your child’s underwear. That way, they still feel the “underwear feeling” but you have your emergency back up in case things get messy. A good concept to have with pull-ups, is remind yourself that these too will have to be weaned out. If you your child relies on them for too long, you are going to have a hard time getting them used to not having that security.

The biggest thing you can do to help your child, is to keep positive. It can be stressful (especially when you step in a wet carpet spot after a week of success) but it if you remain positive, you will have a toddler who feels more comfortable and will thrive on your happy attitude. Prepare yourself for accidents, set backs, and the unexpected public puddle. (Sometimes playing is so much more fun than stopping to go potty!) Remember, your child will eventually be all trained and you’ll start to get nostalgic over the fact that your little one is growing up!

Other things you can do to help encourage potty training:

Have your child pick out the potty chair

Have your child pick out some cool new underwear

Make a sticker chart with incentives

Use little incentives for staying dry for so many hours, days, etc.


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