The best potty training tip I ever received wasn’t what you might expect, but it has made all the difference. Try this for a happier potty training experience for both mom and child.
By Shannon Brown, Contributing Writer
I was in the second trimester of my second pregnancy, but the fatigue was there to stay. My back ached as I sat on the floor that first day, all day, scrutinizing my toddler for a sign he was about to pee.
It could have been a real drag but for one little thing that kept rattling around in my head.
I had done my research and decided the right choice for our family was to go ahead and potty train my 20-month-old boy before his little sibling was born.
As I was reading up on potty training, getting ready for the big day, one particular tip from potty training expert Jamie Glowacki stuck with me.
The Best Potty Training Tip
It’s probably not what you think.
Yes, I found lots of great info about which potty seat to buy, signs of potty training readiness, and the best potty training age. However, this one I’ve carried with me long past my days of helping my little ones visit the bathroom in time.
Here’s what she said:
“One way to make this easier in your own mind is to think of this as a great bonding day. For me personally, after this first day I felt closer to my son than I had in months…So think of this day as a special day when you get to reconnect.” – Jamie Glowacki
In fact, she went on to compare potty training her son to the bond of breastfeeding.
Ask any group of moms about potty training, and you’ll probably hear a collective groan. However, this doesn’t have to be one of those parenting moments we dread.
Each milestone from potty training to learning to read and beyond comes with inevitable challenges, but also opportunities for bonding.
Looking for that opportunity to reconnect with my increasingly independent kids has become an invaluable habit when the challenges of motherhood come my way.
The “Newborn Time” Phenomenon
I was reminded of this again recently when Erin shared such a beautiful idea after welcoming her newest little one into the world:
“A newborn is an invitation for time to slow down, for time to still.” – Erin Odom
Waking up for newborn feedings multiple times a night is one of those things that could easily feel like a burden. Indeed, lost sleep is no joke!
But most moms would probably agree those cozy moments, even at 3 a.m., facilitate an irreplaceable bond with our new babies.
So, can this phenomenon of “newborn time” carry on long past the baby and even the toddler years?
I hope so.
It’s crazy for me to realize my two are long since out of diapers, but the challenges and opportunities for bonding keep coming.
Time is flying by with these little ones, and I don’t want to worry about wasting a minute with them.
I want to build relationships with them that will truly last a lifetime, not just when they’re forced to live under my roof.
A Better Way to Potty Train (and parent)
I’ll fully admit, I struggle to see that invitation to slow down and bond with my children when I’m bone-weary and my 3-year-old is melting down because she didn’t get the orange plate, or my kindergartener is digging his heels in during our homeschool routine.
Still, I try to lean into the invitation to use even the challenging moments of motherhood to let time stand still and connect with my children as they grow.
Here is my humble offering of a few things to help connect and build your relationship with your kids during their milestones big and small:
- Pay attention
- Engage in play
- Get down on their level
- Don’t make “stop, don’t, get off that” your default
- Listen more
- Make eye contact
- Let go of “should” and “must”
- Be OK with a slower pace
Whatever parenting challenges come your way, whether it’s potty training, nighttime feedings, trying to help your toddler sleep through the night, or heaven help us, teaching them to drive, I invite you to let time stand still.
Yes, potty training my little boy while pregnant could have been rough. In some ways it was.
Thanks to some awesome advice, though, those short days of focused attention, teaching him a new skill, and seeing his confidence bloom, turned into an incredible memory I will always hold dear.