Potty training is one of the most frustrating processes parents go through in toddlerhood. I have found it to be more stressful for parents than sleep training - sleep training seems to be more of an emotional process, and potty training a frustrating one.
The age at which parents start potty training also widely varies, although I have personally found that younger toddlers, around the age of 2, are easier to train than a 3 year old and up.
Here is why potty training is so frustrating:
For those of you who have been through the sleep training process, there is usually a point that you get to where you can't take the lack of sleep anymore, or you can't take the process of bedtime, with all the rocking, bouncing, cajoling etc, that you are enduring to help your baby fall to sleep. For some parents this process can take hours, it's draining, it's time consuming and you feel trapped.
When you feel like this, you feel as though you must make some changes, as you can't take it anymore - you feel at your wit's end. So you go about making some changes to make your life better. As you work through the process you will start to feel liberated, positive, more free, you don't feel trapped or stuck in your baby's room anymore. Wow, this feels great! I feel like a confident parent.
When going through the potty training process, the learning curve and your feelings work in reverse.
Having a child in a diaper offers freedom, liberation, you can go about your day as normal doing all the things you want to do and when - your child is in a diaper, so you can take them anywhere. There are no boundaries, you just take along extra diapers and wipes, changing them as and when they need to be changed. There is no problem, this is easy.
So when its time to remove the diaper, parents are faced with the same feelings that they had, pre sleep training, going back to the early days of having a baby and being stuck.
Stuck at home, trapped within the walls, bound by a diaper less child, frustrated because they are having accidents, not able to go to the park or classes initially whilst you focus on success. I also find that more often than not, a parent's expectation is not being met (a common one being that this potty training thing can all be done in 3 days, whereas the reality is it will take more like 2 weeks to get from A to B). To top things off, there will also be some regression. Toddlers are NOT motivated to keep taking time out of their busy play schedule for a bathroom break.
In order to get through the process, things have to change, your child has to learn and you are the teacher. If you are frustrated with them or with the situation, you will only make it harder. This means putting in time and effort, but not losing your cool.
It means expecting to stay home, expecting to not attend a class. It means being consistent so your child is not confused.
This is hard for us - in a nutshell, potty training is a huge inconvenience.
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Stay cool Mama.