Potty Training Tips: When Potty Training and Breastfeeding Collide

potty-training-tips1This summer I am pretending to be a stay-at-home mom, since I'm on maternity leave.   One of my absolute favorite parts about having a newborn is having 12 weeks off to spend some much needed time with my children.  In fact, after having my second child, it seemed like a good idea to work on potty training with my first born, while home on maternity leave.

In the midst of trying to potty train a stubborn 2-year-old and nurse a new baby, I realized how insane my “good idea” actually was. Not only did I decide to potty train, but I chose to use the intense 3 day potty training method. After three long days of being stuck in the house, running a toddler to the bathroom, and nursing around the clock, I was exhausted. Much to my disappointment, Xander was not potty trained at the end of the three days. In fact, I felt like he wasn't any closer to being potty trained then when we started. In the following weeks, we continued to work on potty training, but not as intensely.  I couldn't give my potty trainer 100% of my time, since the baby required a lot of attention. It was particularly hard when the baby was going through a growth spurt and in need of cluster nursing.

Needless to say, potty training turned out to be an absolute nightmare that summer.  Finally, after weeks of bribes and encouragement, I decided to put it on hold.   In the end, my son wasn't fully potty trained until the following summer. Yes, you read that right. It took him a year to be fully potty trained. The summer I started training him he still wasn't even showing any of the potty training readiness signs. Major mom fail!

Before I had my third child, I declared to my husband that we will not start potty training our second son this summer.  It turns out my son has other plans.  About a month ago, he started telling me he is wet, which is a sure sign of potty training readiness.   I chalked this up to him being cloth diapered and went along with our everyday diaper routine.  At the beginning of this week, I overheard him and my 4-year-old in the bathroom.  My big kid was encouraging the little one to try to use the potty.   Much to my surprise, the 2-year-old pulled off his own cloth diaper, sat down on the small potty, and went pee.  I was shocked and baffled!  

Potty training the second child can't be this easy, can it?

Still in denial of yet another sign of potty training readiness, I continued on with the week.  Surely that was just a one time thing, right?  The following night, I decided to test my theory by asking the 2-year-old to sit on the potty before bathtime.  Without a fight, he sat down and went pee.  At this point, my mouth was wide open in utter amazement.  

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Since then, he has used the potty a handful of times when prompted to and most of the time has been successful. There is no denying it, my son is ready to start potty training, even though I am not.  Among the milestones and parenting challenges of the first few years, potty training is a task I do not enjoy. It's frustrating, emotionally and physically exhausting, and at times appears never-ending. Here I am about to embark upon it for the second time. Fingers crossed this time is easier than the first time. As I begin this adventure, these are the tips I will try to remember when I am wiping up puddles on the floors or scrubbing toddler pee out of my carpets:

1.  You will feel like you have no idea what you are doing. Don't worry, this is completely normal.

2.  Know you will lose your patience many times.

3.  Realize there is an end in sight.

4.  Celebrate the small achievements.

5.  Breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over.

Did you use a specific method to potty train your child?  What potty training tips helped you survive this stage in your child's development?  

What do you think?

Potty Training Tips: When Potty Training and Breastfeeding Collide

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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4 comments

  1. Profile photo of KARLA KARLA says:

    Well i feel u!! Im also a mom of a 2 yr old girl and 6 months pregnant… I tried everything to teach my 2 yr old to pee on the potty… She sits down n stays there until i puet a diaper on and then pees ….. And when i try to leave her diaper less she starts crying … Frustrating but i guess thats the process a mom has to go through just hope that shelearns before her baby sister arrives in nov..

  2. Profile photo of Sabrina Sabrina says:

    This was a great read… Especially because my first child is now 2 and I too will be on maternity leave. I’ve started the potty training process but just feel like its a hit and miss. sometimes i can get him to sit on the potty but he wont pee until we get up and out of the bathroom, and then other times he is just soo hesitant and refuses to go. He hates having his diaper on because he strips as soon as we get home, so cleaning up the pee puddles on the floor especially while im 8mo pregnant is not only frustrating but challenging. Hopefully my daughter has an easier time like your 2nd child. Thanks for Sharing

  3. Profile photo of Marlena AntonucciEditor Marlena Antonucci says:

    Hopefully this time around is a bit smoother! Luckily, you have your big kid to help out. I’m cheering for you, Mindi!!

  4. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    Kids will be potty trained when they are ready.

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