5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Potty Training

potty training secrets
Image adapted via Flickr/ Manish Bansal

I'm pretty sure I lived in a teeny tiny naive bubble when it came to thinking about potty training. I figured once you potty trained a kid that was it; they'd be able to do it all themselves and life would be grand. After all, why would there be such a rush to get them out of diapers and into big kid undies if it meant there'd be more work for you in the long run?

Well, I'm here to say that I really didn't mind diapers. They were easy, fast to change, and despite them being expensive, there really wasn't a whole lot of work involved. Potty training, on the other hand, is a lot of work. And even though my daughter (22 months) is technically potty trained, I'm not seeing that light at the end of the tunnel quite yet.

Here several things I wish I knew before I potty trained her:

Image via iStock

You Must Drop EVERYTHING and Go. NOW!

I suppose I should've realized this, but little ones don't really know how to hold their bladder, especially at first. This is a new experience for them, so when they need to go, they need to go rightthatverysecond. It doesn't matter if dinner is simmering on the stove and you need to work on the next step–it's time to turn the dial to “off” and haul your butts to the bathroom. The same goes for when you're out in public: you probably made the bathroom the first stop when you entered Target, but I guarantee you that by the time you make it to the far back corner, she'll mention the word, “potty,” and you'll start praying that you have enough time to make it all the way back before she springs a leak.

safety of cleaning products during pregnancy concept
Image via iStock

There Will Be Messes.

Sure, I knew the actual act of potty training would be messy, but you better be ready to bust out the paper towels, have bags on hand for soiled underwear while you're out in public, and be ready to wash your car seat covers. The first few times we drove away from the house after our initial potty training days, I actually put a towel down in her car seat just to act as a barrier. I've also never been so thankful for storing extra napkins in my purse–they come in handy when you can't make it to a restroom in time when you're at a store. The first time she pooped in her panties I had a momentary what-the-heck-do-I-do-now freak out. Then I remembered I planned for this and packed some extra grocery bags, panties, and pants in a spare bag just for an occasion.

{ MORE: How Much Does it Cost to Use Cloth Diapers Exclusively? }

surprised potty baby
Image via iStock

Trade in Your Diaper Bag for a Potty-Training Bag


Perhaps it's because my daughter is still on the small side and has a tiny tush, but there's no possible way she can sit on a regular-sized toilet without falling in–and I don't want to be the one to clean up that mess! (Add to the fact that I'm 8 months pregnant, so bending, squatting or holding her up on the potty is pretty much out of the question.) So, to combat that issue, I carry around a portable potty seat wherever we go. It's not really a huge deal, but it is one extra bag that I didn't carry around before. We have the portable seat in a beach bag along with a change of underwear, some spare pants, and wipes, but it's slightly annoying to haul that with us wherever we go. When she was wearing diapers I just kept a spare or two in the car and changed her after our shopping excursion. I need to find another solution, because soon I will be carrying around an actual diaper bag, and I have no intention of walking around with two bags.

Bare feet hanging from a toilet
Image via iStock

The Many, Many, (MANY) False Alarms.

Sometimes I wish we never taught her the word, “potty,” because it's basically her favorite word now. And because we don't want her to have an accident, we resort to number one on the list (Drop EVERYTHING and Go. NOW!) whenever she insists that she needs to go. Granted, false alarms are getting fewer and far between, but they're still around, and they're still annoying.

dude undies
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

Tiny Underwear is Expensive!

Yes, diapers are expensive, too, but I just wasn't expecting the hefty price tag on something so tiny. The first time I picked up a pack of Minnie Mouse undies and saw the price at the checkout lane, my jaw hit the ground. Luckily, big girl panties make excellent gifts from grandma; I've never seen someone so excited to open a pack of Doc McStuffins underwear before!

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All in all, I'm thankful she's potty trained, especially before our baby is born; I just wish I were slightly more prepared for the aftermath of potty training.

Did you run into any of these issues along your potty-training journey?


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5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Potty Training

Jessica Lynn is days away from popping out her second child—another girl—and is counting down the minutes until she can bend enough to tie her own shoes again. When she’s not dreaming of drinking wine again, she’s trying to keep up with her active almost-two-year-old daughter. She’s an accidental southern girl living in Georgia, thanks to the military; her husband just returned from his sixth deployment, and she’s extremely happy to have him back home in time for the birth. Jessica's ... More

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