Potty Training. Those dreaded two words during the toddler years. And I mean DREADED. It is not until you start the process that you realize how overwhelming, how grueling, and how beyond frustrating it can be. (Unless you are one of those lucky parents who has a toddler who was potty trained in one day. If so, feel free to disregard this entire post and move on.)

Potty Training. The process that truly sums up all emotional feelings of a parent. From pride to frustration to excitement to anticipation to anxiety to overwhelm to disappointment to “finally, it’s done.”

Here’s the thing—there are about a million and one resources on potty training. I am sure they are all great. But here’s the other thing—the only way that it is going to work is if you do it YOUR way. I am here to tell you how to do just that; Potty Training Your Way.

I have summed up 5 of the most real tips for potty training. 5 tips that can actually be used for many different aspects of parenting. 5 tips that are meant to allow you to relax (just a little bit) and cut back on that feeling of overwhelming frustration.


  1. Work WITH your personality. Are you a laid-back, go with the flow type person? Maybe the 3-Day Potty Training method won’t work for you. Maybe you need to ease into it as slowly as possible. Are you a type A, go-getter personality? Maybe the 3-Day Potty Training method is your best bet because the slow gradual method will frustrate you too much. However YOU are wired, work WITH that. Don’t try it someone else’s way because it worked for them. You are you, and you need to do you. If a book says there is ONE best way to potty train, ignore that statement. That was probably the one best way for THAT Mom. But you, my dear Mama, are a different Mom. That way may be best for you, but it also may not be. There is no one best way to potty train. (Or really do anything in motherhood).


  1. Work WITH your toddler’s personality. While you need to work with your own personality, remember that your toddler may be different from you. Complicated I know. (As is all parenting, yes?) Don’t push that little person too hard in a way that may not work for them simply because you want it done. Also, don’t ignore the signs that your little person is ready to be trained simply because you aren’t. You’re their mama, you’re in charge. But the only way this whole process is going to go (somewhat) smoothly is if you are (somewhat) on the same page. My sweet girl? She was so not ready when I started her potty training. But the books? They all said that she could be potty trained by 19 months. So too bad. I was trying. It failed miserably, because instead of looking at my daughter and who she is, I looked at the books. Toddlers are not textbook my friends, don’t treat them as if they are.


  1. Ignore what everyone else is doing. Seriously. Don’t compare, don’t make it a competition, don’t stress because your kid is 6 months behind another kid. Ignore them and focus on you and your child. Another reason I started potty training too early? Because all my other friends with toddlers were doing it. One of my best mom friends potty trained with the 3-day method. So I decided I needed to do that too. It worked for her. So it would work for me, right? Not so much. My laid-back personality (plus the fact that I had a very needy newborn at the time) made it again, fail miserably. Again, I repeat, there is no one right way to potty train.


  1. Use ALL your grace and patience. This is the time, Mamas that we need to make use of ALL of that patience. This is also the time we need to give our sweet, little toddlers grace. Upon grace. Upon grace. Pooping on the potty is a BIG deal in their little minds. It can be scary and overwhelming and bring upon the most anxiety their little minds have ever had. They need all the grace. Just like we do, when we yell at them for not pooping on the potty (guilty). Remember – they WILL be potty trained. Whether it is at 3 or 5, it’ll happen eventually! (Okay, let’s hope it’s before 5.)


  1.  Love your toddler. No matter what, through this process just love them. Like I said before, this is a BIG step for them, and in big and new and scary steps and changes they need lots of love, just like we do. Use the potty training process to love them more. To be present with them. To be more focused. And to get to know them and their unique little personality better.


You got this, Mama!

Esther Vandersluis

Esther is a Canadian writing from Hamilton, Ontario, living in a sea of pink as a girl mom to three. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beautifulalarm) where you will find writing for stay-at-home moms, moms with littles, sleep-deprived moms, moms feeding babies, and babies with failure to thrive, all under the umbrella of faith in Jesus Christ.