No matter how many times you’ve ridden the rodeo, there’s always one part of parenting that paralyzes the majority of mommas — and that’s potty training. So when you inform your friends and fam that you’re ready to pitch the Pull-Ups and try toilet training, you might get some antiquated advice. Unfortunately, by that point you might be willing to try anything… just so your kid can stop pooping in his pants already. But be warned, there’s a lot of outdated potty training advice to ignore out there.
But why is potty training so tough in the first place? Maybe it’s the fear that your kid is going to pee all over your couch, on the floor — everywhere. Or it might be that for a while, you’re going to constantly be Cloroxing and Febrezing every imaginable surface.
(And the laundry. Oh, the laundry.)
When it comes to potty training, there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy. “It’s important to understand that certain advice only works for certain children,” Alycia Pace, author of How to Potty Train a Dinosaur, tells Romper. “One thing that works for one child might not work for another.” So as you ready yourself to get rid of diapers once and for all, avoid all of the outdated advice below.
1. You Can Only Train Your Child During The Daytime
Back in the day, potty training was split into two shifts —daytime and nighttime. And you didn’t dare start training at sundown until your child was completely trained during daylight hours. “Books and experts used to encourage waiting until a child is fully trained during the day before starting to train at night,” says Pace. “But more recently, many mothers have found that it can be less confusing on a child to put away diapers and pull ups completely.”
2. Boys Are Harder To Train Than Girls
There’s a common myth that boys are so much harder to potty train than girls. But that’s not the case. “There is no conclusive evidence one way or another that states that potty training is harder for either sex,” Michelle Swaney, author of The Complete Guide to Potty Training, tells Romper. So don’t let people lead you to believe that potty training your son will be a struggle, because it might not be.
3. Boys Need To Train Standing Up
If you thought that you had to teach your boy to pee in the potty standing up, think again. “I actually encourage all kids to be potty trained on the toilet, before moving boys to standing up,” advises Swaney. Once your child has mastered peeing in the toilet, you can then have him try standing up — and, ahem, help him adjust his aim.
4. Only Women Should Potty Train Children
When more women stayed home to raise children, this was probably the case. Now, both parents can (and should) play an important role in toilet training. “Potty training is now successfully done by mothers, fathers, caregivers and even siblings,” says Swaney. So skip the stereotypes, and encourage your partner to pitch in on the process, too.
5. If Your Child Isn’t Trained By Age 2, You’re Screwed
Every child trains when they’re ready. And there’s really no amount of rushing that’s going to expedite the process. So if you hear stories of these heroic moms who have completely toilet trained children by the age of 1, well, they’re probably lying. “You are on par for potty training if you are starting at about age 2-3,” says Swaney. “Do what you need to do that will allow you to parent well, and best care for your child’s needs.” A-men.
6. You Shouldn’t Use A Reward
Yes, in an ideal world, you should never bribe your kids. But sometimes, a little “gift” can go a long way in getting your kid to poop on the potty. “In the past, there were stronger opinions that rewards are not helpful,” says Swaney. But they totally can be. You can set up a calendar with your child and put a sticker on it for each day that your child pees and poops on the potty. When they reach a pre-determined goal (say, a solid week of potty training), they might get a reward that applauds their efforts at eliminating correctly.
Potty training isn’t easy, and it can be made more difficult when old-fashioned advice enters into the equation. At the end of the day, though, you need to do what’s best for you and your child and be ready to answer your kiddo's call of doody, um, duty.
Michelle Swaney, author of "The Complete Guide to Potty Training"
Alycia Pace, author of "How to Potty Train a Dinosaur"