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Top 9 Parent Crap Beliefs (Potty Training Myths) That Need To Be Flushed For Good!

Jan 31, 2023

Agh. Potty Training. The often dreaded milestone all parents and toddlers will inevitably face. Maybe your doctor mentioned it at your child's most recent wellness check-up or your friends have started to talk about starting with their kids which has prompted your quest for potty training knowledge... only to end down a rabbit hole of conflicting advice and stories that has left you more confused and anxious as ever!

Sound familiar? Fear not! I am here to debunk the top most common potty training myths or what I like to call Parent Crap Beliefs... so you know exactly what to flush down the toilet so you can focus on the facts.

MYTH #1: Potty Training Will Take Less Than 3 Days

The reality is, having a child 100% independently using a potty for bladder and bowel movements takes more than just a few days to perfect. Potty training is a very complex task for young toddlers to master... and whilst you may see your child starting to use a potty in the first few days of starting, it can take weeks and months for them to really get in their stride. 

For many kids, it may take more than just a few days to begin to see any progress.. and guess what? This too is also completely normal!


MYTH #2: Children can't be trained day and night (at the same time!)

Children can absolutely be potty trained day and night at the same time! In fact, removing diapers during both days and nights has its advantages: sending a clear message to your child that they must listen to their bodies and can no longer rely on diapers to go! Kids are also generally sleeping a lot earlier than parents realize, so its very possible your child may be ready for those dry nights. 


MYTH #3: Once you start, there's no going back

Severe constipation, illness, mental health and no progress after a period of time are just some of the reasons for stopping and starting again at another date. So if you find yourself or your child in one of these circumstances, re-diapering is absolutely okay and something you should not feel guilty about!


MYTH #4: Your child needs to be out of a crib

Your child can be potty trained whether they are in a crib or a big bed! If your child is still in a crib, be sure to keep a potty nearby and crank up the baby monitor for when your child needs your help to go - in the beginning stages your child will need your help during the night regardless of whether they are in a crib or a bed.


MYTH #5: Its a matter of discipline

Wrong! Using discipline, pressure or reprimanding tactics can cause anxiety and fear, leading to more resistance and further toileting issues. Fast and easy potty training is about leaning into your child's desire for control, independence and body autonomy and setting your child up for success with adequate preparation before you begin!


MYTH #6: Your child will tell you when they are ready 

It's rare for a child to verbally express they want to start wearing underwear and use a potty. Instead, look out for signs of readiness and expose them to toileting as early as 18 months old to help normalize these new concepts and get ahead of fears and anxieties for when you begin!


MYTH #7: Children under the age of 2 are not too young

Whilst some children may begin to show the signs of readiness as early as 18 months old, children are not truly biologically ready until at least 24 months old. 

Before 24 months old, children lack reliable coordination and control of their pelvic floor and sphincter muscles, meaning they are unable to reliably hold in to reach the toilet, unable to reliably empty out their bowel and bladder fully and also lack a reliable sense of their urges… All of these skills are crucial to successful independent bowel and bladder control.

So if your child is under the age of 24 months and showing the signs they are ready... wait it out! Keep the interest and curiosity in toileting going by reading potty themed books, modeling behavior and role-playing going potty with their favorite toys... and once your child is over the age of 2, pencil in a date to get started!


MYTH #8: Boys take longer than girls 

There have been studies conducted that show girls tend to develop toileting skills before boys and also complete the process, on average, between two and three months earlier than boys -  though it's not always the case. In my personal experience in working with hundreds of families, this is a very small window and should be taken with a grain of salt! Potty training is a unique experience for each individual child, regardless of gender.


MYTH #9: Starting with a toilet versus a potty is more efficient

False! Although starting with a toilet avoids an extra transition from a potty, it is not necessarily more efficient. For many kids, a toilet is too big and can be intimidating for a toddler.. leading anxieties and resistance. 

For most kids, starting with a potty is more efficient as children are more open to using something that is appropriately sized. There are also many other benefits to starting with a potty first which you can read here. 

If your child however has a preference in starting with the toilet first, then by all means, go for it!

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