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4 Potty Training Tips I Learned the Second Time Around

4 Potty Training Tips I Learned the Second Time Around

Potty training is one of those eternal parenting challenges. Every time moms with babies or little kids get together, someone will bring it up. Someone will have had no trouble at all, while someone else will believe it’s never going to happen. Here are a few potty training tips I’ve learned about potty training the second time around.

potty training_child washing hands

Tips for Discovering How to Potty Train Your Child

Your second child is not your first child.

You might think that you’ve got this because you potty-trained your first child. But, surprise! Your second child is not the same person as your first child.

He or she is quite likely to have a unique response to the potty training experience. So whatever worked before…it might not work now. You might have to start from scratch when figuring out how to start potty training your second child.

Also, you are not the same parent you were before. With baby #1, you likely were focused and regimented with potty training. You read all the books and blogs on how to potty train. You made it a focus of daily life. This might’ve had a little to do with only having one child to focus on. Potty training with baby #2, as with many other things, will be less of an all-consuming affair.

Celebrate. Don’t cajole or reprimand.

With both my kids, praise was huge. Cajoling them to get on the potty or reprimanding them for hiding behind the couch to poop in their pants will get you nowhere. And some kids respond more intensely than others to harsh tones, making it even more important to accept mistakes and put all your energy into celebrating their successes. If it helps, consider it a Zen meditation on the acceptance of imperfection that you then can apply to the rest of your life.

Find what works.

When figuring out how to start potty training your child, first find out what works for him or her. Maybe a sticker chart is the way to go because your child is a very visual learner or enjoys the public praise and the ritual of putting a sticker on the chart. Maybe he or she could care less about that, but one M&M for #1 and two for #2 is the magic motivator. Maybe getting rid of all the diapers on a certain date works, like leading up to an upcoming vacation or on a big birthday. (Yes, I’ve done two of these in my house.)

Do what works. And work with family members and child care providers to get on the same page. Don’t worry about what anyone else might think about what works for your family.

Be OK with setbacks.

There will be setbacks. Lots of setbacks. Potty training accidents will happen. One day, you’re the best mom in the world because you got your almost-threenager to do pee pee in the giant scary public potty. And then he refuses to use any potty for a week, and you’re sure you’ll be sending him to high school in pull-ups.

Big successes don’t mean you’re all done, and neither do setbacks—no matter how big or small they seem. In the words of the immortal Dory, just keep swimming.

The bottom line? Be patient, be kind, and know that you’ll both get there eventually. And one day you’ll look back at this stage of life, diaper explosions and all, with wistful nostalgia.

Read more posts from Rachel including Transitioning to a New Daycare.

Rachel Jordan_Headshot

I’m Rachel, a corporate marketing professional, and mom whose days are fueled by music, podcasts, dark chocolate, and just a smidge of bad TV.




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