Lessons Learned from Potty Training During the Pandemic

Pandemic Potty Training

Earlier this spring when I was home with my kids and my husband during the quarantine, we decided it was the perfect time for potty training! I will tell you, the nice thing about potty training during the pandemic was that it gave us something else to focus on and worry about other than what was going on in the news. Also, it helped that our daughter was showing signs that she was ready to be potty trained.

Here are some of the lessons that I learned along the way from potty training.

Have a plan for potty training.

Having a plan means knowing when you’re going to start, communicating that plan to all those will be helping with the potty training, and making sure that you have all of your supplies. Are you buying some sort of toddler potty? A seat over the existing toilet? Pull-ups? Are you buying some sort of treat? Candy? Stickers? Something to reinforce using the potty for going to the bathroom.

Have fun drinks.

Find fun things to drink. In our house, our kids typically drink milk or water. Juice boxes are a special treat. When we were putting training, I stocked up on juice boxes so that I could give them to my kids and allowed them to have as many as they wanted. By letting them choose what they wanted to drink, it helped with her having to go to the bathroom more and practice going to use the potty.

Make it a family affair.

If you have other children in the home, especially older children, you can involve them in the process. Something that was really helpful for us was that we included our 5 ½-year-old in the potty training. He was able to earn treats for helping to teach his sister with potty training. He helped by asking her if she needed to go to the potty, helping her wash her hands, and praising her for doing her job.

Accidents happen.

Cleaning HouseDo yourself a favor and buy lots of underpants and cleaning supplies. Accidents happen when it comes to potty training. Instead of using pull-ups during the day, we transition right from a diaper to underpants. This helped with feeling when she had to go to the bathroom. When we first started potty training there were a lot of accidents. It was helpful to have offered multiple packs of underpants.

Limit distractions.

When it comes to potty training, we found it was much easier to focus on potty training when we, as parents, weren’t distracted by other things around us. This means that we made an effort to stay off of our smartphones and tablets as well as limit the amount of television we watched during the day.

Celebrate small success.

Praise and encouragement go along way with kids. Every time our daughter would use the potty or go a day without an accident, we would make a celebration out of it. We would give her lots of attention for doing a good job and could earn a couple of mini-marshmallows as a special treat.

Have a sense of humor.

Give yourself a break, you’re going to spend a lot of time cleaning up accidents but having a sense of humor really helps.

You can do it too!

Yes, I know. Potty training can feel daunting especially during a pandemic. However, I will tell you being able to cancel the monthly diaper delivery from Amazon was worth it. Overall, it took our daughter about two weeks to be fully potty trained. In my opinion, the short-term effort that goes into potty training is worth it. I don’t miss changing dirty diapers.

Amy Patenaude
Amy is a Licensed School Psychologist and Parent Coach at A Child's Path, PLLC. As a Tampa native, Amy loves the sunshine and being outdoors. Amy works with children and their families in her private practice. Amy married her college sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two children who are 6 and 3. A self-proclaimed bookworm, Amy loves to read research articles to better understand child development, the parent-child relationship, and how we can foster success in youth. Amy believes that ALL parents love their children. Amy’s goal is to be a cheerleader to all parents on their parenting journey. By making small changes with our parenting practices, we can have a big impact on our children. https://achildspath.com