I’m sure you’ve heard them. Tons of ridiculous potty training ideas that have been passed down through the years and taken as facts by many unsuspecting parents.
Things like “There’s only one right way to potty train” can really make a parent feel like a failure when that advice doesn’t work for them.
And yet people continue to pass on this advice as if they know that it works.
Perhaps some of it has worked for them, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Potty training is not one size fits all. Every toddler learns at their own rate and in their own time.
Likewise, every parent doesn’t have the same teaching style or level of patience.
With that in mind, here are 10 of the top potty training myths, busted!
Common Potty Training Myths
Myth #1 – All toddlers should be potty trained between 12-18 months
It’s just not true.
Although a lot of toddlers are toilet trained between those ages, not all will be.
If you have a child who is hesitant, resistant or just plain not interested, it will take longer to potty train them.
Potty training is not a race. Take your time and let Mother Nature work out the best schedule for you and your toddler.
Myth #2 – Toddlers can’t use the big toilet
Actually, it depends on what your child is most comfortable with.
Some kids like having a small potty that is just their size. It makes them feel more in control and less like they’ll fall in the big hole on the big potty.
Other kids have no problem using the big toilet. They like feeling like a big kid by using the toilet that big kids use.
Having a potty seat that fits on top of your toilet can make it more comfortable and less intimidating for your toddler if they want to give it a try.
And if you need tips for making the transition from potty chair to the big toilet, these tips help you transition smoothly.
Myth #3 – Once potty trained, they’ll be no more nighttime accidents
Learning to control their bladder is already hard enough, so know that it can take your toddler a while longer when trying at night.
Control of nighttime wetting is the last to be developed. – Paul F. Austin, MD, Director of the Pediatric Urology Basic Science Research Program at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston
Adjust your expectations and know that nighttime bedwetting depends a lot on your toddler’s maturity, age and how they are developing.
Myth #4 – All of your kids can be potty trained using the same method
I hate to break it to you but every child has a different personality, therefore they may require totally different methods of potty training.
You may be able to use the same potty training methods for several of your toddlers—it’s not unheard of.
But knowing that there will be others that require a unique approach will set you up for success.
Treat each child like an individual and approach their potty training like you do anything else you teach them. Do what works best for them.
Myth #5 – You’re a failure if it doesn’t work the first time
We’ll happily bust this myth!
You are not a failure if you try to potty train your toddler and it doesn’t work the first time.
There are many reasons why it may not work like you thought it would the first time:
- They aren’t mature enough yet
- It’s too soon
- They aren’t interested
- You’re using the wrong potty training method
- You’re trying to rush the process
- Underlying medical problem
Don’t be hard on yourself if your efforts don’t work out the first time. Step back, wait another month and give it another try.
You’ll be surprised the difference a month can make.
Myth #6 – You have to force your toddler even if they don’t want to
This is a recipe for disaster.
If your toddler isn’t ready, don’t try to force it.
They’ll become resistant and may not want to cooperate which will make it take even longer in the long run.
There are special circumstances where you may need to hurry and get them potty trained such as entering preschool, but if that isn’t the case for you, take your time and don’t force it.
It will make for a much more pleasant experience for both of you.
Myth #7 – It’s wrong to use incentives and rewards to encourage potty training
It’s okay to use incentives to encourage your toddler to use the potty. The main thing is to get them using the toilet consistently so it becomes a habit.
And if rewarding them with stickers and having a potty chart to map their progress helps to make that a reality, then that is a good thing!
Myth #8 – Potty training should come naturally to your toddler
Actually it shouldn’t.
Potty training is like learning to walk or ride a bike.
No one is born knowing how to do it. It takes time, practice and patience.
But once they’ve got the hang of it, they don’t forget how.
Myth #9 – Potty training should come naturally to you (the parent)
Again, this is not something a person is born knowing.
You may understand how it works if this is not your first child, but overall, you’ll need to practice and figure out the best way to help your child potty train just like they are learning as they go.
Myth #10 – You need lots of fancy gear to potty train
While potty training gear can be really helpful in making your job easier and your toddler more comfortable, it’s not necessary.
You only need a few things to get started potty training.
- A potty
- A can-do attitude
The Bottom Line
Don’t discourage yourself by listening to the myths.
You’ve got this and with a little patience, your toddler will be potty trained in no time.