Potty Training Isn't for the Weak

potty trainingHere's what I've learned after potty training two children: It's an endurance sport. It's one that parents really need to train for themselves -- both physically and mentally -- before they dare go there lest they risk serious injury.

You think I exaggerate, but I speak from experience ... and pain. Oh, the pay-off is worth it in the end when you rid your life of diapers, but this is one instance in which that saying about "it's the journey, not the destination" just doesn't ring true. Here are some pre-potty-training training tips for parents to make the potty training journey a little easier:


1. Stretch!

I recently pulled a muscle in my calf from all the squatting I was doing while potty training my 2-year-old daughter. I had to give up my running for more than a week and undergo an ultrasound, because the pain was so great. You have no idea the physical dexterity it will take to maneuver your child in avoidance of disgusting public toilet seats, nor can you imagine the toll all that lifting her up to wash her hands 10,000 times a day will take on your back.

2. Up Your Cardio

When your toddler says go, it means go. That may mean sprinting through a theme park or for blocks to the nearest potty every time he has to go ... or thinks he does. Plus, pulling pants up and down, changing clothes multiple times a day, and doing 2,000 extra loads of laundry really can get you sweating some days.

3. Get a Handle on Time Management

Practice now. Because if you're used to skipping into your older child's car line by the hair of your nose or skating into work with just seconds to spare, you're screwed. Inevitably, right as you put him in his car seat, put the car in reverse, and set out to get where you need to go, he'll HAVE TO GO NOW. And let me just say, sometimes it can take a very, very long time for them to actually go after such urgency.

4. Practice Mental Relaxation Exercises

Thankfully, my daughter has been fairly easy to potty train in a lot of ways. My son ... well, let's just say I'm surprised I wasn't admitted somewhere for a long stay after that battle. Still, no matter how eager the pupil, you will still find yourself with an entire cart full of groceries, having finally gotten to the front of the very long line, when all of a sudden, she just can't wait. Even though you asked her 65 times before you went to the store, inquired another 35 times when you passed the restroom, and asked again 10 times if she was SURE she didn't have to go before you got in line. Breathe in; breathe out.

What preparations do you wish you had made previous to potty training?

Image via valentinapowers/Flickr

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