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How to Make Getting Ready in the Morning Easier

I am a PT working mom with a husband who travels quite a bit, a 3 year old and an 11 month old. My trouble is in getting the 3 year old up and ready for montessori school in the morning. He does't want to wake and we can't seem to get him to go to bed before 9pm. That's problem one, of course. Problem two is we are trying to potty train - have been since he was 18 months - and while he knows what to do and will do it later in the day, he fights us on using the potty in the morning. He asks to have his diaper changed instead! Problem 3 is he doesn't want to get out of his pj's to get in his school clothes. All the while, I am also managing the 11 month old and trying to get him up, nursed, dressed and fed. HELP!!!!

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The not wanting to potty in the morning is my daughter. We found that she will hold it till around 10:30am. So, I get here right up and dressed before we ever leave her room in the morning. She is a totally different little girl if we do it that way instead of getting up and eating and then changing clothes. My husband use to travel a ton and it does have an effect on the kids too, which could have something to do with his sleep habits.
Bless of luck!

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Hi J.,

I raised 2 grandsons through the potty training and we did not frustrate ourselves trying to train them. We bought them potty chairs they both liked, but in the end they trained themselves when they decided it was time to quit wearing a pull up. Don't worry and don't listen to others who might try to make you feel guilty. One thing that happened for our first grandson. He attended Montessori and his little girlfriend graduated into a class for children who wore underwear and didn't soil their pants. The next day he told us he didn't want to wear a pull up anymore so he could follow his friend into the "upper class" and I worried he would wet the bed, but he never again used a pull up or had an accident. He trained himself. The second child did the same thing about the same age. My sister in law runs a day care and trains them before they are one, so I had a little pressure but ignored it.

Why not offer him a choice about his bedtime. He can go to bed at 8 or 8:30. Maybe giving him some control will motivate him to go to bed at a decent hour. As for the morning, you need a routine you follow every morning if you don't have one in place already. I would wake your son up in plenty of time, so no one has to be rushed. I know when I'm rushed in the morning, my kids always get grumpy and hard to deal with and I get frustrated easily. I would tell him, if he refuses to get up, that breakfast will be on the table in 5 minutes and will leave the table in 15 minutes if he chooses to eat breakfast. I would follow through and throw the food away after 15 minutes and let him go to school without
breakfast if he decided to sleep instead of eat. Just be sure to pack him a big lunch because he'll be hungry, but I'll bet he decides to opt for eating the next morning instead of staying in bed. As for getting dressed, I would offer 2 choices-get dressed right now or go to school in his pj's and follow through with whatever he chooses. Let him face the consequences of arriving at school in his pj's. Good luck!


Have you considered working from home? I left my well paying job to be home with my daughter and have been working from home and much happier.

I had similar struggles with my older one (they are teenagers now) with refusal to potty train and fussing about getting ready to go. How it worked out: The dressing battle--I took him to preschool in his jammies and overnight soggy diaper and left him there--and then at the end of the day, said to him, "Let's not do this anymore"--amazingly, that worked with a very stubborn kid! He knew I would do it and the next time he started to struggle, I just said if he wasn't interested in getting dressed, we might as well go to school. Potty Training: My son was over 3 1/2, had lots of cool underwear, very articulate etc and refused to potty train. He was very interested in Museum School but they (and a lot of cool things) don't deal with diapers, so that was the key. Postscript: I wish I'd taken a more aggressive approach. Now I have a 16 year old that has had a history of control, insisting on his own way and I realized too late that I created this monster behavior. If I had it to do it again I would be certain that there were no phyical barriors to potty training and then play hard ball with it--stop giving him that choice. If he's old enough to request a diaper change, he's old/mature enough to wear big guy pants. It is such a control thing--what's happening now lays the groundwork for the future! Good luck!

My apologies if someone has already said this as I have not read the other responses. You may want to try Love & Logic. You can start by going to www.loveandlogic.com. They have books and audio books. This is a fantastic parenting method that is all about choices. It will help your 3 year old to learn to make choices (hopefully better ones) as well as help him feel like he is doing things in a little more grown up manner so he may cooperate more. For example, when you are trying to get him dressed in the morning, you can say "You can either get dressed or go to school in your pajamas." If he decides to not get dressed, take his clothes with him and let him go to school in his pajamas. Let his teacher know what you are doing and most likely it will only take once or twice for him to realize that he needs to get dressed in order to go to school. It really is a great system to use and can be used from toddler to teenager. It has helped me out tremondously with my 2 yr old. Good luck!!

I personally couldn't do what you are doing, with the age your boys are.So guess in that regard I'm no help,but is there any way you could change your work schedule where you went in an hour later, and worked an hour later??? If your husband is a good provider, is there a way you could take a leave from your work for a bit?? When children are that age, they change everyday, and the first 5 years are so important, it would be great if you could be home with them. I wouldn't of traded that for anything with mine, If none of this is what you want to hear is there anyway you could hire a babysitter to come to your home every morning, and you could leave the boys in bed etc. and they would have to be taken anywhere. I know this may be hard to come up with , but I had a friend that happen to manage to find one a few years ago.

I have shared your pain! The thing that helped me was when someone told me to make it my son's problem that he was refusing to get ready. You can make that anything that works for you, taking away a privilege, bringing him to school in pjs and diaper (discuss with teacher first), or entice him with his favorite breakfast or something fun when he gets ready in time. Of course all the ideas on getting yourself & the baby ready with time to spare are great. I do everything I can the night before school, instead of waiting for morning.
If bedtime is a struggle, try cutting out naps or at least shortening them.
On potty training, you have to make your own decision. I fought with my oldest trying to make him do it, when he didn't want to. I finally enticed him with an ice cream sundae before bed if he removed his diaper all day and had no accidents. This worked, but only when he decided to do it. With my second son, I tried potty training. Then I completely gave up and he decided (a few weeks later) to do it on his own at 39 months. He has never had an accident, except when he's fallen asleep.
It has been a tough road for us, but my oldest is now 5 and we are getting some headway. I have found Love & Logic to be a great resource. Overall, try to make your son's behaviors his problem and not yours.
Best of luck to you!


The not wanting to potty in the morning is my daughter. We found that she will hold it till around 10:30am. So, I get here right up and dressed before we ever leave her room in the morning. She is a totally different little girl if we do it that way instead of getting up and eating and then changing clothes. My husband use to travel a ton and it does have an effect on the kids too, which could have something to do with his sleep habits.
Bless of luck!

Please don't mind my advice. If you don't want, just ignore but...

1. While your children are young it is important that you get enough sleep too. Early to bed for all. Your child needs 12 hours of sleep or he will be a bear in the a.m. You need at least 8 especially if you are nursing.

a. You will need to pack everything at night.
b. Set out clothes so no guessing or searching or matching
c. You should plan an hour for yourself and a half hour for nursing and another hour for getting out the door. Yes, that's 2 1/2 hours in the a.m. If you don;t wear makeup or do your hair, 30min. :)

2. Why do people insist on potty training so early? What stress. Wait until its nice out and send him outside with no bottoms or cloth pants if you don't have privacy in the back yard. I am sure your little guy is just reacting to exhaustion in the morning if he is almost there now.

3. Best thing is to prepare for bedtime a couple hours in advance.
Start winding down with quiet time around 4-5p with dinner, bath (no tv), in the last hour, a quiet game of cards then a book while in bed. Make the room dark and quiet in the house. (turn down the news.)
Once in this routine they will get used to bedtime. If you need more help read "Child Wise." It should help with bedtime struggles too.

If you are worried about daddy time, maybe it would be nice for husband time while they are small during the week.

We've all been there so please remember, this too shall pass. They will get older and help you.
God bless, C

First, have patients. The more agitated you get the worse the potty training thing will go. Most kids see through rewards and learn to manipulate right back. Just stay calm and relaxed, go with the flow.

About the sleep thing, cut off TV watching in the evening, go for a short walk, turn down the lights and make the night time uninteresting. Start earlier, read to him, start the bath early, do everything earlier. It might take a week but getting him into his new routine once you make life boring at night is easier.

I don't know what time you get up in the morning and if you son that nurses can nurse earlier and be ready before your 3 year old. Many years back when I was on a tight schedule in the morning I found it easier to get up earlier and get myself ready before I got my kids going. Then I would get the one that was easier up first and deal with the problem one and go out the door. If you son doesn't want to use the potty in the morning change it to the afternoon or at night. As for getting ready in the morning dressing in the clothes the night before might help you a lot. Just try and switch things around until it works for you. But make it a schedule that is followed. The other S.

I'm sure you'll get plenty of ideas from current Mom's. I'm a grandmother and my baby is 32. I think you are trying to do too many things at once which is stressing you and the children. 18 mos is a little young for potty training so I would put it off till you can read potty training in less than a day and do it on a weekend when Dad is home to take care of the little one while you train. It is a fun training that works I did it with two of my children and it was great, easy, and fun. As for getting to bed try having a bedtime bath with that relaxing baby bubblebath and bath soap that is to encourage restful feeling. Then onto pajamas a bedtime story, prayer and lights out. One of my grandsons has to have music playing and sleeps with the radio on 94.9. It may take a while but should be able to move the sleep time up earlier which gives you some down time in the evening and more time for sleep so the little one will be ready to get up in the morning. Also, pack everything you need for the next day the night before and either have it in the car or by the door going out to lessen your stress on leaving. By all means keep everything calm and upbeat about a wonderful new day and maybe it will be contagious. Good luck! A.

The first thing I would do is get the 3 year old on a really good bedtime routine and maybe make bedtime earlier by 1/2 an hour.

After the kids are in bed, make sure to get everything ready for the next day. Lay out clothes, pack the diaper bag and/or backpack, make lunches, get breakfast as ready as possible. Every night before I go to bed I get everybody's clothes out, I make my daughter's lunch for school and I also get breakfast as ready as possible...lay out the box of cereal or fill up the morning sippy cups. I usually even put the diaper bag/backpack in the car the night before. Anything you can do early, do it.

My daughter doesn't like to go straight to the potty in the morning either. We have a reward system, if she goes straight to the potty she gets a reward. Sometimes the reward is a piece of sugar-free gum (that's her favorite reward), sometimes we let her watch a cartoon while she eats breakfast. Find your son's currency and pay it to him as a reward.

If you son still doesn't want to get out of his PJs, let him sleep in his clothes he is going to wear the next day. I don't do it, but I have a friend that does this every night. That means when morning comes she only has to put shoes on and not the entire outfit.

Good luck!

I have a 2 year old and an 8 month old so I feel your pain in getting the kids ready in the morning I work FT and have to brush teeth, go potty, eat, etc in the morning before work What I found that works best is to get up before your child. Ideally, get up at 5-530 and get ready yourself depending on how long it takes you. Then get your child up in time for the morning routine In our household, our 2 year will do what i say - this is not an option or there will be consequences. I always give my child an ultimatum If she does not let mommy change her into her pjs then she will get time-out I just follow through. We went through this the other day with brushing teeth She was pitching a fit! I gave her a warning and stated that if she does not stop the behavior mommy will have to put her in time-out. She did not stop and I followed through. After 2 mintues in time-out, she opened her mouth nicely for me to finish brushing her teeth. Not sure if you have tried any of these approaches; however, just a thought. Also, for bedtime she loves to read a book before bed and have me sing her songs while laying next to her. This is something she looks forward to doing. I start preparing her at dinner time - in 30 minutes we are going to brush teeth, get our pajamas on, kiss daddy good night, go potty, read a book, sings songs and go night night. It kind of is a sing song now at dinner. Anyway, by the time we are bed we have been talking about it for last hour. Also if she misbehaves and does not get into bed, I tell her that mommy can't read her a book if she does not listen. That usually works. If you have a child that gets out of the bed on his own, then I would face your back to him and sit on the ground - continue to put him back in bed without saying a word until he falls asleep. I used this technique when we first transitioned our daughter from crib to big girl bed. Never gets out of bed. Good luck!!

Dear J.:

This won't cover all the bases, but perhaps it can help a bit.If you can get up a bit earlier to cut down on your stress it may help (get yourself and the baby ready to go) and also give your son something to look forward to in the morning. If my son got up and got ready on time, we would spend 5 minutes on the swings at the park, go for a short bike ride, or play basketball. Rather than spending spending that time fighting, he jumped up and got ready as fast as he could. Then we spent a fun 5 minutes. Much less stress, we enjoyed each other, and it actually became faster to get ready in the mornings.

This brief activity break also helped him to focus and be cheerful all morning.

Good luck!

Ahh yes, my kids are almost the exact same age as yours and we are going through the same thing when he goes to MDO. Potty training isn't going great for us either so I don't know that I can really help, but I can give you a couple of tips that help us. First of all, I pack his backpack and lunch and get everything laid out the night before so I won't have to worry about that. My daughter just turned one last month and we weaned her right away - life is soooo much easier once you can sit the little one in a high chair to drink their milk - so get him practicing on that sippy cup with some water or juice now so you are ready. That really makes a huge difference. As for the 3 y.o., I admit it - I use bribery. He was getting bored with Cheerios for breakfast so I started letting him have some of my Special K with Berries. Now when he wakes up he begs for "Cereal with strawberries." Having a delicious breakfast waiting helps get him moving. He adores two other things - one I am proud of and the other not so much... I offer him two treats to get dressed and ready in the AM - 1) a Vitamin (he thinks they are treats), and 2) a sip of mommy's coffee. Yeah, I know the coffee isn't great, but he loves it and will do just about anything for that one little sip. I usually have my coffee before he gets up so I just leave a tiny mouthful in the bottom of the cup for him. When he doesn't want to get ready in the morning I remind him about his vitamin and coffee, and it almost always gets him to cooperate :)

Just remember it will get better!

I have one suggestion that worked for me when my oldest son was in kindergarten. His problem was deciding what he wanted to wear in the morning - even if we picked out his clothes the night before - he still had issues in the morning. Believe it or not, I started dressing him the night before and letting him sleep in his clothes. Saved lots of time and decision making in the morning. Yes - he did look a little wrinkled, but ,most of the clothes he wore at that age were cotton knits and it wasn't that bad. Kind of crazy, I know, but you do what you have to do to make things work. He finally got over the clothing issue and by the end of Kindergarten, he was able to dress in the morning. Sleeping in his clothes for several months saved us lots of frustration.

He may be too young to potty train. If he's not ready, then he won't do it. It seems like you've been doing it for a long time, so it just seems to not want to do it.

You are the parent, and you must set his sleep schedule. He needs at least 12-14 hours at night for sleeping. It just seems like he's too tired in the morning. Start putting him down earlier.

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