Have you ever heard the saying “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” I think it’s more true than we sometimes realize. The influence our attitudes have over our child’s emotions is powerful and can have long-lasting effects.

This is especially true with potty training. Those two little words can elicit quite a response from some of us mommies — fear (will it be difficult? will I know how to handle it?), disgust (scrubbing pee out of the carpet isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time), stress (it can be time consuming and create extra work). I’ve even seen hopeless looks on the faces of friends when things don’t go smoothly.

But passing these negative emotions on to our little Trainee can cause extra delays, difficulties and drama. When you sit your child down on the potty and they look in your eyes and see your frustration, it affects how they view the potty. And you.

Potty Training Insider Tip # 2 – Put On Your Game Face

I don’t care if you burned the breakfast and just found out your fave TV show is getting canceled — when you walk into the bathroom with your kiddo, smile! This is an exciting time for both of you! When it’s all said and done, your bum-wiping days will be a thing of the past, so be cheerful, be optimistic, be ecstatic! I know it may seem easier said than done.

As I talked about in my last article, accidents and setbacks are part of the process. You are completely within your rights to feel frustrated, down-hearted and even a touch resentful as you rinse out yet another pair of soiled undies in the sink. That’s normal. But keep it to yourself. Dab your eyes, wallow for a minute in the pity you feel for the woman who has been reduced to having hourly discussions about bodily functions, then take a couple deep breaths. Think about your little one as a kindergartner — skipping happily off to school in her permanently dry undies (by the age of five, 95% of all children will have the potty thing down pat). Get your eyes back on the prize, and smile.

Your child will mirror your positive attitude and feel empowered by it! She will internalize the confidence that you are expressing in her. Your relationship will benefit from sharing this experience as you help her make her first major step towards independence. And you’ll go to bed at night knowing that you aren’t just teaching her potty skills, you’re teaching her life skills.