I was asked via email recently some tips on potty training. As I wrote my response I thought “you know… I cant recall if over the years I did a post about this, but I should!” So I sat down after sending that email and decided to write out a post on my tips to potty training.
Before we dig in. A small disclaimer. I AM NO EXPERT but I am a mom of 4 boys, 3 of which all potty trained either slightly before age 2 or right after age 2. All of which trained rather quickly and by using the same methods.
So, my ability to train must not be to terrible :)
Caleb my 1st born was 26 mo when he trained. I swore Id never have more than 1 kid in diapers at a time. Taite my 2nd born was born right when Caleb got trained. Perfect timing. :-D Taite trained unusually early at 21 months old. However, he seemed to do everything early . From walking, talking to sleeping in a big boy bed by 16 mo. So it was at no surprised he completed that milestone early as well [Taite, btw is the one featured in the images on this post – He’s now 8 year old]. Owen I forget his exact age but it was over age 2… possibly closer to age 3. He could have trained earlier but I kept putting it off since I was busy with two other kids.
Before you start training your tot. One thing to be aware of is knowing if they are ready. I have found that when my toddlers start staying dry for hours… that they are ready. Also some of the time, they will show interest in sitting on a toilet. Some of my kids did this but not all. The “staying dry” though for me is the real evidence and if your toddler can go an hour without peeing in his diaper, you better believe he can go an hour in underwear.
So lets get started….
6 Simple Steps to Potty Training your Toddler:
– I always found that setting aside a week to train was always best. You don’t want to have a hectic week and expect to train your child in the midst of school plays, field trips and work. You want to plan on tackling this when you know you can be home for a good majority of the time.
2. Go ahead and ditch the diapers.
– When you want to begin. Ditch the diapers “almost” completely. By this I mean, while lil man or lil lady is awake, he or she should not be in a diaper. DO NOT BUY PULL UPS! They are a waste of money and do nothing more than what a diaper could. The only diapers you will want to use are during “nap time” and “bed time.” That portion of the training comes later.
3. Take your tot shopping for some big boy undies or panties.
– Let your cutie pick out their choice of undies. This will make them feel involved and special… and also, who would deny their favorite Thomas the Train underwear. It is just one more encouraging way to get them on board. If your kid could careless what the undies look like, I do recommend these. They are thicker and help catch some of the pee in the case of an accident.
4. Buy a toddler toilet seat. NOT a potty.
– This is a matter of personal preference here… I at one point had one of those cute potty seats that sat beside the “normal” toilet… and while those are cute and seem to make sense… to me, they did nothing but stink, result in my having to clean one more toilet and created fear in my child when it came to “normal toilets.” So to me, starting out your tot with a “potty seat” that sits onto a “NORMAL” Potty, is the way to go. You can find these anywhere. Walmart sells them as well as amazon. There are lots of choices. If you have a boy, I would suggest one with a tiny “pee shield.” Here is one that has it. The only time I would ever use a “porta” style potty, is in the car. :) For the car I do keep a Baby Bjorn Potty available for those training periods. :)
5. Buy some reward treats to encourage sitting often.
– When I begin training I always try to make going to the potty fun. I try to never make it seem like a punishment… and one way to do this was to always offer a treat when they went. Our drug of choice was gummy bears :) – but you could use M&M’s or whatever candy you would like. Don’t make the reward a strawberry tho. I mean really, this is potty training. Give that kid some sugar, or something hah… When my tot would sit, even if he didn’t pee, I would give him a gummy bear. I would then tell him if he wanted to get “TWO” gummy bears, he’d have to pee. If he wanted “THREE” gummy bears, he’d have to poop. You better believe when they did poop and I handed them 3 gummy bears, they got super excited.
6. Plan to use a timer.
– Now this is really the method portion of “Steps” in training. For me, the key was finding out how long my child could go between peeing. You will not know exactly how long until you start. A good “general start time” to go by though is 20 minutes. So lets say your child wakes up. That morning is the day you want to start training. So get super excited, smile a lot and tell your little one “Today we get to wear our big boy undies! First thing we have to do though is try to go potty.” I would then let them sit on the potty for just a moment. Ask if they have to pee… make a “psssss….” sound and if they went great, if not, its okay too. I would then set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, put your toddler onto the potty. Making again a big deal about it and getting super excited. Say things like “Its time to go potty. Lets see if we can pee pee.” and then make the same “pssss….” sound. I find the sound effects help btw, but those are obviously optional. :) If your child went pee, awesome! Re-set the timer for 20 minutes again. If after 20 minutes your child doesn’t pee… that is fine too. What I would do in these instances is just set the timer for an additional 15 minutes or so. Then after that time, Id put him on the potty again. So 35 minutes had passed. If he went, great, if not. Again, just add on some more time. Eventually what happens is you get a general idea as to how long a time period your kid can go without peeing. I remember my children being able to go 45 minutes from the get go. You obviously will want to factor in how much they drink too. :) If they drink a lot of juice or water… then take that into consideration and take them sooner.
For me this timer method worked really well.
The gummy bears never failed me :) and always encouraged my kids. Most of my children would train within a week or so. Once they grasp the concepts of peeing and pooping on the potty, that is when I started letting them go through nap time with out a diaper. The night time “wetting” thing is also something you may not be able to “surpass” initially with potty training. I have found that with boys especially, it can take YEARS for them to go through the night without wetting. In fact some Doctors say its totally normal for a boy to wet their bed to age 10 without much concern. Crazy huh?
Hopefully this list was helpful to those reading.
Potty Training as scary as it seems to “new moms” – trust me, its not that bad.
Just stay positive.
Encouraging to those lil tots.
… and try to make it fun.
& one last tip. Allowing your kid to go pantless is a good idea the 1st few days. [Not naked, pantless. Finding a pile of poo on the floor isnt ideal, so undies will at least keep from this happening – pantless, good, naked, not so much.] If its winter, turn up the heat if possible. When you start training any child, there will be accidents and a good many to begin with. Its totally normal and begins to familiarize them with what is going on. So don’t sweat a few puddles haha… just maybe place some towels on your sofa and prepare a bit for the idea of this happening… cause, well, it will. :)
& below is a list of a few extra’s I like to have for training “outside” the home.
- Undies that snap down the side. This way if they have a poo accident while out, you aren’t ripping underwear off with scissors or slidding poo down their leg as you attempt to salvage a pair of underwear. (keeping it real) So underwear that snap down the side are nice to have for outings. This ETSY shop had a lot of cute ones.
- A wet bag to put any soiled clothes in. Accidents will happen… having a washable wet bag is nice to have handy for those times. I have found ours invaluable!
- Foldable Potty Seat if your little one is skittish with big potty usage… but will use the toddler seat that sit on top of a normal toilet at home – yet while out refuses any toilet sitting without a “seat.” They do have FOLDABLE potty seats you can take with you. We did have to use one of these for Caleb, who was super skittish with toilets after a scare at an air port when a toilet automatically flushed on him. :-\
& I think, finally that is all. HAHA. I plan to start training Reed very soon. He is ready. I just keep putting it off. I plan to order some of the trainers above for him (at the etsy shop). I will for sure let you all know how I like those if you want.