Potty Training is an individual experience and should be based on each child’s needs. However, the following are some tips that worked for us …
Look For Readiness
-Regular bowel movements at same time of day
-Dislikes having wet/dirty diapers
-Dry diaper after nap/sleeping
-Peeked interest in others’ bathroom habits
Model The Process
Read books. Our favorite is Potty by Leslie Patricelli to introduce the concept. Follow up by explaining how the process works when they see you or older siblings use the restroom. If you’re planning on using a reward system, model earning stickers and/or earning treats/toys when you use the restroom. This will get them excited to try for themselves. When it’s “go” time, we’ve found the Arm & Hammer potty seat to work well. Using the actual toilet (with help from the seat) avoids the step of having to transition from using a separate chair.
Rewards such as stickers, candy, small toys, or special activities like craft time or outings with a parent, can enhance the ease of the experience as well as help create a potty routine.
I like how this Doorknob Potty Chart is ideal for hanging on the bathroom door. It also has benchmarks. For every 10 stickers earned, the child can earn a more significant prize. These benchmark rewards can change or stay the same. Maybe it’s a small toy they’ve really been wanting; or perhaps it’s earning special time with mom doing a special activity. Whatever you decide on together, be sure to communicate the prize regularly and reinforce that with each potty, they’re one sticker closer!
Cloth Training Pants
We decided to quit diapers cold turkey and use Gerber Cloth Training Pants. They look like underwear, feel like underwear — only softer, and have extra padding in chance of having an accident.
I knew accidents were bound to happen; but wondered if that might be the very thing he needed to help get him to the potty. Sure enough, the first and second day he had one accident. But by day three, he was more intune with his body and also didn’t want to experience ‘wet pants’ again. It only took two accidents and he was completely trained. Not sure this would work for every child; but for those who don’t like being ‘wet or dirty’ it works wonders!
Naps & Nighttime
Sleep seems to be the biggest issue (or at least, this has been our experience) when it comes to potty training. Gage wore diapers during sleep until he reached the point when he woke up dry.
At night, drinks are limited to milk at dinner and no full drinks two hours before bed. I think the protein in milk seems to help reduce the amount of hydration thus less urination during the night; but then again this is just a guess. All I know is milk at dinner works! Then, when Ryan and I go to bed, we wake him up to go potty again.
It’s bound to happen, so it’s best to be prepared ahead of time. At home, occasionally I’d remove the potty seat and help hold Gage on the toilet. I wanted him to be comfortable with me being there holding him for when he needed to use a public restroom. Sure enough, the first time we went to Target, he had to go. I was happy I’d done a dress rehearsal at home, so it wasn’t anything new for either of us!
A Few Words of Advice
Every child and their parents have different ideas on when it’s “time” to transition into potty training. My advice, listen to your instincts and your child. And then be patient with the process. Don’t plan to start the process until you have time to devote to it. Make it your #1 priority for that particular week and let all the other stuff wait. In the long run, it will save you and your little one time and frustration.
Be open-minded about the whole thing. Gage was ready to do #2 in the potty well before he was ready to do #1. So we let him go at his own pace. As soon as he had #2 mastered, he was more eager to work on #1. I was amazed he was completely potty trained in three days; just because we waited until he was ready. Some friends would suggest starting early (18 mo – 2 years) others said wait until three and it’ll happen a lot faster. I’m not sure there’s one right answer. I’m just happy it wasn’t rushed and their was no pressure. Just know that eventually everyone becomes potty-trained at some point. However, in the long run, the day, month, or year it finally happens will not matter — so no stress.