I recently shared our potty training success story on another parenting blog, and I have had so many requests to share it here too!! So here ya go! Feel free to email me for more specific questions, advice, or just moral support!
How Potty Training Worked for Us - Twice!
Let’s talk potty training! If you think that your child may be ready for potty-training, he/she probably is! Signs that your child may be ready to move from the changing table to the potty chair include: interest in the potty, removing diapers after bowel movements, waking up dry at night, asking to sit on the potty, or just climbing up their on their own! Generally most websites recommend between the age of 18 months-24 months, but please remember that every child is different! This training can definitely work before or after those ages.
If you are prepared with the appropriate supplies, knowledge, and attitude, potty training will be much easier on everyone! There are several methods used for training your child to learn the appropriate cues for using the potty. I want to share my method that worked well for us - twice!
3-Day Intensive Potty Training Method:
Goal: To knock potty training out in 3-4 very focused, concentrated, and prepared days.
- Preparation - Stock up on at least 15 pairs panties or underwear. This is a huge part of making the change from “baby to big girl/boy”. You can even let the child pick out their own underwear prior to the training to get excited! You’ll need some kind of reward, like M&M’s, stickers, jelly beans, etc. for when they actually “go” in the potty. A few tiny toys or gifts are great for moments when you are very proud of them! Accidents will happen, so have towels, flushable wipes and carpet cleaner on hand and ready. You’ll need a baby potty or seat, and it’s not a bad idea to have an extra one for car rides/trips when you’re ready for outings. For fluids, have some fun drinks, popsicles, juice boxes, anything that will get them excited to drink throughout the day! Cut fluids off 2-3 hours before bedtime, if you want to implement nighttime potty training.
- On the morning of Day 1- Make a big deal about “throwing away diapers" for during the day (or donating them) and let them be a part of that process. Take them to bathroom, show them the potty, explain what the process will be like from now on, what goes in the potty and why. This will also help keep you accountable if/when you want to turn back to diapers!
- Be ready for the day (shower, teeth brushed, breakfast ready), so you can give them your full, undivided attention and focus. You will be glued to your toddler throughout the day, doing activities, coloring, sticker books, playing, even chores, with them right by your side. Being at home for 3 days may be quite challenging, so come up with some fun activities, recipes, and games to play together! This will be quite the bonding experience!
- On that same note, you’ll have to be prepared and willing to let go of your daily schedule and normal activities. Giving up your plans, phone calls, emails, work, social activities etc. will be difficult, but it is crucial to eliminate frustration and resentment during the training process. You’ll want to plan the 3 days consecutively, and I have found that a Wednesday through Friday is ideal, (so that you have a couple extra cushion days with spousal support, or a Friday-Sunday plan if you are a working Mom).
- Give them the control/independence they need as a toddler. They want to feel trusted through this process! Throughout the day, instead of repeatedly asking “Do you need to go pee pee?” (which can come across as nagging), tell them to “Let mommy know when you have to go pee pee!” “Remember to tell Mommy before you go pee pee in your panties.” “Keep your panties dry today!” You’ll need to be reminding them of this approximately 1000 times throughout the day. You must catch them in the act of pee pee, and run them to the potty, praising along the way. They need to quickly understand the sensation of needing to go pee pee and poo poo. The goal is for them to tell you right they are about to release. Every single time.
- Positive reinforcement/encouragement! Children thrive on praise. Using words like “big girl”, “big girl panties”, “super job”, “you did it!”, “Mommy is so proud of you!” are all wonderful and positive phrases to say throughout the day. When there is an accident, avoid using the words “bad girl” or “no, no no!”. Instead try “Uh oh! Your panties are all yucky!”, and “Let’s really try hard to keep those panties dry today!” Remind them again to tell mommy before you need to pee pee. Also, if there are family members or siblings that they will be seeing during these days, brag on your child! This gives them a wonderful feeling of pride and accomplishment! We even Face-timed grandparents so they could be a part of the verbal praise and adoration!
- Patience and Love! This may be the most important part to remember! Patience will go a very long way through this process. Be patient with yourself, be patient with your toddler. Give yourself grace, and give your little one grace. This is a season, and you will get through it! This is a big adjustment for both of you! Loving them through it all will give them a sense of comfort and safety, even though they are navigating new (and sometimes scary!) waters.
What potty training technique worked for you? I'd love to hear! For those of you who are about to start the process - good luck! You can do it!