Potty Training Tips!

Is it finally that time? Are you going to take the plunge… you’re going to *gasp* potty train your toddler?! Breathe! It’s not that bad. For some kids it comes super easy. My neighbor’s daughter was potty trained in days, yes days. Other kids, well, it’s not so easy. My son has been working on it for about 4 months now. For those of us who have kiddos who aren’t so willing to join the potty bandwagon, let me shed some light on some training suggestions.

When to start: Is your toddler interested in the potty? Do they let you know when they are wet or dirty? Do they enjoy trying to use the potty? Is your kiddo taking off their diaper on their own? All these are signs that your toddler might be ready to start the exciting journey of potty training! My son really showed an interest in going potty, he liked the idea of using the potty. He never told us when he was wet or poopy, so that is a hurdle we are dealing with.  Whenever he would use the potty and do his business, he would get extremely excited! I decided at about 21 months that we would start ‘self-led’ potty training and let him pee/poop when he wanted to, not when I told him to.

So you’ve made the decision to start trying to potty train, now exactly that, where do you start? Some kids do best with the timer method, others do best with self led potty training. If you’re going to go the timer route, make sure you are consistent! Set a timer for an allotted time frame and take your little guy to the potty every time the timer goes off. When she does something on the potty make a big deal of it! Jump and cheer and clap. Get him excited about going potty!

Some kids do well with a reward method, however, some parents don’t do well with the reward method. Not every parent agrees with feeding your kid a chocolate every time they use the toilet. Often times you’ll get the kiddo who will make a dribble just to get a piece of candy and we want to avoid that! If you don’t want to get your kiddo hooked on sweets try a sticker board or using a healthy snack, like raisins, to reward your toddler. We used candy with my son and he ended up being the ‘I’m-only-going-potty-for-candy’ kid, so we just cut it out.

For my son, the self led option was the way to go. We would let him come into the bathroom with us and ‘watch’ how the potty worked. He often got to flush and for a 2 year old, that’s the best part! My son started out using his little potty (he even liked dumping his waste into the big toilet to flush it!). Eventually we worked on using the big potty. He didn’t enjoy the inserts to make the potty kid friendly, so we held him up while he tried to go. Eventually he evolved to using the big potty all by himself (at 26 months). He’ll climb onto the seat and stand to urinate… we’re still working on the #2 (I’m sure you can imagine how that process works while standing on the toilet seat..). For the most part, he just goes nakkie around the house. That way he can go when he needs to go, not me telling him to go. We’re still working on not peeing/pooping in his undies, he has some hold up with them, perhaps they are too similar with diapers? Other parents swear by the throw them in underwear method and when they have an accident they’ll learn to not do it again method. This one is not my favorite but to each their own right?

As far as potty training aids, it’s a by case recommendation. I personally feel pull ups are a waste of money for young potty training (as children get older and require them for nighttime/ naps, that’s a different story). In my two year olds eyes, a diaper and a pull up are hand and hand. Some kids might not see it this way, but mine does. We haven’t even thought about pull-ups yet! If you’re going cold turkey and want to move straight to underwear there are protective liners you can purchase to put over the underwear to protect your furniture! These also work great for the still learning potty trainer when you decide to take those first few outings in just underwear. The toilet inserts for the big potty, in my eyes, are the way to go! If you get junior used to using a baby potty and then have to teach him to use the big potty it seems like a bit of an extra step to me. If you just start out by going right to the big potty with an insert you’re saving yourself some time! You can also find toilet seats that have a toddler insert built in. These can be found at most local retail stores and would just install like a normal toilet seat.

Above all, a few KEY things to remember. Potty training is A JOURNEY. For most kids, it’s NOT an overnight process, in fact, it can take MONTHS to perfect. Boys generally are harder to train than girls. This however does not mean you should be ‘lazy’ or hold off on your boy because that’s what statistics say, or push your girl for that matter! Every child will potty train differently than the next, even siblings! The number one rule to potty training, BE CONSISTANT! You can’t expect your child to learn to potty train when you only enforce it on Monday’s and Friday’s because those are your less busy days.  When you make the jump to start doing it, KEEP DOING IT. If you don’t enforce it daily, regularly, you’re only going to frustrate your child. Make sure you’re able to commit 24/7. If you’ve got a busy life style, better leave a change of clothing in the car! If your child is in daycare, make sure you talk with your provider. Find out what methods they are will to commit to and make sure you sign a potty training contract. Kids can often get thrown off track if the provider and parent are not on the same page and again, all it’s going to bring is a lot of dirty underwear and frustration!