Potty training was by far my least favorite thing to do in this whole motherhood adventure. I personally thought it was way harder than sleep training. So many moms bragged to me saying that their kids practically potty trained themselves and that their toddler was trained in 2 days. What the what!? Well that wasn’t us and that’s okay because every child is different.
Today I wanted to share what worked and what didn’t. As I said above, everyone is different and that’s absolutely wonderful. The whole point of this post is to hopefully help some moms out there with the potty training process and share some tips and tricks along the way.
I’m also going to share a few mistakes we made that I wish I hadn’t ever done in the first place. I feel like it’s important to point these out because others like you can learn from them and not do them yourselves.
1. PICK A METHOD AND STICK WITH IT
I think that no matter how you potty train, you need to come up with some sort of strategy. There are lots of books and websites out there with different techniques. Awhile ago I shared some potty training prep where I talked about the book: Oh Crap! Potty Training. This is the “method” we went with.
Basically you find 3 days in your schedule where you can stay at home with your child to train them. You keep them bottomless and every half hour or so, have them try to pee on the potty. We went with this method, but it didn’t click in Elle’s head as easily as I would of thought.
2. CREATE A POTTY CHART
We thought this was very effective. It doesn’t need to be fancy or anything. Just grab a piece of paper and a pen. Then create an area for pee and an area for poop. Every time your child pees or poops you guys can either draw a star or put a sticker to mark it.
3. USE REWARDS
The book I read recommended NOT doing rewards, but I felt like they helped my daughter get excited about going on the potty. It doesn’t have to be anything big, something small works just fine. Think about what your child loves and go from there. My daughter LOVES chocolate so every time she peed on the potty I would give her 1 chocolate chip. Every time she pooped on the potty she would get 2 chocolate chips. It was very fun and exciting for her.
4. HAVE A POTTY BAG
In the beginning I noticed that my daughter really had no interest on sitting on the potty or trying to go. I could barely get her to sit on it for 3 seconds to try. I decided to create a potty bag filled with NEW books and small toys. Everything in it could only be used on the potty so it encouraged her to sit on the actual potty. If you are having a hard time getting your kid to sit on the actual potty then I highly recommend doing this or some variation of this.
A side note for pooping…as we all know it can take time so we sometimes would give our daughter the iPad to use while on the potty. I realize a lot of parents are anti-electronics, but It helped our daughter take her mind off the pooping part (some kids get scared about it) and created a much easier process. This isn’t for everyone, but just an idea I wanted to share.
5. DON’T ASK, INSTEAD PROMP
This is something I had to work on. You never ask “Do you have to go potty?” because as we all know, every kid loves the word NO. Instead you prompt them. You say “It’s time to go potty now”. After you work with you child a few days you will begin to realize when they need to go and designate potty times. Some potty times for us include: when my daughter wakes up, before she leaves for school, before or after meals, before we leave the house etc.
Especially in the beginning they won’t ever tell you when they need to go…or maybe they will, but Elle did not. You have to prompt them so that they don’t pee in their pants. Also never get mad about an accident. That is discouraging. Instead explain how next time let’s try to get it in the potty and not in the pants.
6. ALWAYS BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES
Make sure you are prepared. Always bring extra pants, underwear, socks, and even a top, as well as extra plastic bags (for the wet clothes). You really never know when an accident can strike so you want to be prepared. We also bought this carseat cover for the car incase she has an accident. It’s water proof and easy to clean.
7. DON’T FLIP FLOP
Once you decide to potty train, don’t flip flop your child back and forth between diapers/pull-ups and underwear. In fact, I recommend throwing all the diapers out and switching to pull-ups for naps and bedtime only.
Sometimes I would get nervous if we were going out to a nice restaurant, a long car ride, or a friends house and would put Elle in a pull-up. I now know that this is the wrong thing to do. This was basically sending a mixed message and confusing her. I’m just a nervous person and didn’t want an accident to happen in public. As soon as I stopped doing this, Elle became MUCH better at potty training with way less accidents.
8. TRAIN WITH THE ACTUAL TOILET AND NOT A BABY POTTY
As I said above, I basically followed the Oh Crap! Potty Training method and in it they suggested using these little potties. I get it, it’s way less intimidating than the larger one, but if I were to do it all over again I would just stick with the larger one. This is because once you train with the little potty, you then need to train them again with a regular toilet.
I would suggest buying something similar to this training potty seat (which we have and love!) and starting from there. You can start with little potties, but be warned that you will then need to potty train your child again to use the larger toilet.
So there you have it. A few tips and tricks when it comes to potty training. I’m obviously not an expert, but just a mom who recently went through the whole potty training process.