photo credit: @paxton.beau
Potty training can be one of the most intimidating experiences in parenthood. Parents are bombarded with advice, shamed for not doing it in enough time, and pressured to use certain methods. Not to mention, the joy of buying those cute little newborn diapers are long gone and now you are just ready to move on to the days where you no longer have to spend your entire paycheck on diapers. The good news is, we all survive potty training! It may take six months or a year but at the end of it all, we all see the light at the end of the tunnel and our little ones successfully accomplish another huge milestone in their life. If you find yourself embarking on this new journey (or have been there for the past couple of months) these 9 Easy Tips For Stress Free Potty Training will be right up your alley.
1. Patience Is Key: The first key point of potty training is patience. Believe me, you are going to need it. Popular to contrary belief, your child will not be completely potty trained in three days (we will get into this myth next). Start the journey by anticipating those moments of pure frustration, wet floors, poopy blowouts, and irritated toddlers. Potty training is a learning experience for both parent and child. Always remember, your toddler is trying their hardest to learn. Go at their pace and do not rush a thing.
2. There Is No Such Thing As 3-Day Potty Training: Yes, you read that correctly. When we began potty training shortly after my daughter’s second birthday, I found myself reading every article online that promised she would be completely potty trained within three days if I just subscribed to their fool proof method. I was almost tempted to even buy into some of these webinars and e-books. My sense kicked in and I began to weigh the facts. It took my daughter months to completely learn almost anything I taught her. How on earth would she learn in just three short days to pee and poopey in the potty? I called bull and decided to apply tip number one and start my own way. I will say this, if you are prepping your child to use the potty, chances are they can gather the concept within three days but please believe you will still have a pissy child if you decide to jump right into panties. Critics, stone me if you want but be honest- IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!
3. Rewards And Incentives Pay Off: I am going to say the thing you are not supposed to say. Potty training a child is very similar to potty training a puppy. Yes, I said it. No, I am not comparing your toddler to a dog. But the truth of the matter is this, we all work a little harder for a reward. For my child, it was cheese. After every successful potty, I would break her off a little bit of Sargento cheese and she eventually began to put two and two together. Cheese for poopey? Yes, please!
We also incorporated some great learning videos, songs, and games to teach incentive. One of my favorite teaching tools was Elmo’s Potty Time DVD. Find your child’s favorite character and I guarantee there is a potty dvd to go along with it. We prepped for about six months before we started actually training so that she could grasp the concept. Along with the Elmo dvd, we also used a Minnie Mouse potty. When she “flushed”, Minnie let out some obnoxious song. Annoying to me, pure joy for my daughter.
4. Incorporate The Help Of Family Members: Children learn best by example. If there are older siblings in the house or just Mommy and Daddy, allow your child to watch you use the potty and sit them on their pot when you are using it even when they do not have to go. My fiance’ even began to use the potty sitting down when he was on potty duty. Encourage your child by fully supporting them on this journey. Clap for them, read to them, show them how to wipe, flush, and wash their hands. Chances are, they will copy you if you do it too.
5. Back To That 3-Day Training Method, Clear Your Schedule For A Few Days: The best way to start your potty training journey with a bang is to literally do everything around the potty. Give yourself a weekend, lock yourself in the house (buy some wine mamas) and cater to your child. We placed our potty in the livingroom in front of the television and sat her there. For three days. You can say we went a little miitary style on the training but it definitely worked. She ate while sitting on the potty. We did learning activities while she sat on the potty. She played with her toys while sitting on the potty…well, you get the point. I will be honest, the first day was rough because what child wants to sit on the potty all day long? It was a lot of chasing her down the hallway and placing her back on. By day three, they are so anxious to get up that they will do anything not to have to sit there all day long again. Including sitting on the potty to pee.
To guide this along, try this: On the 3rd day, allow your toddler to move around before placing them on their potty. If they have an accident, allow them to help you clean it up, and place them on their potty. Allow them to sit there for a short amount of time (ours was about three minutes) to help them understand that if they have an accident, they would have to sit back on the potty and do their activities. After Kamryn’s second accident, she began to take herself to the potty to avoid having to stay there longer than she wanted to.
6. Watch For Signs: Children are ready to potty train at different ages. Potty training takes a lot of comprehension skills so a twelve month old may not understand what you are trying to do if they do not comprehend why it is important. Comprehension is the biggest sign to look out for. Some other signs that your child may be ready to use the potty are imitation. You may notice them copying you in the bathroom, sitting their dolls on the potty, or even finding more interest in hanging out in the bathroom. One of the yuckiest signs to look out for is the infamous diaper slinging. If you notice your child has suddenly found a fascination with removing their diaper and throwing its contents around your home, it may be time to move on to potty training.
7. Do Not Believe The Hype: I get it. We all think our children are the most advanced little humans on the planet. The truth is, they all kind of get it around the same time. The average age for girls to be potty trained is 29 months. For boys, 31 months (www.med.umich.edu) So next time your competitive best friend brags that her baby was completely potty trained at 11 months, just laugh and let them enjoy their moment. Bless her heart.
8. Free The Bum: Pantless potty training is best! Plus your child will LOVE it. When your toddler is learning how to use the potty, chances are they will not have time to go through the difficulties of pulling down their training pants. Go ahead and prep for this adventure by keeping towels on your floors, buy lots of cleaning supplies, and look down when walking. Believe me, stepping in poo is no fun. When they do have an accident, be sure not to scold too harshly or reprimand them. They are learning! Show slight disappointment and allow them to help you clean up the mess. They will understand that peeing and pooping on the floor is a no no and it does not make mommy very happy. (You will not scar your child by enforcing this type of discipline.)
9. Be Consistent: Once the early stages of potty training wears off, you will feel the burn of missing the diaper. Especially at 4am when your child is screaming that they have to go potty. As easy as it may be to put a diaper on them at night, use a pair of training pants and get up with them to use the potty. If your child is advanced enough to do it on their own, use a nightlight to help guide them to the bathroom or place the potty in the room with them. On trips away from the house, take a portable potty with you in the car so you can make abrubt stops when all of sudden they realize they have to pee after you just asked them in a public restroom. Can you tell yet that I am speaking from my personal experiences? Potty training can take up to a year to be completely accident free. Buy lots of panties, carry additional clothing, and stay strong in your journey. And always remember tip number one, Patience Is Key!