This past week I have had the pleasure of Potty Training my 2 ½ year old. It’s been a long time coming because she has been ready for awhile. By the time she was 18 months her interest to go potty in the toilet was there and by 20-24 months she knew when she was messing in her pants and started hiding to poop. BUT my husband and I were in limbo with our move so we decided to wait to PT (potty train) until then. Well, after 3 months of moving I decided to give it a go with potty training and I was NOT successful. I got distracted easily, wasn’t able to dedicate my day to her and when she had her first accident it was so traumatic that she REFUSED to sit on the toilet and at that point I decided that I was not going to make this a bad experience for her. Tried again a week later and she held her pee for 4 HOURS!!!! I definitely tried to soon for the second round and then decided that I don’t want to deal with a bladder infection. I needed to collect myself, get into my resources and seriously start talking to Sage about the new event in her life… Going potty like a big girl J
Today I am writing this post to put together the collection of information I have read for all you mama’s out there that feel you are ready to jump into this thing called potty training. It is true what they say “The Parents are really the ones in training. Your kid is just along for the ride” It’s so important that you, as the parent, are ready for this big day and can devote your time into it. And after your one big day you have to be on top of it until they are in a place to start telling you they have to potty. SO, with that being said… here are a few tips that I have found very helpful (collected from friends, family and the web)
**DISCLAIMER** I must tell you that this is pure opinion. I am no pro. This is my first time and only kid. My child is a girl and I have been told numerous times that boy’s and girl’s train differently or at least at different times. BUT I think the things I have noticed are pretty well rounded and I felt that it was put best in a blog. That’s where I got tips and I want to make sure I share them with you.
Pre “GO” day:
1.) Talk it up and prep your child in advance – We have been talking about being a big girl and getting rid of diapers for a few months. Most of our friends only got to talk about it for a few weeks or even days with their kids, which is still good. Every time we changed her we would say simple things like “big girls don’t have diapers. Sage you are a big girl and I can’t wait until you pee and poop in the potty”. We would also mention her favorite people that go potty (ie. Grandma’s, grandpa’s, close cousins and friends) We wanted her to be very aware of how GOOD it was to pee in the potty. PLEASE do not make your child feel like a failure for using a diaper. Only encourage. Encouragement goes a LONG WAY!
2.) YOU Prep in advance – Read everything that there is to be reading. Take your child with you when you go potty (including daddy for the boys!). Think ahead of when you have 3 days to dedicate your time and plan it. If you are a stay at home mom prepare during the week. If you work, do it on the weekend. Talk to your spouse about it and GET ON THE SAME PAGE! Here is a blog I read about potty training in one day: (I know it sounds crazy but this is a GREAT read) The Moe’s Family – These are the days
Here is a GREAT video I watched on some tips with potty training: http://vimeo.com/7643151
**In this video they talk about using a favorite stuffed animal to demonstrate going potty. We did that with Sage the very first time and she LOVED it. I did not show her again for this last and official time because she remembered and is also older and understood the potty situation**
3.) GO SHOPPING! – take your child to the dollar store, target dollar aisle, candy store, WHATEVER! By their favorite stuff or something that will perk their interest. Talk about why you are getting it and that it’s for every time they go potty. Make a “treasure chest” (or box or basket… whatever you have) and set it out where they can see it a few days in advance. Also buy your supplies. Potty seat, heavy undies and fun undies. And either pull ups or plastic pants for sleep times. Remember all of this is a big deal and if you are super excited about it your child will be too. Also make sure you have plenty of juice and snacks for throughout the day. Oh side note: Sage was VERY upset that she wasn’t getting a few of the toys that she picked out right away. I used that and said “I know your upset but I can’t wait to give it to you when you go pee or poop on the potty!”
4.) Make sure your friends and family know That PT is happening and have ZERO distraction on your first day- I think this is the most important part of the whole process. Facebook won’t miss you, your friends will understand and your mother will live another day. You HAVE TO devote your time to this child in training. If you have to get a babysitter for the other kids, DO IT! If you have to wait until your spouse is home all day, by all means wait.
DAY ONE OF PT:
- First thing in the morning- wake up BEFORE your child in training. Get your coffee in and whatever other things you usually do throughout the day (today is not the day to care about a perfectly clean house). Get child out of bed, clean them up from last night’s mess, put on undies RIGHT AWAY as well as just a t-shirt. Start talking excitedly about today’s adventures!
- Start pumping that kid up with liquid!- Milk, juice, water.. fill’er up! Set your timer for 20 minutes. Now the waiting begins.
- Once the timer goes off walk your child to the potty and sit them down with maybe a toy or a book. This is where the process really begins. It could take up to 30-40 minutes of sitting and waiting for them to pee. It could take a few tries. With Sage she didn’t go the first initial sit down so I sat the timer again for another 5 minutes and she still didn’t go. 2.5 hours after she woke up I finally got her to try and pee by encouraging her with a sucker as her reward! Find your child’s trigger. I am not against bribery in this situation. You will find what works for you guys but don’t leave them to sit on the potty alone. And be very patient. You may have an accident or two before they get to the potty. Whatever the case make sure when it does happen they know how awesome it is!!
- AND NOW IT’S TIME TO DANCE- Sing, shout, jump up and down, clap loudly make a fool of yourself!!! This kid needs to know the amazing-ness of going potty. Like I said before, encouragement goes A LONG WAY! Continue to do this every time they potty today. (it’s even better when someone else gets in on it J)
- Treasure box – Let them pick whatever they want. This is what encourages them. This is a special treat and you will keep telling them how lucky they are, how special they are and how good of a kid they are for going in the potty like a big kid.
- Call a relative or friend- We called daddy and Gigi after her first time so she could tell them about her PT. It was a huge hit and she now loves telling people that she went potty. (and thanks to those who got randomly told by Sage and STILL acted overly excited for her. You made her day J)
- Fill them up again with liquid and restart the timer- we went every 30 minutes after her first initial pee.
- Continue this all until the end of the day
Few extra notes
If or when your child has an accident DO NOT PUNISH THEM! I am not a “no spank mom” but I do not think this is the time to be hard on them and in turn making them not want to at all. If Sage is doing awesome and then down the road she has an accident because she flat out didn’t want to potty, that’s different. Make sure that your toddler knows that you are not mad at them but instead rush them to the potty and sit them down encouraging them that pee and poop are ONLY for the potty. (the blog I listed recommended using the doll to demonstrate an accident. So that’s a thought)
I know that every child is different. I know that some kids are ready by the time they are 18 months and some parents fully believe that waiting until they are 3 is the magic number. You do what is best for you and your family. I would have started earlier but we were moving and there is no way I am waiting any longer. I really believe in my heart that every parent knows their own child and when the timing is right.
Some people like using just candy M&M’s for a treat and some would rather toys or books. I scored huge at Target getting their dollar section at 70% off so I got a load of prizes for 30 cents each. There is no need to go overboard. You can make anything seem amazing to a little kid if you know what excites them.
Be patient. I mean patient like you have never had before. You will have to be flexible the first day because you are both learning. People only warned you about sleepless nights. No one ever warns you that potty training is the least fun in parenting. Well, so far…
You really, really, really should try to give all your focus on your child for the first day. Play games, do crafts and read a lot of books. Try not to get caught up in your house, on your phone or outside sources. You are learning just as much as your child. It’s important that you are there for them. Do your best.
We are using currently using diapers for bedtime just until she is accident free for a decent amount of time. We are one week in and Sage is now pooping in the potty so soon we will be diaper free. For some, using a pull up is the answer for the whole process. I strongly discourage this. The child needs to know what it feels like to mess on them. Having big girl panties to Sage was a HUGE deal!! Remember, encouragement goes a long way. Diapers pull the mess away from the body as Underwear allows the mess. I know it’s no fun to clean it up but I am certain you will PT faster without pull ups during the day.
If your child is talking about sitting on the potty, showing interest, or telling you all the time that they want to go potty don’t hold them back! Run to the store, get a bag of m&m’s and start the next day! Or at least continue to say good things about it until you can set a day aside to do it. Some people start small and sit kids on the potty right before bed at a young age. I think this is great and sparks a great interest. I’m hoping with our next child we can do things a little differently.
Pooping is a huge issue with potty training and always the last thing to happen. For some, that’s months out. Look at some positives when it comes to PT. They’re at least going pee during the day and probably staying dry from naps. If they are pooping and telling you THAT’S GREAT TOO! I know it’s a pain but continue to talk about it in a positive way. Some kids just get it, some don’t. Either way it will happen! There are a lot of great sources out there if this is a continued problem for you. Just stay encouraged mama. It will come in time. For Sage it happened just in the last 2 days. I threw her poop in the potty from her accidents and saved her prizes from the treasure box for not pee any more but poop. Again, huge hit!
Lastly if none of this works for you, THAT’S OK!!! You are not a terrible mom if you go against the grind. If you fully believe that kids can decide for themselves when they are ready then by all means wait. But when you do decide to tackle this mountain please do at least one thing from all of this… ENCOURAGE. I think Potty training hasn’t been that much of a challenge for us because Sage thrives off of encouragement. And what kid doesn’t?! At any age you need to pump them up with encouragement in any new venture.
Again, every child is different. Some kids have zero issues, some kids it takes months. On day two Sage started telling us she had to go potty and I never set a timer. This is not a normal situation. I still watch the clock and after an hour I take her if she hasn’t said anything. I made no plans for the whole week we were training but decided to take her to the pool on day 3 because she was doing so well. I knew she could handle a few hours out and about.
All in all I hope this helped a little for those of you who had questions. I am sure I didn’t cover everything so please ask questions. I am no pro but I have read a lot of resources and talked to a lot of mommy friends. Oh and of course, if you have a friend in this situation and you’ve been there and done that, just be a source of encouragement. Potty training is harder on the mama then it is on the babe.
And remember, no one will care how old they were when they finally potty trained the day they graduate from high school.
Power to the mama’s!!