Potty training: those two words strike fierce fear into parents’ hearts.
For some reason potty training has become a stressful debacle among most families we know. It’s like a secret code we must crack on how to get our children how to get out of diapers.
I’m going to share how we mastered it, and not in any way to say “this is exactly what will work for your child too”. Heck no. Your child is different than my child, and you are the right parent for your child.
What I do believe in is sharing what works within a supportive community. We’ve always received great tips from fellow friend parents, because the old adage is true: it takes a village.
Our journey with potty training took about ten days, and then it was done. It was relatively pain free, and I hope the same for you. The biggest bit that helped our journey was consistency, and going forward with it full force when we decided to make the transition.
We started training right after our child turned two. We did not wait for her to have dry diapers or “be ready” per se, we just always let her into the bathroom when we went, did a little research/planning, and told her what was happening. These are the resources that aided our family in the process.
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Potty Training Transition: What Worked
Potty Training Without Tantrums walked us through exactly what we needed to do to potty train. The author drags on in the first half of the book on how parents have blown up the idea of potty training into a monster, and then debunks the myth. I highly recommend taking a weekend to read this book, and then form your plan of action. Author Rosemond tells us not to worry, to take control, and to lead our children into a successful transition. We learned about:
- Telling our toddler the plan: once you decide to potty train, wake your child one morning and “set the scene”. Tell them this is the day they become a big kid and get to learn to use the potty. Get ready to pump them full of healthy liquids and pick up your rugs!
- No underwear at first: I was unsure of this tip, but oh man did it work. You are trying to make your child slightly uncomfortable by getting wet, so they’ll be motivated to go to the potty themselves. We even made our child help clean up the accidents, and that was good motivation too.
- Putting the potty in an area that is easy to access
We moved the potty around the house as our child moved. In the play area, in the kitchen, outside, wherever it could be reached fast!
- Giving our child the power/responsibility
We did not ask our child to go- it was her responsibility and followed up with “good, there’s your potty, you know what to do!”
- No Rewards/No Disposables
Small praise was offered, but no treats. Disposables were not purchased. When we quit diapers, we quit cold turkey.
Let’s Talk Night Time & Naps
As I said above, even for night and naps we switched to underwear and had a good mattress pad and plastic training pants. It was messy at times, but our child did wake in the night and tell us she had to pee. Not every child can wake up, so you do what feels right for your kiddo with disposables. We felt like it was confusing to get her out of diapers and put her back in at night, so we just made the switch immediately.
Traveling with a Newly Potty Trained Child
We traveled about two months after potty training our child, all across Europe. The biggest switch we saw here was that we had to time it. I knew she could hold it for about 2.5 hours.
I did not ask her if she had to go, I just told her it was time to try, and carried her off to the nearest restroom. However, our traveling potty (see below) saved us more often than not from accidents, simply popping it out and making her try without having to stress about where a restroom was.
Munchkin 3 in 1 Potty
The Munchkin 3 in 1 Potty is ideal for potty training because you can easily move it where your toddler is, it also acts as a step stool, and the seat is easy to remove! The removable seat means that when your child is ready, you can start placing the seat on an adult potty and letting the waste go in that way. If they are not ready yet, you simply dump the waste into the potty with the handy removable basin. We even let our daughter dump the waste in the big potty, lifted her up to flush, and then she put the potty back together again herself. Great independence!
We swear by the OXO travel potty. It makes being on the go with your child whilst attempting potty training a dream. Especially far off places! We ended up taking our daughter to Italy a month after potty training, and we popped this potty out behind ancient wall in Pompeii, and next to the squat holes in public restrooms…even on a moving train. The little bag liners are great and easy to dispose of. She did not regress on the trip, and we did not have to stress out finding public restrooms.
I hope sharing our potty training resources helps you on your journey. If we have another child I’m well aware it could be a whole different story with that kid/personality. But listen Mama- You got this!
If you’ve already crossed this parenting hurdle, what helped your child? Were you stressed about the transition too?