One minute your toddler is running around in diapers and the next it’s time to think about training them to go to the bathroom on a potty. For me, potty training was defiantly a “wow, they grow up so fast moment” where one minute I was nervous about my two year-old leaving the house in diapers to her at 2.5 trained and wearing underwear (with a change of clothes) on trips outside of our immediate neighborhood. There were accidents along the way, refusal to try and even some regression, but overall the experience was incredible as she transitioned to this big kid phase. Here is what worked for us.
Note: Although these tips apply to my experience with my daughter, you can also use them for boys.
I defiantly started this process way before my daughter was ready to physically go to the potty. I started by talking about the process and showing her. As a toddler, this didn’t always resonate, so sometimes watching was a way for her to get familiar with the process.
Part of the talk involved reading potty training stories like The Potty Book by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Our whole family knew who little Hannah was and as my daughter got older she also started to get excited about her own present (potty) that Hannah also received. I also liked Potty by Lesile Patricelli that follows the hilarious inner dialogue of a baby through potty training and Everyone Poops, the classic story by Taro Gomi that cleverly celebrates the process of going to the bathroom. As part of the reading, we also talked about how she would (one day) use the potty and how exciting it would be. This meant days and days of this talk but getting her used to the concept of the bathroom was extremely helpful as seen through the eyes of a character in one of her favorite books.
The new throne
The next move was to get a potty. It doesn’t matter what brand you choose, but I opted for a pinkish, girly one that I knew would appeal to her. It spend a lot of time in our bathroom before anything happened but it was important for her to see it and know that one day she would be using it. I also let her “personalize” it and anytime she did pee or poop on it she would add a sticker.
Trial and Error
Now that you have the potty, it’s time to start using it. In the beginning, this basically involved me placing her on the potty and hoping for the best. As she got older, we practiced peeing in the potty by keeping her out of diapers and then placing her on the potty. This was a lot of trail and error (not to mention a mess), but eventually she connected that when she had to pee she should go to her pink, sticker-filled throne.
Although my daughter was psyched about potty training she wasn’t always successful. During that time she was also princess obsessed (still is actually) I enticed her to go more with super cool princess undies. She loved them and actually got excited about the potty. We had some of our most successful ventures out thanks to her big girl underwear.
This is going to me something different for every kid but what worked for me was to create a sticker wall where every time that she peed or pooped in the potty she would get a sticker. When the entire blank sheet of paper was filled up we promised her ‘something special.’ This really helped her to get excited about her bathroom accomplishments as a new sparkly sticker made it’s way on her poster board.
Watch and learn
A major part of her potty training success was because she was able to see other toddler do the same thing. In her school, her teacher enforced a potty time where they all went which carried over into the home. If your toddler isn’t in a school, having them watch (and even better with other toddlers) is a great way for them to connect the act of going to the bathroom and try it themselves.
See ya later diapers
When she was about 2.5 years old we said goodbye to diapers. It didn’t happen overnight but it was a gradual process as she was able to pee and poop in her potty. I also personally felt that if diapers were around she would always have the clutch and might regress. For some people this might mean pull-ups and then diapers for other it might be right to underwear. Bottom line: you have to do what is right for your family and that doesn’t always fit into what your friends are doing or what family members are telling you to do.