DISCLAIMER: There is not just one way to potty train. However, something you should know about me is I’m a big fan of going cold turkey. When we decided it was time to get rid of the pacifier, we threw it away. When we decided it was time to move out of the crib and into a “big kid” bed, we just did it. When we decided to potty train and no longer use diapers, we just got rid of them.
You may not be a cold turkey kind of mommy, and that’s okay, too! You have to do what works best for you and your lifestyle. But regardless of which avenue you choose, here are a few things to consider:
How do I know when my child is ready?
Potty training is not so much about age as it is about ability. I will say, though, that having potty trained three kids (two boys and one girl), I found that 28 months was the magic age. They were physically able to climb on the potty as well as communicate whether or not they needed to go. With that said, you know your children best!
There are three major signs to look for before deciding whether or not your child is ready.
- Does she wake up with dry diapers from a nap?
- Can he pull his pants up and down with little assistance?
- Is she communicating to you about having wet and/or dirty diapers?
If you answered yes to the questions above, then you are ready to get started!
Block off a three to five day period and do not leave your house! These first fews days are best spent naked from the waist down. Make sure to roll up rugs and stick to one small area of the house with a nearby bathroom or use a portable potty like this one. After your child becomes more predictable, I like this potty seat that has a smaller seat built into the adult one.
I like to start by using the portable potties because kids can sit on them while playing if needed. This is especially helpful for pooping. Many toddlers are anxious the first few times they poop on the potty. If you can both entertain them and distract them, they are less likely to “hold it.” If your child is a predictable “pooper,” stay at home during that time if possible. Poop is usually the last thing toddlers master. If your child is not predictable, the easiest thing to do is to sit him on the potty shortly after meal time. Once again, you can use things to entertain and distract him. Over time, this will result in the intended outcome (gastrocolic reflex).
Set a timer for 30-45 minutes and have your child drink plenty of liquids. I gave mine juice to help them go more frequently. When the timer goes off, have him sit on the potty until he goes.
Be patient. Expect accidents. And most importantly, prepare for the mess! Accidents allow them to learn their ability (or not) of control. Once your child gets into a rhythm, you can slowly reintroduce clothes while still setting the timer.
While on the go, you may want to bring the portable potty (great for girls). I put mine in the back of the van for emergencies. As time goes on and your child learns how to control the urges, accidents should happen less often. Just make sure to travel with a change of clothes and a grocery bag for the mess.
Hang in there, mama, and know you’re not alone in the potty training journey! What tips and tricks worked for your family?