I have vast knowledge on how to potty train your child. Said no.mom.ever. The things I know don’t know are vast and immense. One of them is how to potty train your child. But I do have a few observations on things that we did right.
- Don’t be in a rush. There’s no magic age to potty training. If you have this idea that your child has to be potty trained by 18 months old, all you are going to end being is disappointed and washing a lot of soiled laundry. You can’t force potty training. I know this to be true.
- Children, to some extent, will be able to communicate to you they’re ready to phase out diapers and start using the toilet. They’ll be able to recognize the cues their body is giving them about needing to go to the bathroom and be able to go before they have an accident. I won’t lie; most kids will need some coaching before they are able to catch on. Which leads me to my next point: consistency is key.
- When potty training begins, all adults and caregivers have to be on board. You need to be a team and work together. So if you’re going to consistently start making your kiddo try using the toilet every hour, this needs to happen not only at home but at daycare and also when you are out and about. #teampottytraining
- I think this is where pull-ups get in the way of consistency and the point where I tell my pull-up story. At one of our daycares I was fairly firm and adamant and NOT putting Lucan in pull-ups. I had heard from several other moms and sources that they just confuse and impede the potty-training process. Then we switched daycares and one day I came to pick up Lucan and bam! she had put Lucan in a pull-up without our discussion. I was annoyed and believe this hindered getting Lucan full potty trained.
- Positive reinforcement only. If you make your child feel sad, ashamed or anxious when they have an “accident” it’s going to make them even more nervous about going on the big toilet. Praise your child when they do well, comfort your child when they have an “opps” moment (actually that piece of advice is suitable for most occasions).
- Set an example. One of the best things that got Lucan interested in potty training was seeing all the other daycare kids line up and go to the bathroom. We carried on this example at home and let Lucan see us use the toilet. Side effect: always having a bathroom buddy. There is no peeing in peace. And Lucan will cheer you on if you poop. I suppose he picks that up from us in #5. :)
- Get underwear they’re excited about wearing. Lucan has some with fish on them that he would wear every single day if he could. Fortunately I’ve convinced him that washing them is a necessity.
- If you are in the early throes of potty training, hunker down and don’t leave home. Park a kid’s training toilet in the living room. Push juice and other beverages. Go pantless (for the potty trainee – not for the potty trainer). Expect to live at home for a few days and to be mopping up puddles.
- Set a timer and make them try peeing every 30 minutes. Then 45 minutes. Then move the time to every hour. And so on and so on. Expect some accidents at the 60 minute mark. But they’ll get the hang of it in due course.
- In the early days, we used to give treats when Lucan would try going to the bathroom. Then we moved it to just getting treats when he successfully peed in the toilet. Then when he would poop, we gave him a pony. No, just kidding. But we successfully phased out rewards for the most part. Sometimes when Lucan has a huge poop he still gets a gummy worm. But I never suggest it like some parents (ahem, cough: LANCE) do. Lucan gets plenty of sugar from his own conniving ways. I don’t need to add another occasion. One funny side story: I overheard Lucan tell Lance the other day he was going to try and go poop because he wanted a treat and we had already told him “no more treats.” Poop=candy. Silly boy.
Those are my ten potty training tips. Good luck parents. Don’t worry; someday they’ll get the hang of it. We all did, right? No one goes to kindergarten still in diapers, even though some days it might feel like it!