This past week, I potty trained my daughter. I was off for April vacation and decided that we were both ready. Tip #1- Make sure you are both ready. Last summer she was just turning 2 and she started to show interest in the potty so I had her naked for most of the summer outside on the deck. I put a little musical potty outside and rewarded her every time she went. Keep in mind I also had a newborn. The problem was that she wouldn’t use the potty if she had undies on, only if she was naked. Anytime we would go out I put her in a diaper because we didn’t master using the potty at home and I wasn’t ready for accidents with a toddler and a newborn in tow. The summer flew by and it was time for me to go back to work and both babes went back to daycare. I kiboshed the potty training and realized we weren’t ready. I also read some articles about how potty training too soon can backfire quickly and also cause UTI’s.
Tip #2- Be patient and don’t rush the process. Now mind you, we have “potty trained” a few times and then pushed back because it just wasn’t the right time. Disclaimer- there really is no RIGHT time. Fast forward to this past week. I was off and ready to dedicate the whole week to her. She has been using the potty for a while now, but very inconsistently and only when we are at home. There are a million books on “how to potty train in 3 days” or how to potty train blah blah blah, but I don’t have time to read those!!! I was nervous, but for once I felt like I could let go and just let it happen when it was supposed to. Monday, the first day of our break, we went to Target, of course, and she picked out some PJ Masks undies. We already have princess ones, but we had to stock up in case of accidents. Tip #3- Be prepared for accidents. Stock up on their favorite undies.
Tip #4- Ditch the diapers. Some people would argue to ditch the pull-ups too, but for me, I wanted night-time pull-ups because I don’t know how to potty train at night. That is on hold for now. I can’t get up all night long for her to use the potty while Hudson is still waking up through the night. Hell, I wish I could wear a diaper at night hahaha!
Tip #5- Get rid of all distractors and make sure the potty is easily accessible. It’s funny, she loves her music potty, but hates the big potty. On our Target trip, I also got a stool for her to be able to use the big potty.
Tip #6- Ask them every 5-10 minutes if they need to use the bathroom. This might not work for everyone. Some babes need to just sit on the potty with a preferred activity. Some of my friends used the iPad while they potty trained and it worked wonders! For Juliana, asking her every 10 minutes while she was engaged in a preferred activity outside the bathroom worked. But for one of my mom friends, they had to have their babe sit on the potty while on the iPad and that worked too.
Tip #7- Positive Reinforcement- Whether it’s new undies, iPad time, lollipops- line em’ up! Every time Juliana used the potty, I immediately rewarded her with a lollipop and/or fruit snacks. It’s crazy because since she was already familiar with the potty, she started using it independently without me even asking her every 10 minutes. We started out with every 10 minutes on Monday and then Tuesday she was ready.
Tip #8- After somewhat mastering the potty at home, even if you have to remind them every minute, venture out for a trip and see how they do. Lower your expectations, but have confidence in them. We went to Target (we actually live there) and before we went shopping, we all went in to use the bathroom. Little did I know (because I never tried), she was PETRIFIED of the public toilet. Not sure if it was because she didn’t have her stool or because she was actually really scared of it. It was a shit show because Hudson was crying and wanted to be held, meanwhile I am trying to pull down Juliana’s pants and put her on the potty while she was screaming her head off. Thank you to the mama who saw me struggling and offered to help me. I love moms helping moms!
Tip #9- Let go of the control and your expectations. Expect some obstacles and be okay with it. Don’t beat yourself up. Needless to say, our Target trip was cut short and we went home to use the potty. I didn’t bring her potty with us because it’s bulky and since I am usually solo on my Target trips, I can’t carry Hudson, the stroller, Juliana’s hand, the diaper bag, AND the potty. After she used the potty (AND held it all the way home), I rewarded her with a lollipop and we ventured back out to Target. This time, I brought a collapsible stool and shoved it in the diaper bag. This potty training shit is exhausting. Beware!
Tip #10- Be prepared. Even though this goes without saying, try your best to be prepared…for a pee on the floor, for your other kiddo (especially if they are almost 1) to try to climb in the potty, for accidents in undies when you are out, for them being scared to use the public potty, etc. If you are out for a long trip, bring a collapsible potty in case you need to pull over. Jules, Hudson, and I were driving home from church this weekend (which was a shit show and we had to leave). She was too nervous to use the potty at church and Hudson ended up falling asleep so we were driving around. I was afraid for her to fall asleep for a nap because she wasn’t in a pull-up and this whole potty training thing when they are sleeping baffles me. While we were driving, she started yelling that her pee was coming and she had to go. Needless to say, I had to stop on the side of the road so she could use her potty that I thankfully brought with me. The potty we have is bulky and not collapsible, so I recommend a collapsible one. We recently went to Supercross and our new TRAVEL potty I just purchased on amazon is AMAZING!!!! It saved us from any accidents and thank goodness we brought it because the toilets at the stadium turned black from a sewage issue and let me tell you, it was “gusting.” I may or may not have used her potty.
Tip #11- Don’t go to back diapers! As much as you want to for convenience, don’t do it! Pull-ups at night work for us and I’m not sorry about it.
These are just SOME tips that worked for US and our process. It is different for everyone. Make sure you both are ready and you can begin the process. You may need to start and stop a few times and that’s okay. I also compiled a list of things you need before you start-
- A portable or collapsible potty- The travel potty we use
- The potty we use at home
- Stools are versatile!
- Motivators for your little ones
- Invest in a million wipes!