Potty Training 101
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Disclaimer: I am not a "potty training expert" whatever that means lol I am just a mom who successfully trained her son by age three and I want to help my fellow mothers out in this hard time of need.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, Hi! I am sure you found yourself here because you have questions on potty training or you are currently having trouble with potty training and trying to figure out what you are doing "wrong". I am here to help you out!
Let me start by saying that EVERY CHILD MOVES AT THEIR OWN PACE. You cannot compare your child's potty training milestone to your previous child(ren), your best friends child, nieces/nephews, etc. Doing that will lower your mommy confidence, and WE DO NOT NEED THAT. Especially if you're doing the best you can. Okay, let's get into it.
When should I start potty training?
I suggest buying your little one a potty around 15-18 months (before is perfectly fine). Having this potty early on will allow them to get familiar with it by the time hardcore potty training begins at 24 months (age 2). Start by sitting them on the potty and explaining to them what it is and how to use it. Use expressions like "go pee pee" "go potty" "go poo poo" etc. During this time you should sit them on the potty for 3-5 minutes when they wake up for the day, before naps, after naps, and before bedtime. You shouldn't expect them to actually use it or get discouraged after a week or so of sitting on the pot and nothing has happened. Remember this is to get them familiar with the potty. If they so happen to pee or poop in it make sure you reward them with claps, cheers, words of encouragement "yayyy, big girl/boy". Maybe even get them a sticker, treat or something to further encourage them to do it again. Getting familiar with the potty helps pave the way for Hard Core Potty Training.
HARDCORE POTTY TRAINING AGE 2 (or before, you determine when your little one is ready)
Now that your LO is familiar with their potty and can understand the concept (kind of) it is time to lay the smackdown on this potty training business. Potty training is a long hard journey for the BOTH of you, but it is worth it all in the end. The more you stay committed, the faster they will get it! This is the time to get your village on board as well. (family, daycare providers, partner, etc.) Let them know it's TIME, and you need their help when they are caring for your LO. One off day can throw your LO off track, so it is important to stay as consistent as possible.
Here are my steps to hardcore potty training at age 2!
Sit them on the potty every 30-45 Minutes for 5-8 Minutes (if able) Sounds a tad bit excessive right? Kids are EXCELLENT pee holders. You will have moments when you sit them on the pot and the moment you take them off they'll pee on themselves right in front of your face. With the 30-45 minute intervals, you are bound to catch them pee or poop once or more throughout the day. Cheering/rewarding them will get them to understand that peeing and pooping is for the potty, eventually, they'll get it and you can move your intervals to every hour/hour and a half.
Ditch Training Pants! Don't ditch them entirely but you can't rely on them either. Training Pants are pretty much diapers and very comfortable and easy for your little one to pee in with zero care. Only use training pants during naps, night time, daycare and public outings. When they're in the comfort of your home, your LO should be training pants free.
Let them run around in the nude (or in underwear) This was one of the BEST advice that I received from one of my friends. Allowing your LO to run free allows them to depend on releasing in their toilet vs. on themselves in the comfort of a diaper. They will not like the feeling of the warm wetness running down their legs or soiling their underwear that diapers will not allow them to feel. Keep their potty in the room your child is most active in and when they start to go on themselves scoop them up as quickly as you can and sit them on the pot and say "go pee pee" "go potty" "go poo poo" etc. reward them when they are finished with cheers, claps, etc. (have your carpet cleaning supplies or Swiffer ready!)
Let them go to the bathroom with you or your partner. Kids learn by example, and if they see mama, dada or their older sibling use the potty they will want to do the same! When you have to go, let them in the bathroom with you and have them sit on their potty. Say "yayyy mommy (daddy) used the potty, let me see you use yours." Do they have to go in with you every time? No, but once or twice a day should suffice.
After a while (weeks or months) your little one will catch on. Some quicker than others but potty training can be a long process for some and nothing is wrong with that as long as you are putting in the work, time and consistency.
Okay, my LO is daytime potty trained what about the night time?
Night time potty training is just as "hard" as daytime. You should train them for the night time at age two as well. However, you shouldn't have a BIG expectation for them to catch on quickly as they do during the day.
Cut off their drinks 1.5 hours before bedtime. You don't want to fill them up with liquid before they go to sleep. Will they still have to pee even if they haven't had a drink hours before they laid down? YES. However, their bladders won't be as full or heavy (which gives them a higher chance of wetting the bed).
Use the potty before bed. By this time your LO should be used to using the potty before bed because it should already be in their regimen. Empty those bladders before bed, no excuses!
Wake them in the middle of the night to use it. Say whatttt? Yes, this is important. Depending on you and your LO bedtime it could be easier done than said. My sons bedtime is 7:45pm/8pm. I usually go to sleep around 11pm-12am. So I (or my partner) would make him use the potty before we went to bed. Some nights were a hit and some a miss, but eventually, after a month and a half he didn't need the night wakings anymore. He would and still has accidents during the night (he's four now), but they're every once in a blue moon events.
Consistently doing all of these steps your LO should be potty trained in NO TIME! Consistency is KEY! Repetition is key, that is how your LO learns! Express to your family, friends, daycare teachers, nannies etc, how crucial it is that they follow your regimen when caring for your LO. After all, it takes a Village!
Potty Training Essentials
Training Pants (for naps, night time, (extended) outings and daycare)
Big Girl/Boy Underwear (I suggest a cheap brand because you will need A LOT of them and you won't feel bad if you have to throw them away)
Potty Training Underwear (these have thicker material to help soak in their pee. I liked to use these once my son got the hang of potty training. For times when he accidentally leaked on himself before he would make it to the toilet) Check out these awesome underwear!
Bed Mats (to protect their mattress from night time accidents) Check out these awesome mats!
Stickers! (to reward them when they go potty!) Here is an awesome sticker reward chart you can use
Okay, I think you're ready to go! Good Luck! If you have any tips you would like to add or want to tell us your potty training experience comment below!