I first set my little guy on the potty at exactly one years old. He screamed his sweet little head off. I wanted introduce the potty as soon as possible in hopes of early potty training. Yeah, that didn’t happen.
It did not take me long to realize you can’t force these things. When I see pins on Pinterest that claim “potty train your kid in one day” I roll my eyes and keep scrolling. For the majority of us, it will take much longer. Don’t stress about how long it takes. It will happen. I promise. We’re almost potty trained at our house. I haven’t changed a poop diaper in a couple months. A few weeks ago Brody had a fever and was sick several and totally regressed. In fact, he peed on our couch twice and bed once. I’ve learned that it is an ongoing process and you may have ups and downs but that’s okay and normal. Brody is 2.5 years old now and has been using the potty steadily for several months. We still use diapers at night and in the car because washing the carseat cover is a major process. Unfortunately Brody still isn’t potty trained at preschool. I’ve had many conversations with his teacher and she said it is very common for kids not to go potty at school for several months after they get it at home. She claims it’s a comfort thing and they are often too busy playing with their friends to take the time to go.
1. Let it happen on its own. Seriously. This is my number one tip when it comes to potty training. I tried to get Brody to train early on and no matter what type of potty I bought, whether it be a mini potty or a cover to put on our full size toilet seat, he wasn’t having it. There is no forcing it in my opinion.
2. Watch closely for cues they may be ready. Brody started taking a lot of interest in people going potty. He wanted to be in the bathroom when I had to pee and would ask a lot of questions. “Mommy going pee-pee on the potty?” “Mommy wipe?” He started to understand more and more which made things easier. Also, at an early age he started grabbing the front of his diaper every time he peed. This told me he recognized every time he went and it wasn’t going unnoticed. Now, if I could only catch it before he grabbed his diaper….
3. Let them pick out their own underwear. My husband and I took Brody to Target and let him pick out his own underwear. Let me tell you, the joy in his face when he picked Thomas the Train underwear was priceless. He loves putting on his “choo-choo train umber were.”
4. Teach your boy to pee standing up. I’ve never understood why boys are taught to pee while sitting down. Seems counterproductive to teach them to pee sitting and then re teach them to pee while standing.
5. Introduce hand washing early. If you start doing this from the start it becomes a routine and your kid will be less likely to resist or question. Brody knows every time he finishes to grab his stool and wash his hands.
6. If you have a stand alone baby potty, put it in an easily accessible place. We spend most of our time in the living room, which is down the hall from the bathroom. At first I had about 2.4 seconds from the time he told me he had to pee or poop till he was going. Having the potty in the living room on a towel really helped. No, it wasn’t gross. I had a lovely in law make an unwanted comment how gross it was I had a potty in the living room. For one, it was on hardwoods floors with a towel underneath and I cleaned and sanitized the potty after each use. You can do it without a smell, trust me. 😉 Once he had more control we moved it into his bathroom and he makes it every time.
7. When they go potty in the potty make a big deal about it. Clap, jump up and down, offer stickers…. basically praise the crap out of them.
8. Don’t beat them up about accidents. Accidents will happen and they will happen often. Get used to it. Chances are they will be down on themselves anyways. It breaks my heart when Brody has an accident and is visibly upset about it. I let him know that it is okay, accidents happen and we will make it to the bathroom next time. There is, however, a different between accidents and laziness. Sometimes if Brody is playing on his iPad he will go in his pants because he doesn’t want to interrupt Endless Alphabet. In that case I am gentle, yet firm about him needing to let us know so we can get to the potty.
9. Let them go pants-less at home. Like I mentioned above, you have about 2.4 seconds from the time they tell you they have to go until they’re actually going. While at home, Brody ran about the house with a shirt and leg warmers on. This made it so much easier.
10. Be patient. I cannot tell you how many times we’ll be running late, walking out the door and Brody has to poop. UGH! It’s so tempting to tell him to hold it or poop in his pants but that really regresses progress. Sometimes toddlers take a gazillion minutes to go. They happen to take the longest it seems while you are making dinner, trying to rush out the door or generally while you’re in the middle of something. Don’t rush them (unless they’re obviously joking around.) Sit with them and be patient. This is new and a process.
I am by no means a potty training expert. Heck, my kid isn’t even fully potty trained yet. Each family and child are different and what works for us, might not work for you. If you have started the process or are thinking about starting soon good luck! It will happen! I hope some of these tips will make it easier for you.