Lately I’ve had many conversations about this topic and so I thought I would just put it down in a post and send a link to someone the next time we talk about it. The much dreaded, the much anticipated and the very unpredictable potty training saga. As moms, we dread the potty training process- we often feel defeated with the progression of things and yet the result- that sweet diaper free nirvana-esque state of being keeps us going.
Explaining all about potty training to bunny
Gia was potty trained right after her second birthday, at almost 25 months. For some babies that is early and for some that is about the time they have already aced the potty test. In either case- we moms can attest to the fact that- it wasn’t by any means easy. So here’s me sharing my take on how I did things- I am not a potty training expert and have not written any books on the subject but I wanted to share nevertheless.
1. Understand that potty training is a process- It’s not a one off thing. It can take anywhere from a weekend to a week. And sometimes; your toddler may not be ready and you might just have to wait it out. It’s frustrating when everyone else seems to have moved on and I know you’re probably sick of diapers (and have been for a while since those solids started) but all can do is not push it and hang in there. But if you look at the whole process as a journey and not just as an end result you will be able to deal with it better.
2. Books- Reading can help get your toddler excited about using the potty. I introduced books on using the potty when my daughter was about 12 months old. I started training here much later but we started reading books, just so she would get familiarized with the idea. Here is a great book I read with my daughter. It helped her understand the concept of using the potty.
3. Let her shadow you- Well, when you go, take her in the bathroom with you. (Most moms don’t really have a choice about this) But kids do learn by observing – Monkey see= Monkey do
4. Buy her a potty. When she was about 15 months old we bought her a pink potty chair. We wrapped it up and made a big deal about her unwrapping it and now finally becoming a big girl and having her own potty.
5. Watch some great videos- There are a bunch of great educational resources out there that you can watch. The bear in the big blue house was my daughter’s favorite and she really wanted to be a toileteer!
6. Observe the signs- at about 24 months my daughter would insist I change her diaper the instant she went potty and she would ask “potty?” or “pee pee?” while pointing to the toilet. To me it meant that she understood what the toilet was for and she was about ready to start with her potty training.
7. Create a potty time schedule- I would take her to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes during potty training week. I would set a timer on my cell phone and each time it buzzed, I would take her to the bathroom and sit on the potty next to her while she sat on her pink princess potty. Sometimes she went and at others she didn’t, but much like everything else with toddlers- it was about creating a schedule.
8. Let her go diaper free- If you live in the US like I do and most of your house is covered in carpet, it really is challenging to let your toddler run butt naked and be on high alert for a pee pee accident. But at some point you just have to allow them to go without the diaper and keep encouraging them to go on the potty. This was by far the hardest step for me but at the end of the weekend (it took about a week total) she did seem to understand that going in her pants is not ideal.
9. Reward her- I am against any kinds of rewards-punishment methods for doing/not doing something but in this case I did make an exception. Knowing how much my daughter loves animals, I bought these sparkly animal stickers that she could claim each time she went potty. I think potty charts- stickers- hand stamps are all great motivational tools during potty training and surprisingly effective.
10. Be prepared for accidents- accidents were something I was totally unprepared for after I was done with the potty training. I thought she would “get” the concept and then we would be done with diapers. It takes a long-long time before they are experts and you are confident in their ability to use the potty. Accidents do happen and be sure you are patient and understanding.
Hope these steps help you if you are dealing with potty training right now. The whole process is never easy but so worth it in the end.