Potty training. Those two words can be so scary to parents who have never taught it before, and I was one of those parents. Part of me was SO sick and tired of having two diapered butts to clean every day, but the other part of me thought, but at least I know where the potty bits are when they’re in a diaper.
So a few weeks ago, Friday rolls around and the husband and I are ready to give it a go (ha, pun…). The day before we had been telling L that she was going to be a big girl tomorrow and have big girl underwear and no more diapers because those were for babies. She wakes up, we put underwear on her, and so the day begins. I started to keep score on L versus the couch or carpet but I very quickly lost count. And Linnea was definitely winning. There was lots of crying and accidents throughout the day. It was really difficult. But we had three successful trips to the bathroom so that was encouraging.
By the second day, Saturday, she was slooowly starting to understand the idea. I remember so clearly the moment the light bulb appeared over her head and she “got it.” She watched herself tinkle and she gasped and looked at me with huge eyes and squealed, “I did it! I went potty!” Things got much better from there.
By the third day we took her to church and put her in a Pull-Ups. We call them “shorts” so she knew they weren’t quite like a diaper. I never wanted to use Pull-Ups, but here we are. So much of parenting is like that, isn’t it? Before L was born and we found out we were having a girl, we were very adamant about not wanting “Princess” things, mainly because of the snotty attitude that can sometimes lead to. Fast forward to a 2.5 year old L who calls herself, “Princess Linnea” all on her own. But, all that to say, she actually prefers underwear because they are more comfortable.
I’ll give you the basics of our method, but there are tons of posts out there in Blogland that you can find on how to potty train. If you need more info than I list below, check out this, this, and this last one is pretty funny and realistic.
- Explain to your little one what you will be doing in advance.
- Make a ceremony of saying goodbye to the diapers. (Note: we couldn’t do this because our son is still in diapers, but I wanted to do this so she saw her diapers go away.)
- Have LOTS of clean undies ready to go. Feel free to take your child to pick them out. I think we have 13 pairs and we still did a lot of laundry from all the accidents. Strangely, my daughter prefers the Garanimals undies over her Disney Rapunzel undies. Go figure. I found them in a 10-pack at Walmart.
- Reward system: I hate bribing my kids to do what I ask but this is a situation where it’s necessary. We just did M&Ms, one or two each time she went potty. Now we only offer them if she goes #2 in the potty. Some parents offer sticker charts or a prize basket of little things to choose from. All work fine, but M&Ms were easy and worked for us.
- Have all the equipment- We opted to use the potty seat that you set on the regular toilet with a stool. I wanted to avoid yet another transition from a potty chair to the actual toilet. (If you have a 2-story, have a set for upstairs and downstairs.)
- Skip the pants! Just have them wear a shirt and undies. Add pants later on in the training, but you want the first few days/week to be as easy as possible for everyone. (Read: a few less things for the laundry) We did this during the summer so she wasn’t cold at all. Slept without pants, too.
- Take them potty every 10 minutes. She would go stretches of hours with a dry diaper, but for some reason without the diaper she was going every 10 minutes. Within a few days she would be able to hold it for hours on her own again. Just be patient.
- Be ready to ask, “Do you need to go potty?” a gazillion times. I think that’s all my husband and I said around eachother until the kids were in bed. Our neighbors were probably sick of hearing us with the open windows.
- Clear your schedule, if possible. If you can do the first few days on your weekend, preferably with a spouse or friend helping, that makes a big difference. Especially if you have other children!
- Do NOT limit liquids. More liquids = more potty = more practice!
- We kept all of her underwear by the toilets in these little wooden CD crates. One side was for undies and flushable wipes, one was for books.
- If you have a girl, make sure you wipe well. L got a UTI so that threw a wrench in our potty training.
One last thing to note at the end is we are still having accidents. Some days are fantastic, some days it feels like she forgot what she’s doing. For instance, this morning she ran up to me with her legs all wet and she was standing in a puddle. It happens, but don’t give up. Also, we still do Pull-Ups at night. We really need to drop that habit because it’s a bad one to keep up.
What are some other tips and advice you would give on potty training! My daughter was almost 3 when we did this. She showed many signs of being ready (holding her bladder for a long time, showed interest in using the toilet, discomfort when she soiled her diaper, etc). I would like advice on getting her to go #2 in the potty. Weeks into this and she STILL doesn’t want to do it, she’s only succeeded in doing it twice. It’s very gross and frustrating.