I am about to potty train my fourth baby. Not only that but I also potty trained my niece and nephew – so that’s a total of 6 babies I have tried, error-ed and succeeded in the marvelous journey of potty training (no sarcasm there LOL). After trying every single method in the book, here are some of my favorite tips for potty training.
Rewards Galore: As a parent I really try to stay away from this method, but when it comes to potty training all bets are off. I have found bribery to be the absolute best way to get kids interested in going potty. I have always used fruit snacks or M&M’s for a reward when going potty. They would get 1 piece for pee-pee and 2 pieces for poop. Once the kids get better at going potty occasionally I usually take them to pick out a toy that they REALLY want from the toy aisle. I then buy that toy and put it on top of the refrigerator where they can see it and be reminded that they can earn it. I then tell them that if they can go a whole day (or you can make it more days if you want) without an accident I will give them their toy!
Look for signs -Timing is everything: Before even getting out the potty seat and purchasing big kid patties – make sure you watch for signs that your child is ready to potty train. Some of these signs may be: telling you when they are going potty in their diaper, the ability to pull their pants up and down, can speak or communicate their needs to you, wakes up dry at night, asks to go potty and others. Once your child is showing several of these signs it may be time to potty train. If you start and find that your child is just not interested remember timing is HUGE. They may just not be ready…there is no shame is stopping the process and revisiting it later. I had to do this with my 3rd child. We had 2 or 3 potty training sessions (about 2 weeks each time) before I finally decided I would wait until she initiated it. A few months later she initiated potty training and sure enough she practically potty trained herself!
***Once you feel the timing is right…try taking your toddler to the store to get them excited! Let them pick out their new big kid panties, the potty seat, stickers and whatever else you need to get started!
Praise – Praise – Praise: Kids will do just about anything for praise. My first two kids (girl and boy) loved sticker charts for when they went potty. Every time they went pee they got one sticker and if they pooped they got 2. When they filled up a full column they received a reward or prize. I also found that especially in those first early days of potty training if the kids actually went potty if I jumped up and down, danced, say a little jig, my kids just loved it! I also used to celebrate with a call to grandma…oh they love that! Print this fun Potty Training Sticker Chart
Schedule and Frequency: When you initially start potty training I recommend doing it when you are planning on being home A LOT! Get a potty seat out and easily accessible in your home. Start out with a schedule. for instance, wake up sit on the potty, after they eat sit on the potty, before nap sit on the potty, when they wake up again sit on the potty…and so on. After a few days of that add more potty time. Set a timer for every 20 minutes and have your child sit on the potty seat every time the timer goes off. You can give them a reward for sitting for 2 minutes at first if they are not interested in sitting on the potty this often. I guarantee if you offer one M&M each time they sit there – they will be excited to sit on that potty!
Make it convenient and fun: Potty training can be so tedious and boring. Make it fun. My kids ALL loved having a basket filled with books to read while sitting on the potty. We also had a handful of songs we enjoyed singing during the duration of potty time. I also found that making everything convenient is super helpful. Maybe put the potty seat in the living room near the TV or toys where they hang out. I know it can sound kind of nasty…but what’s worse – your child playing near the potty seat you recently cleaned or your child having an accident all over the floor because their potty seat was too far away! For little boys don’t forget they start learning to potty sitting down. You don’t want to rush into teaching them to stand up or believe me it will be a HUGE mess for you. However when you are ready to teach them to stand up make it fun. Throw in a few cheerios and have your little guy play a little target practice!
Go panties and don’t go back: The process of potty training can be quite stressful for your little one. Add in constantly switching between pull ups and panties…and they just can’t get it right! Once you start potty training try to only wear panties (except when sleeping), even when you are out and about. I know it sounds miserable. But it is so hard for toddlers to remember when they are wearing panties and when they are in a diaper.
Here is a printable Potty Training Chart perfect for helping you get started! Good luck with your potty training journey and please come back and share your thoughts, stories, successes and even failures. We are all parent’s just trying to figure this potty training thing out!
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