Potty Training, like everything else in parenting has a lot to do with your family culture, child's personality, and personal preference. I wasn't going to talk about it for the sake of my children's privacy, however it is such a HUGE moment in the parenting journey, I think I can still give some practical help while keeping my kiddos pictures and personal journey out of it.
Ways to Prep : Even some prep a few months out can make a difference 1. Start Early. A few months or weeks before the big "Potty Day" (which is what we called our potty training) we bought a toddler potty and toddler underwear. We added it to our home culture and every so often would sit on it, look at it, and talk about "one day". I am VERY modest, but I would leave the door open when I would go to the bathroom and commentate the process. That vocab was helpful seed.
2. Vocab Help. Speaking of vocab, even if your child is still learning to talk, having understanding of these words are helpful:
wet and dry
push down and pull up (helpful when learning about getting underwear up and down)
Siting on the potty vs going potty (there's not a right or wrong here, but be consistent. For instance you can't say, "It's time to go potty!" and then be upset when the go potty on the floor. Make sure you are saying, "It's time to go sit on the potty".
3. Acting Practice
There really is nothing that can prep a child fully. The feeling and sensations are very new and it's hard to put words to is. However letting a teddy bear or doll practice "sitting on the potty" and the routine of washing hands, etc.are helpful:
The "Big Event" : 3 Day Method
Put it on the calendar, block the days and go for it! We choose the three day method (hunker down for three days and go for it!) and it worked for us. (By day four we were accident free). But I wish I would have mentally said, "Potty Week" going into it. I think that would have eased a lot of pressure. Think of it as three days of learning, and then a lot of days practicing. Every child is different.
*The night before we rolled up our rugs, set out the sticker chart, potty supplies, and said a prayer. When you wak up the next day, mentally prep. It's Potty Day. No laundry or chores. You are to be your child's shadow, cheerleader, and coach that helps them get that pee-pee in the potty. Mama and Dada... you've got to sell this. Go big!
- Bye Bye Diapers! [First thing in the morning, have a parade to the trash and throw away those diapers!]
- 30 Min Potty Breaks [Every 30 min, "Potty Break!", We sit and wait. You can sing songs or give books but this is about getting them comfortable sitting on the potty. They make "Potty watches" that are fun. Lots of options on Amazon.
- Pee Pee in the Potty! [The goal is get any amount of pee in the potty. When they start going, pick them up and plop them on the potty. ANY amount of pee in the potty gets a sticker or treat (we did M&Ms but I won't do that next time because wow that sugar adds up). ***It's your choice whether to let your toddler go fully naked/ tshirt only/ or tshirt and underwear.
Day Two :
- Keep the energy [You need to be positive and patient. Remember, this is a new skill. It takes time.]
- 60 Min Potty Breaks [Feel it out, but if potty breaks are becoming a "NO!" ware zones, you can stretch to every hour.]
- Start teaching "body clues" [You will pick up on "body clues" your child does when they have to go. They will do a little dance, or try to hold it in with their hands or legs, etc. Verbalize what you see that. Teach them when they feel or see those things, that's their body giving them a clue to go sit on the potty.
- Rinse and repeat.
- Whatever your child needs, be that. This is solidifying new norms and still celebrating small (BIG) steps.
Tools that Help :
- Sleep Underwear [aka Pull Ups]. Night training may not happen for much longer after, but do not call them diapers. We call them sleep underwear (taken from @thebusytoddler) and we use those for naps and night.
- Toddler potty or toddler insert. As mentioned above.
- Travel potty is great to have.
- Potty Caddy. [I took a diaper caddy and stocked it with books, underwear, stickers, paper towels, disinfectant spray/wipes so I could have everything I needed at arms reach.
- Daniel Tiger Potty Book (So many great books. We are a Daniel Tiger family so this worked for us)
- This Potty Song is a great one.
Parent Note :
And this is what I wish someone would have told me....
Yes accidents will happen. You will be doing lots of clean ups and laundry. But also, there will be BIG emotions. Your toddler will have new feelings and sensations. They may be scared. They may be embarrassed. They may be exhausted. You will have moments where you say, "My child NEVER acts like this. What in the world?!" I even used "this has been traumatizing for both of us" in a text to a friend after day one. There are just so many really BIG feelings, that look different for different kids, and honestly, you won't know until it happens. Some kids may hate failing and accidents really are the tantrum trigger. Some kids think their pee and poop are actual parts of the body leaving and they are terrified to go. Some kids realize THEY finally can control something and the "You can't make me" power battle emerges. Some kids may just be really sensitive to feelings and be weepy during the process. All in all, be ready to really be a support to your toddler. They need to a safe place anchor with all of this new, and that anchor is you.
Remember parents, this is not just about teaching potty skills, this is about teaching your child to do hard things, to be resilient, to obey, to trust their body. So much goes into this life step.
Flushing Along With You, Abby **Don't forget... The Cirkles are cheering you on!