Ah yes, potty training. The fickle milestone that strikes fear into every parent’s heart… while also providing a teeny tiny glimmer of hope for the future. You, YES YOU, will not always be a slave to diapers, and diaper rashes, and blow outs, and second mortgages to pay for said diapers and wipes, and arguments with your partner about who changed who last! Your child will go to the bathroom ON A TOILET. Oh, the anticipation!
Clearly we all know the end goal here. But how exactly do we get there without giving up and googling diapers for pre-teens? Read on, friends.
The MOST Important Thing to Remember
First things first. I would be doing you a huge disservice if I said that this handy-dandy blog post will give you fail-proof instructions for how to potty train, and if you fail, you clearly did something wrong. No matter what society and all the perfect Instagram influencers tell you, that is a lie. There is no perfect method. There is no right way. Every child is different, and will potty train in his or her own time. If you try to force the issue, you will end up frustrated and unfortunately no closer to diaper free. The most important thing to bring into this process is patience.
Patience, check! Now what?
Now that we’ve all taken a deep, cleansing breath, let’s talk strategy. There are a ton of different schools of thought on this, but it really doesn’t need to be complicated! Here are some ideas:
- Make the potty as accessible as possible. Put a small potty in the living room or family room where you spend the most time. Put training toilet seats on each toilet in your house. Don’t forget to put stools by the toilets too.
- Buy the coolest potty and get excited about it. My sister had a toilet for her daughter that looked like a throne and it played celebratory music when it was used. (I think we should all have that amount of fanfare when we go potty, frankly.) This urinal style is fun for a boy, and they also make toilet laser attachments to help boys with their aim! They have toilet seats for every interest- Minnie Mouse, Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol. Bonus points if you let your child pick out the one they are enthusiastic about.
- Naked potty training. This technique is pretty self explanatory, but is a bit of a commitment. Your child will be naked round the clock, except nap time and night time. Be prepared to spend a lot of time cleaning up accidents, and potentially having some awkward encounters with the Fedex people or anyone popping by for a visit. That said, this technique can work quickly, as it really illustrates cause and effect for your child. Diapers do a phenomenal job of wicking moisture away from the skin, but this makes it difficult for a child to associate the feeling of needing to go with the result. Nudity eliminates that barrier.
- Time. Set a timer or an alarm on your phone to remind you every 15 or 30 minutes to ask your child if they need to go. Even if they don’t, set a reasonable amount of time, once every 30 minutes to an hour for example, to put them on the potty anyway. Just to try.
Get Out Your Pom Poms
- Rewards. Children are motivated by a variety things. Some children are great with a star chart. Some children would be over the moon for an M&M each time they have a successful trip to the potty. Put some thought into the things your child responds best to, and create your reward system around that.
- Books. This is two fold. First of all, there are some awesome books about potty training (for children I mean, not parenting books) that your child might enjoy. Personally, we have had this one since my first child was potty training, and all of my children have loved this book for some reason. It’s a big hit with our family, but certainly not the only option out there. Second of all, sometimes children don’t want to take the time to actually sit on the potty until something comes out. You could put a small basket of books next to the potty to distract them a bit while they spend time on the throne.
- Lastly, get ready to get excited. Successful potty training is all about positive reinforcement. This is not the time for punishments and taking things away, this is the time to pile on the praise! Hoot and holler, dance around, cartwheel, high kick, make up a cheer, whatever it takes to show your child what a great job they are doing! My Godparents actually made up a song for me when I was a potty-training child. It was a song-song ‘pee pee on the potty!’ and they would conga-line through the house singing it. Yes. Potty training enthusiasm has stood the test of time. Never gets old.
Just remember, patience is the most important thing here. If your child isn’t ready, he just isn’t ready. Present the opportunities to use the potty and then move on. I have one child who slooowwwwly learned, and another child who was totally against it, until one day POOF! she potty trained and never looked back.
Now I’m sure you moms and dads (and extended family members!) have some great tips and tricks that we’ve never heard, so take a second to pop over to Instagram or Facebook @islandprep and tell us your secrets!
Comments are closed