Potty Training. Yep. I just went there. They are probably the two words most parents are afraid of. I know I was terrified when it came time. To be honest, when I did it, I wasn’t ready to. My husband pushed me to do it. I had just heard so many horror stories and how hard it was, I avoided it. But one day after looking at our finances and seeing those monthly $40-$60 spent on diapers and wipes, we decided to just go for it and see!
I hate to be one of those moms but I have to be honest when I say potty training my daughter was a piece of cake. Cue the torches and pitchforks! I know, I know, but it was! She pretty much understood the concept by the end of the day and didn’t have her first accident until day three. I don’t know that I did anything super special, but one thing about us, and the way we parent, is we really try to not rush her into any milestone and are very “when she’s ready” kind of parents. We wanted to let her make the decision. We simply asked her if going to the potty seemed something she wanted to try, and luckily in our case it was! So we went forward, and she took to it like a champ.
I know we are one of the few, and lucky, and we feel very blessed, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. It is a big change for our little friends, and you never know how they are going to take to this whole new concept. Don’t be too hard on them, and, most important, don’t be too hard on yourself if your child hasn’t grasped it right away. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you or with them. They just need a little time. Parenting is rough!! It has a lot of joys, but a lot of struggles too, so be patient with your child and be patient with yourself! You both are about to enter into a whole new world of independence!
Ok, let’s get down to the nitty gritty…here is the process we used for potty training. I did some research online and was able to get some great ideas and tips along with some of our own. Hope it helps!
Materials for potty training:
One willing toddler (the most important!)
Potty (we used a potty chair)
Candy (M&M’s or Smarties worked for us)
Snickers (wait until I tell you what this is for!)
Big girl underwear (we love the thick training pants you can get at Wal-Mart)
Potty doll for role playing
Prep for Potty Training:
The night before we potty trained her, we set up what I call pee pee headquarters. We put her potty in the bathroom with her potty doll (Theresa), which was actually my bath time Cabbage Patch Doll I had as a kid. You can buy the dolls if you’d like for potty training but we just used a medicine dropper I cleverly put behind the doll to make it look like she peed. Worked like a charm. We had her potty chart up, and I had my stash of stickers and candy as rewards. I then laid a big comforter on the floor in the living room with a plastic mat on top so if we had accidents we’d be double covered. 🙂 I also got her favorite toys from her room and brought them to the living room since we’d be spending the day in the kitchen and or living room to make cleaning up messes easier! Also set aside a weekend where you have no plans to fully dedicate yourself.
We started the morning normally and after breakfast I asked Baby Girl if she’d watch a show with me, and we watched Elmo’s Potty. Afterward, I asked if she wanted to start using the potty like Elmo, and she was super excited and said yes! Score! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a willing toddler. So I told her I had a surprise for her and I showed her “Theresa” the potty doll. I explained to her Theresa has underwear because she is a big girl. I asked baby girl if she wanted her own, and she said yes. I handed her a gift bag and she opened her brand new big girl underwear! We also gave her a sheet of stickers to decorate her potty! We had introduced the potty months before as a way for her to start familiarizing herself with it, but the stickers gave her a chance to personalize it now that she was going to begin to use it. We also did not turn on the TV as to not distract her! We colored, played, did puzzles, etc.
Role Playing: We sat Theresa on the potty and I (with a medicine dropper behind the doll) “made Theresa pee” We made it a big deal that Theresa peed in the potty and her doll got a sticker on the chart for peeing in the potty! Remember those Snickers I asked you to get? Well, we showed baby girl that Theresa also poops in the toilet and told her if she needs to she can. (I cleverly used smooshed up Snickers bar and, again, hid it behind the doll, and dropped it in the potty) She totally bought it!
The process: After we showed her Elmo uses the potty, and Theresa uses the potty, it was time to show her she could use the potty. We gave her a special cup with juice and set our timer for 15 minutes. We pumped her full of juice, played normally, and every 15 min we asked if she needed to go potty. We also told her to let us know if she needed to go as well. We did this the whole day. The moment finally came when we took her and she went! She and we were so excited! We gave her a sticker to put on her chart! We also introduced the pee pee dance. After every time she went, we all did a little dance and sang a song. As for going poop, it took her a couple days before she pooped in the potty. The first time she pooped in her pants but we used the accident technique described below and she never did it again. We role played a couple times and when she finally did, we upped our game and gave her the candy for pooping in her potty. Success! Also we took advantage every time we sat her on the potty to read her a potty book. We had a Precious Moments one that she still loves and that really helped her grasp the concept also!
Accident Technique: We felt it was important to let her know what happens when you have an accident. We were playing normally, and Theresa was playing with us when–UH OH! She went potty on the floor. Baby Girl’s face was horrified! Haha! We told Theresa firmly, “pee pee goes in the potty, not on the floor!” Now, this next part seems silly, but it really worked and to this day, daughter still says “no no on the floor.” We ran Theresa to the toilet and told her pee pee goes in the potty, then we ran her back to the floor where she made the mess and said pee pee does not go on the floor! We did this about 5 times running back and forth. It sounds silly but when it came time that daughter had an accident, we did the same thing with her and it really hit the concept home.
Naps and Bedtime: Some people use pull ups, and some just leave them in their underwear as to not confuse their child. For our daughter, we used pull ups and called them her sleeping underwear and she didn’t seem to be confused. We just emphasized for her to tell us when she felt the need to go and she did so well we didn’t need to use them very long. They stayed dry for 3 days; then we moved her to her regular panties, and that was that. Don’t hate me!
Well there you have it! There are a slew of other tips and tricks to try but this is just the basics of what worked for us! Remember, what worked for us might not work for you, or maybe it will! Just remember you are doing the best you can! Also have realistic expectations, because chances are he or she will have an accident and that’s OK! It’s all part of the learning process! If, for whatever reason, you are at a point where your child was doing really well and now has regressed, reiterating the points and process can really help. Also, try introducing something new! If you used a chart, try a different reward system like a small treasure box with fun cheap trinkets they can choose from! Or if you didn’t do role playing before, try that this time. Just be patient! I am so glad we waited until she was ready. She’s been potty trained since August and has done a great job. It took a lot of patience and perseverance but was totally worth it. Good Luck! Let me know how it goes!
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Krystal is a latter-day mom and Holy Homemaker to 3 beautiful kiddos who is striving to find joy in the everyday trenches of motherhood and life! Her passion is sharing her experience of decluttering with a purpose to help others create a Holy Home where the messes subside and the Spirit resides. She is a lover of books, nature, music, food, the gospel, and all things Texas! Follow her at her website, Latter-day Mom!