Every child is different and responds differently to each technique. There are methods some moms swear by. Some use the naked method but that was too messy for me. Some start way early and say that kids already know what to do- maybe I could have tried earlier? Some just wait until the kid takes the initiative to do it themselves. I was somewhere in the middle, ready to be out of diapers and have a more independent child.
1. Look for signs that they are ready
We had a couple false starts, and that was okay. Even though I was ready, it certainly didn’t mean that she was. Once we got the potty chair set up in the bathroom, I would have her sit on hers when she followed me to the bathroom. This helped establish her space in the bathroom and become familiar with her piece of equipment. We would have a few successes and then no interest for several days. Just get back on track as soon as possible! If the child is hiding when they soil their diaper, its absolutely time to start.
Plan for a time when there won’t be an unusual disturbance in routine. I didn’t allow enough time to get into new potty swing before a vacation- which derailed us on one of the attempts. Shoot for a time when you have a few extra days at home with no interruptions . Introduce the routine, and plan for some accidents. We used Pull-ups even though some people (I hear you Mom) say that its hard to transition out of them. Training pants have some a long way, (still be a little messy) so we just used those at home.
Be consistent with everyone that cares for the child, and everywhere you go. Yes, even grandma. This keeps the child from getting mixed signals. The funny thing about kids is that they tend to listen to whomever they want to. So if the sitter is the person that hung their moon, make sure they are on board with your plan to keep it in motion. Since kids are portable- keep up the potty habits even when out running errands. Its gross, I know, but there are some tips up ahead to help with that.
4. Get the child involved
Take the kid shopping! Let them pick out their potty chair and new underwear. They are about to have their world rocked a bit- this gives them have a little control of the situation. Just talk to them. Let the child know what you expect from them and the rewards in place.
5. Use technology
We had an app that would give her “stickers” but, it didn’t hold her attention for very long. However! We did like using Alexa. I would set a timer with a personalized message that would remind her, by name, to go potty at 30 min or hour intervals on days we were really trying to make progress.
It’s important to stay positive through the process and not punish accidents. Our older one was probably easier to train and mostly bribed with M&Ms. Even daycare was giving her candy! Find what works for your child (stickers are cheap and easy). Praise them! Tell them what an amazing job they did, do a crazy dance, and give a high five! As the younger one was having issues not wanting to poop in the potty (common issue), we graduated to larger prizes. They set their eye on something and know what they have to do to get it. I’m not above bribing my child. I like to think of it as incentive- pretty sure she just needed to be convinced that it wouldn’t hurt and it wasn’t scary.
7. Potty chair in car
Hear me out on this one. It saved me on several occasions. This absolutely helped to stay consistent! Since I have an SUV, it was pretty easy to throw the potty chair and some cleaning supplies in the cargo area. She even had a bit of privacy and actually preferred to use it over the big scary public toilets. Even if I had a smaller car, I promise I would have thrown that thing in the trunk and pulled it out when needed. Try to keep this tip in mind when choosing which potty chair, step, or toilet insert is right for you. The potty chair was perfect for us because it was portable.
8. Toilet seat covers
Unfortunately, I didn’t find these until the little one was good and potty trained. You can bet I will still use these for a few years to come! Halfway consider busting one out for myself in some of the bathrooms I go in. You know SOME bathrooms have the small covers and you could maybe use a couple of them to help out a bit. Well, I found some extra large ones on amazon that are easy to store in a purse and made the whole process much less icky.
I hope some of this helps. Find your groove, stick to it, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s the wrong method. Stay positive- kids feel your vibes. About the time you settle in to the possibility of them going to kindergarten in diapers, progress will be made and this will all be behind you. You (and kiddo) got this! Happy potty training!