*WARNING: This is a long post
Pooping and peeing is your life when you have kids. The moment your sweet one is born, you will start your journey to being a potty expert. You will cheer for poop and pray for enough pees. Last week I read a blog post on The View From Up Here about Potty Training and realized I really should write one too. Check out her blog post for more tips and ideas.
We have 4, almost 5 little ones, so I would say Billy and I have had our fair share of “potty training” experience. I like to put “potty training” in quotes because we don’t really “potty train”, we just switch our kids right over to the toilet. All of our kids have been different ages for potty training. Payton was a little after 2 years, Tyson was almost 3 years old, Demi was 18 months and Kameron was newly 2 years old. With Kameron I definitely could have done a few months sooner, but I was having my mommy issues and didn’t want to let go : )
First I’ll go through essentials that are needed to get your kiddo ready and then I’ll explain how it all works. Now remember, what works for us, works for us! It may not not work for you, it may not be your style and that’s totally fine. But if you want some helpful hints that have worked for our 4 VERY different kiddos, keep reading : )
1. Big kid undies: I am NOT a fan of character anything, but for undies I go with whatever their favorite cartoon character or movie is. You may want to bring them with you to buy them and that’s a great idea, but usually I start with my set first and once we have an established routine, they get to pick out the second pack!
2. Time: We have very little time and our weekdays are go go go. I have to choose a Saturday that we aren’t going anywhere and just know that’s the day we aren’t leaving. If you have other kids that you think will make the situation a little crazy, see if you can get a sitter. I just keep mine home because they are helpful and love taking their sibling to the bathroom.
3. Liquids, liquids, liquids: And snacks. Make sure you have plenty of drinks for your kiddo to consume. We are a water and milk kind of family, but I’ll get gatorade or apple juice to help in this situation.
4. Treat/Reward: This is optional, but lots of families like to give their kiddo a treat each time they go potty. Or they use a reward chart, which is also a great option. We choose to use praise and big celebrations, to connect good feelings with going potty in the toilet. It’s easier for us to give praise then keep treats on hand, especially at night : )
5. Baby Doll: Really just get any character your kiddo likes. My girls loves the baby doll, my son we didn’t use anything. (I’ll explain the baby doll, the timer and the eyedropper in the steps below)
6. Timer: I use my phone and set the timer to go off every 15 minutes
7. Eyedropper/Medicine Syringe: Basically any little thing that will shoot out water.
8. Potty Seat/Stool: Again, optional! We don’t use potty seats, but do use a stool. The stool is great to pull over and use to wash hands at the sink too.
important rules to remember
Of course there are no rules when it comes to potty training, but we have some suggestions that I believe are very important to follow.
make sure your child is ready
If your kiddo is not ready, this will not work. Let me repeat, this will not work. Some signs your kiddo is ready!
– They are telling you immediately that they peed/pooped in their diaper.
– They are showing considerable interest in the toilet.
– They are wanting their diaper off right away after going.
– They are having a lot more dry diapers.
My kiddos all loved going into the bathroom with me and saw that me and their siblings wore underwear. I suggest you talk about the toilet often, or they won’t even know what it is : )
get yourself mentally ready
Once your kiddo is ready, you need to get yourself ready. Potty training is a BIG milestone. Your baby is growing up and you may not be as ready as they are. I had trouble with the fact that my daughter Kameron was ready so soon. I waited quite a few months to finally let her use the toilet. I wanted her to stay my baby. Most people do not have this problem. They are praying for the day their kiddo is out of diapers : )
do not get/use pullups
You do not need pullups. They are essentially the same thing as a diaper. That will not help your kiddo understand that they need to potty in the toilet. Undies only from here on out! (Yes, even at night!)
skip the training toilet
Our kids all went straight to the big toilet and were excited to be like mommy, daddy and their siblings. However, it can be VERY scary for some children. In that case I would definitely use a little seat for your child. You would never want them to be scared to go potty.
steps for the big day
Ok so now you have all your items and you know your child is ready! Your day is about to be very repetitive, but hey, it’s worth it.
Step 1: In the morning you will take your doll/toy and pretend they need to go potty. Take your dropper and hide it behind the toy’s back. With your child watching show the toy pee on the ground (you will use dropper to push water out on to ground). Now your acting skills come into play. Act overly concerned and horrified that the toy peed on the ground!
“Oh my goodness! Dolly peed on the floor! Are we supposed to pee on the floor?”
Hopefully your child will say no, but if not you will.
“No we NEVER pee on the floor! We pee in the toilet!”
Run to the nearby toilet with your child and put the doll/toy on the toilet. Tell the doll/toy that next time they need to pee on the toilet.
Go through scenario again, but have the doll/toy actually pee in the toilet this time. We did step one with our daughters, but not with our son. He was not having it! You’ll know what’s best for your kiddo.
Step 2: Now you need to ask your child if they want to go potty on the toilet. IF they are ready, they will say yes! In your own words explain that once we are ready to use the toilet we get to use underwear! Hopefully before this moment you have already explained what underwear is and your child has seen you wear them. Now you can show your child the pack of underwear that you got them. They will be super excited and you will put the undies on them. I like to make a big show of announcing that my child is done with diapers and throwing the diaper away. This is an amazing milestone and it’s important to celebrate!
Some families prefer to go commando all day because if there is an accident, they don’t want wet undies. I don’t mind washing a few pairs and I think it helps to have undies on if an accident happens. You can point out how they are all wet and how it feels yucky.
Step 3 – Step 99: Lol, but really! Now comes the repetitive part.
– Take your child to the toilet and help them get on it. If they pee great, if not that’s fine.
– Set timer for 15 minutes
– When timer goes off, take your child to the toilet and have them try again.
REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT
THINGS TO REMEMBER THAT DAY
– Make sure your child is consuming lots of liquids.
– If your child has an accident, don’t yell at them! Just say “oh no, we go potty on the toilet”, get new undies and move on.
– When your child does go potty, celebrate! This may include giving them a treat or sticker, it’s up to you and what works for your child.
– Have fun! You’re done with diapers!
night time tips
– Do not put a pullup on at night. Your child is ONLY in undies now.
– There will be an accident, usually. While our older 2 never wet the bed, our younger two definitely did the first 2-3 nights.
– Put a rubber sheet on their mattress because they are not easy to clean.
– Get ready for lots of laundry. Accidents may occur for 5+ nights, but they will stop, I promise! Our doctor said to me, “Would you rather clean the sheets for 6 nights or potty train with pull ups for a year?” We chose the first option.
– Many families choose to wake their child up halfway through the night to have them use the bathroom. We did not try that method and did have some accidents, but it’s whatever works for you!
in general reminders
– If your child is not getting the hang of it, they may not be ready. Take a few weeks or months and try again later. This should not be overwhelmingly stressful to you or your child.
– Like I said above, there will be accidents (most likely). Some kids never have a single accident, others do. The accidents usually occur at night or in the car. I know some people like to bring a little toilet in the car in case of an emergency. We choose not to do this. We would rather pull into a store to go.
– ALWAYS remind your child to use the restroom before your leave the house or wherever you are with a bathroom. I continue to remind my child for a few weeks. They are kids, they are busy, they need reminders.
– You do not want your child holding their pee forever. Another good reason to remind them or tell them to just go try in the bathroom. Some kids will realize they can hold it forever and that is just not healthy!
– Some kids do not love the feeling of pooping, but they will adjust. In the beginning I would sit with some of our kids for a good 15 minutes just waiting for the poop to come. When they finally go they will be SO excited. CELEBRATE!
Some children may have bladder issues, sensory issues etc. In those cases I would consult with your pediatrician or occupational therapist for their tips and help.
Again, this is what works for OUR family. Every family is different and every parent has a different philosophy for different situations. I think it is SO important to remember that every single child is different. Try not to let yourself compare to another child or family. Your kiddo is perfect the way they are and will use the toilet when they are good and ready!
Feel free to ask any questions or leave me more tips in the comments. With one more on the way, we still have some more “training” to do!