Preparing for Potty Training
Did you know that by rushing into potty training before your little one is actually ready for it can actually do more damage than good? Please make sure you have read up on the signs to look for and that your child is showing those signs before you begin the process or you will only make it harder on yourself & your kiddo, PLUS they will be even more against cooperating. Here are some great resources for checking to see if your child may be ready for potty training.
- plenty of undies
- laundry detergent
- gloves (for cleaning up some big messes that could come)
- treats/rewards (stickers, small candies) - We gave M&M's
- potty chairs (one for each bathroom & one to take with you when you leave the house)
- easy-up pants/bottoms
- plastic tarp or something to cover furniture or provide a clean space for sitting
- potty training pads for car seat
For rewards, we used individual M&M's and had a scaled reward system and kept it consistent. It worked for our son, so it may or may not work for your kiddo, just sharing.. Keep in mind he is very verbal and can easily comprehend what we are telling him.
When in the beginning and just learning to potty train, he was getting:
1 M&M for "trying"
1 M&M for going potty
1 M&M for going poo
So this means he could get up to 3 M&M's in a trip to the potty, if he were to "try," go potty, and go poo. They all combine... Does that make sense?
You Have a Streaker!
Day 1 - every 15 minutes
Day 2 - every 20-25 minutes
Day 3 - every 30-40 minutes
TIP: One thing that I found that helped with our son was that when it was time for him to try on the potty, I would get on the big potty and try at the same time. He is used to going to the bathroom with me or his daddy so this is a normal thing to him and I think helped to put him at ease. I had originally tried sitting him on his potty and would sit on the floor next to him and talk with him or try to cheer him on as he tried, but that didn't work long. I definitely don't recommend standing up in the restroom while the child is on the potty during these first few days as they could take it the wrong way. I know my son seemed to begin a power struggle and would refuse to try and begin temper tantrums when I took that position during his "trying." Any time I sat on the potty and tried with him, I had a much higher success rate with him actually going on the potty. **Just a tip from parent to parent.**
Make sure that every time your child succeeds, you celebrate their victory over the potty, that they stayed dry, and make a big deal over flushing the potty/poo away. Then wash up and immediately reward your little guy/gal for their hard work. Even make a spectacle about it by calling family (other parent, grandparents, etc) to tell them how great your child did on the potty. This will make your child want to do it again.
This stage helps your child to learn that they are going to have something containing their bottom & private space but that they still will need to go to the bathroom on the potty chair/toilet. If you skip this step and go straight from nude to undies, you could likely end up with a child who just continues to treat the undies as a diaper, which I have had with my oldest son. I can tell you from experience, it is not pleasant and lasted years. A few days of crotch-less undies for my little one to have him potty trained properly was worth it.
So while your child is wearing the underwear with the hole, you will continue to take them to the potty to try on the same schedule, but make sure you are having the conversation with them by this point about whether or not they "need to go" or "want to try." They should be getting into the groove of the terminology to make the transition easier later on. Also, you will likely have been noticing body language patterns that your child has for leading up to when they need to go potty or poo (if you didn't already know their patterns). Make sure to make a mental note and keep this in mind for any baby sitter or family who may watch the child soon. This stage should only last 1-2 days. If you need it to last longer, take the time your child needs. You will know when it is time to go to full undies.
Examples of body language to watch for may include getting very still or seeming to space out, looking strained, and for my son, he tends to stand in a funky position I can't even describe, but I just know.
The Full Monty
Watch your little one for the signs of when they need to go potty/poo and I was asking my son about every hour and having him try just in case. If you are brave enough to venture out of your home with your child, make sure to take a portable potty or topper & everything you need to have a successful trip. Make sure to plan out your trip so that you are aware of places you can stop every 20-30 minutes if needed. I don't know what it is about car rides, but it makes my son need to go more frequently. Continue to celebrate every success & don't be upset if they have an accident. With our son, I just made sure to tell him we want to make sure to stay dry so he doesn't feel yucky down there (and he agreed with me). Do not scold them, though or anything of the sort.
The every hour going to the potty will get better eventually. Our son has been officially potty trained for one month now and for the last two weeks has been only going to the potty every 2-3 hours or so. He just tells me when he needs to go.
- Only focus on one part of potty training at a time. Focus on day training and then night, not both. We got lucky and he had already been staying dry on his own overnight and during naptime. Once you have success with daytime potty training, you can easily switch to the sleeping potty training by just avoiding fluids for the last 30-60 minutes prior to sleeping time in addition to going potty right before any sleep time & right when they wake up. This has helped us tremendously. He has only wet his bed twice I think in this whole month of potty training.
- When your child has a big success (for older children that will better understand it) such as staying dry for an overnight, a whole dry day or something similar, throw them a pizza party or a dinner out, something nice to celebrate more than just the typical reward.
- Again, for the older children (I feel it doesn't apply to younger kids), you may try a sticker chart to show progress as motivation.
- If your child is comfortable with it, try transitioning to the toilet topper once they have fully potty trained instead of using the small potty chairs. This will prevent a lot of clean up for you as well as make it a more standard practice for when you go out and have to use it so it doesn't seem so foreign.
- Even if your child is showing multiple signs of readiness, if they start this process and get to a certain point and just hit a wall and you honestly feel it will not be something you can overcome, don't push your child. You don't want to traumatize them (which can be done without getting angry or yelling) when it comes to this or it will make this WAY harder than it needs to be. Just celebrate any successes they did have and move on. Maybe a few months down the road, you can revisit the whole thing and try again. We had to do this as I had tried to potty train our son around 18 months old when he was showing some of the signs but he rebelled. I decided that I didn't think it was the right time. This time went much smoother.