The mere mention of those words can take the fiercest of mommas and make her all twisted and cringy inside. Cringy…that’s a word, right?
Anyway, potty training. Yes, it can break even the strongest of mothers.
Since that is often the case, today I’d like to give some insight from my view as a mom of four…Three of whom have completed potty training (PHEW!!!), and one who is coming up on that stage (Any and all prayers would be much appreciated!!!).
Anyway, along this momma road, I have had a hand in helping several kiddos, aside from my own, make it to the other side of potty training as well.
As my sweet love, Matt, said, “Yeah, potty training…You can write about that. You’ve been doing it for what…25 years?”
Why yes, that does feel quite accurate, my dear.
And though every kid is different and there is no set age at which to start potty-training, I have found that there are several things that seriously help jumpstart the process.
But before I share them, let me first relieve you of all your expectations.
If you have ever done a quick google search of “How to potty-train my toddler” you will find A TON of grabby headlines that promise you a fully potty-trained tot at the end of a weekend program…
It is truly AMAZING!!
And you want to know what else it is???
It is true that some kids will get it super quick, as did daughter #2 in my second go round with the PT-ing. It was a little less than a week from start to finish (including overnight) using the principles that I’m about to share with you.
But does it always happen that fast? Dear Lort, no.
In the case of my sweet son (child #3), it took months to get everything down where he could do it on his own.
It is a process, and it is called “training” for a reason. You can’t train to run a marathon overnight, and you can’t train a child to use the toilet that fast either.
However, I CAN promise you that if you follow these simple rules, you will find that they get the basics down pretty quickly, and from there it comes down to practice, practice, practice!
So without further adieu, here are my FIVE POTTY PRACTICE PRINCIPLES TO JUMPSTART YOUR TOT’S TOILET TRAINING. (Check out all of that alliteration…#happygal.)
When you are ready to jump feet-first into big-kid undies, here’s what you do:
#1. STAY AT HOME.
Seriously, this is key. Don’t skip it. You will want to plan on staying at home for a couple of days and be in very close proximity to the toilet.
You will want to have play space very near the bathroom for easy access to that ivory throne. So take a couple of days off or block off your weekend, because you’ve got big plans with a capital P(ee).
#2. GET NAKED.
This is for the kid…not you. 🙂
Seriously, you’re going to be busy for the next couple of days…you definitely won’t have time for anything else. And having clothes on that tot will only make it tougher to make it to the toilet on time.
Plus, clothes during the first stages of potty-training only creates more laundry for you. And since I’m pro-anything-that-lightens-my-laundry-load, naked it is!
#3. DRINK…A LOT.
Again, this is for your tot…but let’s be real, you’re probably going to need glass or two of something stronger than water to get you through this process.
So grab your little one’s (and your) favorite cup and keep it full. Juice, water, milk…make that child drink and drink and drink some more.
We need lots of pee generated so that they can get the hang of things.
#4. SET A TIMER.
At first, you will want to set the timer for every 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, pop your tot on the toilet. Tell them it is time to go pee/tinkle/potty (insert whatever word you want to use).
Now comes the waiting…hang out for a couple of minutes. Talk about bathroom routines (When we need to pee, we come in here. We sit on the toilet. We go pee. We wipe our bottom, flush the toilet, close the lid…teach those boys early, Momma! Then we wash our hands, turn off the light and shut the door.)
If pee doesn’t happen in a couple of minutes, go back to playing and reset your timer.
#5. WHEN PEE DOES HAPPEN, FREAKING CELEBRATE!!!
I’m not kidding. This is your time to get cray-cray. Do people say that anymore? Idk…maybe it’s time to get bae. I’m not really sure…anyway, I digress.
The point is, it is time to party. Cheer for that little one like they did the coolest thing in the world. Because they totally did!
And when they win points from you, that will make them want to do it again and again.
After they have peed, set the timer again. After an hour or so of every 5 minutes, step it up to 7…then 10…then 15…
You can gradually increase the time between tries as they gain success. Again, yes, this is tedious and boring repetitive stuff, but this will get you far in a short amount of time!
Well, that’s it. Those are the basics.
HOME, NAKED, DRINK, TIMER, CELEBRATE (That makes it sound so fun, right?). Those are the 5 principles that I have used every single time, and they work.
Use them and you will be on your way to having a fully potty-trained big kid for reals!!!
Before you go, here are a 10 HELPFUL REMINDERS that I wanted to share with you on the topic:
Remember, you are going to have to be super committed and present during these first couple of days. Put down the phone and make some serious playtime fun happen.
If you don’t like play…see my little note in the “drink” section. 😉 That will make you a little more willing to play puzzles, finger puppets, and trains all day.
Remember to keep your timer handy. But even with a strict timer, sometimes your tot may not make it.
This is where you have to be quick…When your little lady or gent starts to pee when you aren’t in the bathroom on the toilet, you have to kick into gear fast!
Hop up, and get them on that toilet! Reinforce (encouragingly) that pee goes into the toilet, and then cheer like crazy when they finish up on the potty.
Remember, expecting your kiddo to be completely trained (in anything) in only a weekend is ridiculous.
It would be harmful to your little one (and to yourself) to put those kinds of expectations on them at this point, so just don’t.
In all things, parenting included, you will find that learning, teaching, and training take LOTS of time and repetitive action.
Remember that they will eventually get it (if you feel like that’s not true, just look around. You won’t see many teenagers sporting Mickey Mouse Huggies.)
So even though it may feel miles away when you start, just remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other. One pee at a time, you’ll make it to full-time undies.
Remember that just because your BFF’s daughter got fully potty-trained in 4 days, that does not mean that your son will. But if you keep at it, you will be sharing your own success story very soon.
On the “being ready” note, you should know that this will work best if your kiddo can communicate with you effectively before you begin.
Use the “feed the fishes” trick. I can’t remember where I picked up this trick, but I’ve used it to help all of my kids go poop on the toilet.
For some reason that is scarier than peeing…So you tell them that when they poop, they get to “feed the fishes.” Then it becomes a fun activity instead of a scary one.
Since your tot is naked during much of this process, prepare yourself for a few messes…If you have non-carpeted floors, thank your lucky stars.
If not, you can grab a disposable puppy pad or an old towel to have handy during playtimes.
Save yourself a big headache later…I never used a toddler toilet…because #1, ewwwwwww. I DID NOT want to have to clean that thing! I’ve got enough stuff to clean!
And #2, I always figured that training them once to use the big toilet was better than training them on a toddler toilet and then having to retrain them on the regular one.
Bonus, you’ll never have an Oh-Sh*t-we’re-in-a-public-place-and-there-is-no-tiny-toilet-and-now-we-have-to-use-the-big-scary-toilet problem. You’re welcome. 🙂
Remember that you are FABulous and so is your tot. This is duper hard, but it is just a stage. Stick with these tips and you’ll be through it soon. May the odds be ever in your favor, my friend!
Alrighty, gals. There it is. My much-requested potty-training post.
Please take a sec to think about all the moms you know who have kids. Now go share this with them.
When you do, you help a momma through one of the toughest parenting tasks out there and you help this momma get more readers.
It is a win, win, win. 🙂
And remember, Mommin’ ain’t easy, but you are doing a FABulous job!
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