Potty training is one of those things every parent kind of dreads… well at least I am dreading it! There are tons of suggestions out there as well as millions on millions of “proven tips” that just do not work. Well, for us, there are a few things that we have found to be effective, and I want to share them with you to help ease the transition from diaper to potty.
First of all you will need to pick out a good brand of training pants that can encourage your child to use the potty like a big kid, and that are easy to get on and off. We had the amazing opportunity to try out KangaCare’s Ecoposh Recycled Organic Training Pants.
When I first opened the package I was kind of taken aback as they were incredibly soft, and felt thick enough to withstand small accidents. I immediately threw them in the wash (I recommend doing this with all training pants, and cloth diapers alike to help with absorbency).
Since there are 3 sizes to choose from, these trainers can be used all through toddlerdom, and on after your littles have stopped using diapers altogether. One of the other amazing things we love about these is that you can use the Bamboo 6r Soaker insert that comes with the Kangacare cloth diapers. This can help you make it through nap time or a car ride without worrying about the mess.
So, let’s get to it. Here are our 10 Tips for Successful Potty Training:
Let them take charge. Once your baby becomes a toddler, they want to assert their independence more and more. By letting them take charge, it can help to make them feel more secure and confident in what is going on. If you are using a “special potty”, let them empty it into the toilet, and help rinse it out.
Create a target. For some children, knowing where to aim is important. This is most effective with little boys, but can make using the big kid potty fun. Try Cheerios, Fruit Loops, or any round cereal. For girls, you can try adding red, or blue food coloring to the potty. When they pee, it will change colors, also making it super fun.
Throw out the diapers! This is something you will want your child to be a part of. Start by showing your little one their morning diaper (the one they wore during the night), roll it up and have your child toss it in the garbage if its a disposable, and in the laundry if its a cloth diaper. Have them tell their baby diapers “bye-bye” and make a huge deal out of it. Express your excitement, and then introduce their new big kid undies. Make a huge deal out of this too.
After getting those first trainers on, give them water! Now! Get that bladder full and keep a close eye out, this is when you want to watch for accidents, and show them to the potty. Recommendations are to take them every 15 minutes to the bathroom. Even if they have an accident, put them on the potty, and explain that this is where the pee pee goes.
First time peeing in the potty, make it a celebration! Do a dance, sing a silly song, clap and cheer. However you celebrate, do it. This is a huge moment and they need to know they did a great job. If you are using a potty chart, add a sticker or a mark indicating what they accomplished. Save treats for the end of the day, and reward a full day with no accidents.
Make flushing fun. This is another one of those musts when using the potty, so practice. When they go pee or poo, have them flush when they get down and cheer them on. Most small children love to flush the toilet to see the water go down, but only allow them to flush when they go. This can be kind of like getting a treat all in itself.
Be sure your little one is really ready. This probably should have been my first tip, but here we are anyway. You will know that your child is ready for a big kid potty when they make it through nap time, or through the whole night and still have a dry diaper. This is a sign of bladder control, and is extremely important for successful training. Also, keep an eye out for them to tell you they have gone. This is how we realized the time was coming.
If you still aren’t sure, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet, or in wearing underwear?
- Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
- Does your child tell you through words, facial expressions or posture when he or she needs to go?
- Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?
- Does your child complain about wet or dirty diapers?
- Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
- Can your child sit on and rise from a potty chair?
If you answered yes to most of these, then yes, it’s time.
Be calm about accidents, this will almost always happen in the beginning and if it didn’t with your kid, props to you!! By overreacting to accidents, this can cause your little one to feel fearful, and develop anxiety around using the potty. Hence, prolonging their training. No matter how frustrated you get, do not punish them for accidents. It really can do more harm than good.
Don’t hover! Once you realize they know what’s going on and they want to go to the potty, let them. Of course check in on them to be sure that potty break didn’t turn into a toothpaste painting on your bathroom walls, but let them have a little privacy. This could help to encourage bowel movements as well as peeing in the potty.
Don’t give up. No matter how hard it seems, how many accidents happen, and how reluctant your little one might seem in the beginning, remember you are not alone, your child will use the potty when they are ready, and you are doing everything you can to help them transition from baby diapers to big kid undies. You are an awesome parent, and you are doing great. Don’t be discouraged.
I cannot promise your child will be potty trained in a day, a week, or even a month, this is fully up to your child and their state of readiness. But if you create a routine with them, and are consistent I do promise your littles will be using the potty before you know it! I made some charts, and certificates for your enjoyment and use in this amazing time in your child’s life. Above everything else, have fun with your baby. Remember, this is hard for them, too.