I hate potty training! For me, it ranks up right up there with one of the most frustrating things you will do as a parent. The lesson I learned training my oldest son was that it’s pointless to push it if your child is not ready. As ready as you may be to stop changing diapers, your child may simply not be ready. If you force it, there will be a lot of tears and screaming. Some kids are ready to be trained before they are two, and then there are some, like my oldest son, who don’t train until they are nearly three.
When you are thinking about starting to potty train your little one, I think it is important to research different methods. Once you’ve decided which method you want to go with, get the gear all set up and get your child excited for the next step in becoming a big boy or big girl.
Potty Training Methods
The Timer Method. You take a specific amount of time (a day or a week) and dedicate it to potty training your little one. You don’t leave the house much and send your little one to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so. This can be very successful, but can also be frustrating for the parent because it is obviously quite time consuming.
Diapers to Pull-Ups Method. With this method, you just switch your child from diapers to pull-ups and hope that the sensation of feeling wet makes them want to use the potty. I don’t really see how this would work since none of my kids have ever been upset by sitting in a wet diaper.
Reward method. I tried this one several times and it worked for a while each time. The first time we rewarded him with temporary tattoos. By the end of the week, he was covered from head to toe. He thought it was awesome, but when the tattoos stopped, so did he. The next time I tried this method, I took 3 little prizes (Matchbox cars) and hung them on the wall by the toilet with thumb tacs. Each time he pooped he could choose a little prize. This was awesome until the prizes ran out. He was furious the first time he went and didn’t get a prize!
Straight to underwear method. With this method, your toddler goes to the store and picks their favorite underwear. You put them in the underwear right away and tell them to use the potty. You plan on accidents happening and them getting upset enough about soaking their new underwear that they want to stop and use the potty only. The problem with this is that you will for sure be cleaning up accidents off the floors.
Child Driven Potty Training. With this method, you basically let the child decide when they were ready to start potty training. You get all the gear set out but don’t force your child to use any of it. Eventually they decide when they are ready. Unfortunately this often takes longer than the parents would like. This was the method that ended up working for my oldest son. The good part was that when he was finally ready, it didn’t take long for him to get it.
Potty Training in 3 Days. A few of my friends have had a lot of success with this method, and I wish I had read into it before I decided to start training my oldest son. Unfortunately I had a baby a month before he turned 2, and I was a bit busy with baby stuff at the time. This e-book claims to teach you how to look for potty training signs in your child as well as a list of do’s and don’ts for successful potty training. I think it is a method worth checking out.
Now that you’ve decided which method to try, you need to get all of the potty training gear set up!
I am not a big fan of the separate potty chairs. I bought a really nice one before we started potty training. I got rid of it as soon as my very independent son tried emptying it the toilet himself… as you can imagine it was disgusting! He also didn’t like that he wasn’t going potty like his daddy. We ended up getting the Prince Lionheart weePOD, and I still love it. It is lightweight and easy for them to put on the toilet by themselves. It is basically a nice, comfy toilet seat where they don’t have to worry about falling in the toilet. Ours hangs on a Command hook next to the toilet! All you need to let them be completely able to use this by themselves is a small step stool, like the folding step stool from Munchkin.
I also suggest getting a couple products to help your child independently wash their hands. Aquaduck makes a handle extender and faucet extender that are awesome! My 2 year old and 4 year old still use these.
Reading to your toddler about potty training is another good idea. There are many books out there that can help you get them excited about using the potty and eliminate any fears they may have.
The most important piece of advice I have for potty training is to be patient and gently guide your toddler on this new adventure! Good luck!