When I started to think about potty training my son, I didn’t read any how to books. Instead, I talked to the moms I know who had lived through the ups and downs of pee pee and potty seats, and listened to their tips. This mom to mom sharing is so valuable and really worked for me when I began toilet training my son last year. Today, I am paying it forward by passing on my Top 10 Mom Tested Potty Training Tips:
- Relax – Don’t stress. Your child will learn how to use the potty sooner or later, and later is okay.
- Readiness – A huge part of potty training is readiness and each child is different. Toddlers may not have the interest and/or focus to seriously potty train. For us, age 3 was the magic number when we were able to go from pull-ups to underwear with my son. At that point, he was comfortable sitting on the potty and had been going there to pee on and off for several months. I would tend to say that older is better based on my experience, but I also have a mom friend whose 2 year old decided she was ready to wear big girl panties one day and that was it – she was trained.
- Celebrate success – When you first introduce the potty and your son or daughter makes a pee or a poo, celebrate it! High fives all around. Clapping. Balloons. A star chart. Smarties. A sticker on their hand. Whatever works for you, be sure to make a big deal out of it. Don’t be discouraged if your child seems interested for a while and then forgets about it. That’s normal too.
- Take off the diaper – It is harder for a child to notice that they have to pee when wearing a diaper or pull-up. One mom friend advised me to try taking off my son’s diaper and letting him go naked for periods of time so he could learn the sensation of having to go. Then I would ask him if he had to pee and watch for any pee pee dances, leg crossing or grabbing himself and we would run to the potty frequently! Now if your kid just starts peeing everywhere, I would revert back to #2 and reassess his/her level of readiness. I do not believe in making your life a living hell by having pee or poo all over the place.
- Put on Underwear – Once we had some success going without the diaper, we tried the next step – underwear. We took the dude to the store with us and picked out some fabulous Cars underwear. Then we just tried it out during the day to see what would happen. For us, it went well, and I really credit my son’s readiness at that point. If he wasn’t ready, that would have been okay too and I would have gone back to pull-ups.
- Commit – Once you start potty training, commit to it and take your child to the potty often and whenever you go.
- Bribery works – When we were trying to get poops happening on the potty, we bought some small “prizes” – play doh, hot wheels cars, lego etc – and displayed them up on the mantel where our son could see them. The trick was finding things he really wanted badly. When he decided he wanted something up there, he learned how to poop in the potty on demand. There is no downside to bribery when it comes to potty training.
- Accidents happen – Don’t scold your child about accidents. Don’t get mad because let’s be real – accidents are going to happen. Just be matter of fact about it and go get them all cleaned up.
- Dream pee – To prevent night-time accidents, take your child for a dream pee – an extra trip to the potty – before you go to bed. You don’t have to wake them all the way up. I carry my son to the bathroom, sit him on the potty and most times he will go. Not always, but it has saved me from having to do a lot of extra laundry.
- Spin Cycle – Don’t leave pee-soaked clothes or bedding to marinate. You will regret it. Just wash that laundry right away. I speak from experience when I tell you it only gets more disgusting with time.
I have heard about some pretty well known books that claim to teach a child to potty train in a weekend. I won’t say it never works because each child is different. However, many of the moms I have talked to believe potty training happens over time. So don’t get frustrated if you read a book and that method didn’t happen for your child. Your child is normal. Take a break from the situation and reassess your child’s readiness level down the road before trying potty training again.
And if you have any mom tested potty training tips that have worked for you, please let me know in the comment section. I’d love to hear your tips!<