This isn't going to be a very glamorous post, but I wanted to take a minute to share a few tips on potty training for any parents out there who are either planning to start or currently in the process of training their toddlers.
We began potty-training Noah when he started to give us signs that he was ready, which started to happen right around the time that he turned two. Truthfully, this might be the most important tip I can give you-- do not get serious until you know your child is ready. If your child isn't starting to show signs and they aren't ready, you will just end up frustrating yourself.
We didn't do any crazy "potty training boot camps" or "potty train your toddler in one week!" routines. I see pins floating around on Pinterest for similar potty-training techniques all the time and I don't buy it. I had a breastfeeding infant to throw into the mix, after all. My son is also extremely stubborn.
In the beginning, we started off by simply letting Noah hang out in the bathroom with us (which isn't that crazy because if you aren't familiar with toddlers, they come into the bathroom with you every time that you go to the bathroom, ever.) Letting them see you is the only real introduction to using the potty.
1. Wait until they show you signs that they are ready-- As I mentioned above, right around the time that Noah turned two, he began doing things like hiding in his closet to poop (in his diaper.) Being that he is my first child, I didn't really pick up on this meaning anything. However, I randomly brought it up with his pediatrician and apparently, it meant something really important: that he was able to hold it in until he could hide. This is a huge sign that your toddler is ready to be potty-trained because if they know how to hold it, they know how to hold it until they can make it to a toilet.
2. Make a sticker chart-- When we were first beginning to brainstorm how we would go about potty training Noah, a few of our friends recommended rewarding him with chocolate every time he used his toilet. While it did work a little, a sticker chart, surprisingly, proved to be way more effective. I think Noah loved it because he was able to see his progress. I keep a variety of stickers in a small basket in the bathroom and every time he used the potty, he could pick one out for his chart. (I still keep the basket of stickers in the bathroom because we are currently using the sticker chart technique to motivate him to brush his teeth twice a day.) It makes Noah so happy to be able to pick out a sticker and place it on the chart himself.
3. Themed Underwear (and lots and lots of laundry detergent)- I'm not really a fan of buying Disney merchandise but boy, Noah gets so excited about it. He loves Mickey Mouse, Mater from Cars and Star Wars. If you aren't familiar with potty training at all, it pretty much is simply putting underwear on your toddler instead of a diaper and encouraging them to make it to the toilet when the feel the urge to go. Since it is all pretty new to them, seeing characters they love to watch on tv will make it more exciting for them. You spend most of your time at home in the beginning because it is the easiest. You go through a lot of underwear because they have tons of accidents at first so buy at least 5 packs of underwear and make sure you are stocked up on laundry detergent.
4. Toddler Potty (and a step stool)- The night before I gave birth to Meadow, Dan and I went to Target to walk around because I was having mild labor pains. In full nesting mode, I bought two styles of toddler potties-- an actual one that sits on the floor and one that sits on the regular toilet--to make it easier for a tiny toddler bum to use it and not fall in. He actually likes to use both and the one that sits on the regular toilet has proven to be great for traveling. When I go to work, my mom or my sister will watch him so I send the toilet seat over with him! The step stool, as I will get into more in a minute, is necessary for potty training a boy because they eventually pee standing up.
5. Patience and persistence Potty training does take time. At first, it seemed like there was no hope. In the beginning, I remember being on my knees scrubbing my carpets every day thinking that my son would never get the hang of making it to the potty to go to the bathroom. Every kid eventually gets the hang of it. You just have to give them the time they need and remember: if you don't put the work in, they won't either!
6. Dark chocolate- for you.
To all of the parents out there who are potty-training: you will get through it, I promise! I would also love to know- how did you potty-train your child (or children)? Any tips or tricks?
Image Credit: Essential Baby, AU