Potty training. The one parenting hurdle I was scared to jump over. Not only can it be one of the most challenging parts of parenting, but’s its the last step before your baby is officially not a baby anymore.
What you need to know about potty training is that, with anything, every kid is different and you can’t compare your child’s potty training journey to another’s. It’s easy to get frustrated when kids a year or more younger than yours are potty trained, or when a friend’s kid just decides over night they’re going to use the toilet exclusively. I knew going in that our situation would be a little more complicated. For one, Liam is stubborn and does everything in his own time. But he also has three different places where he spends the majority of his time, home, his dad’s and the day home, which makes it more challenging than someone who might get to be at home every day to work on it. Remember to stop comparing and just focus on my own kid was key for me. It doesn’t matter if your child is trained at one year or four, everyone eventually learns.
We started the process shortly after Liam’s second birthday by trying to get him to announce after he’d gone in his diaper and then get him to tell us before he had to go. I started to worry that he’d be five before he’d ever tell anyone when he’d gone. He would probably be content to sit in a wet or dirty diaper for hours without saying anything. Knowing he had the fundamentals down from showing him what to do, using toys to show him how it’s done, reading books, etc, we just kept encouraging him but never making a big deal out of it.
His third birthday came and went. By this point we had tried bribing I’m with candy or small toys (Lego men are his jam) but he lost interest and the bribes weren’t working. I never pushed, but always encouraged and reminded him. When it started to get frustrating, I’d back off and try again later. In January, I decided to introduce a chart to him. I found some Mickey Mouse stickers and loaded up with Lego guys. The rules were he could put a sticker on the chart every time he used the toilet. At the end of a row, he’d get a new Lego guy and when he filled up the chart we would go pick a new toy our at the store. As soon as I told him this, he knew he wanted to buy a “light saber that turned on” and it was game on.
It didn’t take him long to catch on or to fill up his chart. He was so proud when he went to pick out his light saber and his new big boy underwear. But this didn’t mean he was fully potty trained. Number two was still an issue so we made a new chart and he only got a sticker for pooping. Progress was a little slower here, and it’s definitely taken some time for him to catch on at both my house, his dad’s and the day home, but he’s almost at the end of that second chart. He’s almost exclusively wearing his big boy underwear, aside from at night time where he wears pull-ups. I’m so happy that I decided to take a casual approach to potty training. I truly believe that this happened when he was ready and with the right motivators in place.
Right as Liam started his chart, we were sent a pack of Huggies Pull-Ups from Influenster. He loves them for the Mickey Mouse graphic and easily pulls them up and down the same as his big boy underwear. He’s always quick to change out of them in the morning if he pees in the night because they turn cold when they get wet. Although, when we first started doing the chart, this wouldn’t bother him during the day.
My advice for parents starting out their potty training journey?
- Let your child pick out their own toilet seat.
- Let them watch you go and explain what you’re doing. Use their favourite toys to demonstrate, read books, watch videos, etc so they get the basics
- Make it their idea. Instead of asking if they have to go, remind them to tell you when they have to go.
- If it’s not working, don’t push it. Try again in a few more weeks.
- Use positive reinforcement. Reward them when they’ve done good, but don’t punish them if they have an accident.
- Be prepared to do lots of laundry and clean your bathroom a lot more frequently (especially if you have a boy)
- Be patient. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t compare. Your child will not be in diapers forever.
Any other potty training tips to add?
Disclaimer: I received a package of Huggies Pull-Ups for testing purposes through Influenster. All opinions are my own! Thanks Influenster!