It’s a universal truth: potty training is the worst. Have you ever met a parent who said they loved potty training their toddler? Anyone? That’s what we thought.
Potty training is essential, but so many kids fight it. Like really fight it. Do a quick Google search for potty training methods, and you will find about five thousand that are guaranteed to work in three to six days. It’s a miracle!
In all realness, there is no miracle answer for potty training. It takes work, patience, and dedication to ensure success. Luckily for you, we have compiled some tips to help with the process.
Join Twin Cities Kids Club today for access to local discounts and events throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding areas. Our goal is to make your parenting journey a bit easier any way we can.
Is My Kid Ready for Potty Training?
The first thing to consider is if your child is even ready to potty train. If you are starting too early, you’re only in for grief and frustration.
Many people want an age for potty training readiness. Short answer: there is no such age. Every child is different in their abilities and understanding. Ask a parent of three or four kids, and they will tell you each of their children was ready at a different time and in a different way.
There are several things you should consider before starting any potty training technique. Ask yourself these questions:
- Can my child follow simple instructions?
- Does my child understand what the potty is and understand words about using the potty?
- Can my child make the connection between needing to potty and using the potty?
- Does my child regularly have a dry diaper for two or three hours during the day?
- Can my child physically sit on the toilet for enough time to go potty?
- Can my child physically pull down panties, underwear, or training pants?
- Does my child seem interested in using the potty or wearing panties or underwear?
If the answer to at least most of these questions is yes, your child might be ready to potty train. Sometimes a parent of an 18-month old can answer yes to most of these. Sometimes a child might be closer to three before they’re ready.
Don’t get caught up in comparisons. There is no right or wrong age. Focus on your child and where they are at.
When Should I Start Potty Training?
While there might not be an exact right time to potty train, there are definitely times you should NOT attempt it.
If your family or child is going through significant changes, you should consider holding off potty training. Changes might include:
- Traveling or vacations
- Birth of a new brother or sister
- Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed or bed
- Moving houses
- Right after or while your child is sick
- At the start of a new school or school year
Children are only able to process and deal with so many things at a time. Set your child up for success by allowing them to only focus on potty training and not have to deal with two major things at the same time.
Ideally, your child will be healthy and your schedule will be consistent. Ensure you are able to be home most of the day for at least a week or so with your child. If you have lots of events you can not get out of, it is wise to wait until your schedule has slowed down.
Before you start planning potty training, there are some things you might want to get.
First, you will need a toilet your child can use. There are different options to choose from. Typically, you can get a stand-alone option that sits on the bathroom floor or a seat-topper for your toilet.
Let your child help you choose their training toilet. Likely, they will want to use it more if they pick it out.
Second, you will need panties, underwear, or training pants. Panties or underwear themselves can be a special part of potty training. There are so many themes and characters on kids’ underwear today.
Choose your child’s favorite show or movie. Plus, you can remind them that Else doesn’t want to get peed on to discourage accidents!Third, you will want rewards. There are different schools of thought on rewarding potty training.
Many parents use a sticker chart to track successful potty attempts each day. Give your child a sticker to put on the chart each time they pee.
Other parents get a big bag of small candy, like Skittles or M&Ms, and give a piece of candy or two each time they use the toilet. It could end up being a bit of sugar, so it’s up to you as a parent if you want to go this route.
Of course, you can also make a trip to the dollar store and stock up on cheap but special prizes and hang them up in the bathroom. Each time your child goes into the bathroom, they will see all of the potential prizes.
Spend the weeks or months leading up to potty training building it up with your child. Talk about how big boys and girls use the toilet. Whenever you go to the bathroom, and they inevitably follow you, talk about what you’re doing.
When you change their diaper, talk about how they will get to use the big boy or girl potty soon. Tell them that big boys and girls make sure their pee and poop go in the toilet. You can even dump poop from diapers into the toilet so they can see it go in.
Potty Training Tips
- Ensure you have plenty of time set aside to potty train. Don’t try to squeeze it in between vacations and planned events.
- Don’t force your child to sit on the toilet. If they are seriously fighting you, they might not be ready.
- Ensure your child is well-hydrated, and we mean WELL. If you are ok with juice, give them juice all day. They can’t pee if they don’t have fluids in them.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes. That way, you can set your child on their toilet every 20 minutes throughout the day, and you won’t get distracted and forget.
- Remind your child to try to go potty after waking up and meals.
- Watch for signs of needing to potty and encourage them to go to the toilet if you see them.
- Do not berate or punish your child harshly if they have accidents. They WILL have accidents. Remind them to pee or poop on the potty and ask them to help clean up the mess.
- If you feel comfortable, let them be partially naked and go pants and underwear free the first couple of days. It’s much easier to rush to the potty when they get the urge and be successful if they don’t have to remove clothing.
- Ensure your child is wearing clothes that are easy to pull down and up.
- Always praise them when they sit on the toilet, even if nothing comes out.
Once they get it, take them out to eat as a reward! Check out our list of places where kids eat free.
Finally, be patient! You love your child, remind yourself and them. This is a process and will not happen overnight. Stick with it, and you will both get to the other side.
Don’t forget to join Twin Cities Kids Club today!