Potty Training Plans
You guys, I can’t believe that after almost 9 years of changing diapers, this mama is about to have a diaper free house!!! Well…maybe I shouldn’t jinx it just yet but I really think Sophia is more than ready and will be a potty training rockstar! She’s going to be three in May and I have always potty trained my kids about three months before their 3rd birthday. I remember reading long ago that it was a magic age for potty training and it was definitely true for us! Of course each kid is different and some are ready much earlier, and some much later. I should also mention I don’t do night training until later once they have their daytime training down perfectly. Don’t feel pressured to rush it!
When I mentioned potty training Soph a couple months ago, I got TONS of requests to share how we train. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to share what I know with you ladies! That’s what friends are for, right?!
Ok, so here we go. First off, I HIGHLY suggest being fully prepared and have everything you need.
My recommendation is to set aside a minimum of 3 days with no real plans where you can be home and focus on the task at hand. On day 1 we spend the whole day at home, and most or all of day 2 also. I try keep them AWAY from the carpets or rugs/furniture (use waterproof pads on furniture if you let them). We do lots of arts and crafts, games, and play outside (I’d rather an accident on the driveway haha!).
Figure out what potty seat you want to use on your toilet. I’ve linked the only one we use below, it’s easy to clean because it’s all plastic and the cushion type seats just get really gross! I personally do not like the smaller potty seats because it’s just creates one more step that I have to eliminate down the road. With that being said, do what works for your child (duh!).
Have plenty of underwear on hand! I have linked the thicker training undies we use in the beginning along with my favorite underwear for kids from Carter’s. I’ve bought countless brands and once I landed on these (by recommendation from a friend, of course- a mom network is priceless at times like this!!) I never bought any other brand. They wash well, aren’t too thin, and don’t get baggy.
Rewards, rewards, rewards! This is KEY for potty training for me. I am not above bribery (truth) and I bring out the big guns. It sounds crazy but I literally gather old Easter eggs, and I fill each one with something fun. Every time they have a successful trip to the potty, they get to pick an egg and see what’s inside. I do stickers, m&m’s, tattoos, coins, anything! They get excited just to open them…and for when they “go big” they get to pick one of the special eggs which for Soph will have little LOL dolls inside. I also do a sticker chart (you can keep it simple and just simply draw a grid on a sheet of paper) and they get to put a sticker on their chart every time they try!
Prepare yourself for accidents, and be patient. Day 1 is never fun, but I promise it gets better. Don’t let yourself get frustrated and more importantly, if you do get frustrated do your very best not to show it! You don’t want them to have a negative connotation with this process or it will end up being an uphill battle. Just remember their entire lives they’ve peed in a diaper, and now they have to figure out something entirely new. It takes time!
Ok, so once I’ve prepared and have everything I want to have on hand, it’s time for business.
POTTY TRAINING BREAKDOWN:
Start potty training in the morning, right after wake up. I always felt that if I started mid day it would be confusing. I also build up the excitement the night before and tell them what’s happening the next day.
As soon as I get them up from bed, we sit on the potty for their first attempt. Most kids won’t do anything other than sit there and smile and feel really big and excited! Usually an accident follows ;) When that happens I simply explain how when they feel like potty is coming, they need to run run run to the potty. After this first accident I set the timer for 15-30 mins (once they actually go, I let them go longer). I try and convince them to drink lots of fluids which doesn’t always work but I try. Popsicles, juice, lemonade - all good things to have on hand!
Some kids do well with being bottomless/naked and some do well with having their new underwear on. I always let my kids wear the underwear because honestly it’s part of the excitement for them! Especially the younger siblings, nothing is more exciting than wearing underwear like their big sister/brother!
Day 1 is all about repetition. Set your timer on your phone or play a “potty song” every time it’s time to go and try. It may become a battle and they won’t want to stop playing to try and go. That’s where the stickers and all the rewards come in. Keep at it, and stay patient. Once they get their pee into the potty, they will be SO EXCITED. Celebrate it and be sure and give them ALL the praise for it.
Don’t get into the habit of asking them if they “need” to go potty- they will rarely say yes (especially after the novelty wears off). I always say “It’s time to go potty” so it’s not really their choice. If there’s a struggle I sometimes will just forewarn and say that in 1 minute we are going to try to go potty, etc.
When it’s nap time or bedtime - I suggest using a pull up and call them sleeping underwear. Don’t let them think they’re going to wear a diaper again, it’s too confusing. But I for one am NOT down with wet or dirty sheets to change all day so I always did pull ups for naps and night at first and my kids all did amazing with potty training and never regressed. That’s just my experience! By the way this is the ONLY time I use a pull up again. Once we train it’s underwear only, no exceptions, period.
Day 2 may be better or it may be worse for some, but just keep at it. This day is perfect for going on a walk around the neighborhood or leaving the house for a short time. I bring a travel potty with me which I have linked below and also recommend keeping something in the trunk of your car also for longer outings (I really hate public bathrooms!!). Based on how they’re doing, I may spread out potty visits to an hour once they have success.
Day 3 is when I venture out for a super simple outing to test things out. Going to your neighborhood park is a great idea and don’t forget the travel potty! Day 3 is when things fully clicked for my kids. They were able to understand the sensation of when they needed to go and they consistently made it to the potty in time and could tell me that they needed to go. If it takes an extra few days though, IT’S OKAY! I really feel if you keep at it, it clicks for all kids eventually. Your kid won’t be in a diaper forever ;) I also suggest making it a habit to make sure they try to potty before leaving the house, always! I still make my older kids go before we leave the house!
Going poop: this can sometimes be tricky!! My kids all basically held their poop the first day and didn’t go much if any at all. Don’t stress, they will! If it’s a real struggle, try reading a book to them while they sit, letting them use an iPad or watch a tv show, etc. They need to feel relaxed and not pressured. This part can be a challenge for some but for us, after a couple days the fear subsided and they didn’t have any issues.
After a few days of constant rewards and praise, I gradually wean from the treats and prizes. I’ve never had an issue with them refusing to go if they weren’t getting a treat (although with my feisty Sophia this may be an issue, haha!)
I’ve included a bunch of my potty training must haves here which also includes a piddle pad that you may want to use on their carseat just in case! I know this is a looooong winded post but I sure hope it was helpful! Happy potty training, we got this mamas!!!!