Potty training is something no book or website can teach you how to do. I know there are articles “potty train in three days!” and good for you if that worked! However, I don’t think it’s something that can be done so easily. Here’s how we potty trained Brandon before his second birthday. I’ve been writing this throughout our whole training process as to not forget anything!
1 – Interest! // Brandon showed a lot of interest in the bathroom as a whole starting around 18 months or so. He wanted to be in there with Kevin and I, he wanted to flush, he wanted to “see” and just be a part of the entire event. This was the first step towards us deciding we would give it a shot. We put him on the potty a few times here and there early on just to get him used to it but we did not start right away.
2 – Timing! // You know what they say, timing is everything. It’s not everything in this case, but it is important. Kevin and I decided to begin potty training over Thanksgiving week/weekend. We were home for four days straight with no plans to leave the house. You need to stay close to that potty!
3 – What? // I talked to a couple of friends about how they potty trained and what they used to potty train. Some suggested the training potty that sat on the floor so their little ones could do it themselves and others suggested the cover to fit over your existing toilet (boy mama’s make sure you have the shield!). We ended up having both options but used the cover on our existing toilet mostly because that is what our Daycare uses and we wanted to stay as close as possible to what he had already seen. During the first 6 months Brandon went gone back and forth about which potty he uses. I didn’t particularly like the small one on the floor (besides having to wash it) because he’s too excited to stand up and see his accomplishment he doesn’t finish completely; whereas on the big potty, he’s stuck there until we get him off.
4 – How? // This is where some of those tips & tricks came in handy for us.
* Remove all diapers, underwear and pants. Brandon needed to be free to pee at any moment, unnecessary clothing needs to be off. Plus, he loved being naked! We do live in the northeast so it wasn’t optimal temperature to be naked – long socks help keep legs and feet warm!
* Set a timer. We set a timer for 30 minutes and every time it went off, we put Brandon on the potty and read a potty book. Doesn’t matter what book, just read something! If nothing else, it makes them comfortable sitting on the potty for a period of time and not wanting to jump off.
* Clap! Jump! Congratulate! Do whatever you can in a loud obnoxious way when they do something good. This encourages them to keep doing what they’re doing. If there are other people in the house, get them in on the action too. Since we potty trained over a holiday, we had a full-house – making the Grandparents happy helped encourage Brandon to keep going. A naked toddler at the dinner table isn’t ideal, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
* Give treats. Everyone handles this differently. Some do stickers, some do toys, some do charts… this is all your preference. We did one goldfish or cookie for a pee and two for a poop. The poop eventually turned into a mini train, coined “poo-poo choo-choo”…but to be honest, Brandon didn’t care one bit about the toy, he wanted the food.
5 – Accept. // Accept the fact that there are going to accidents. There are going to be A LOT of accidents – especially this early in the game. Yes, we cleaned up a lot of pee off the floor, carpet and clothes and that’s OK! We never forced him to sit on the potty, we never yelled at him when he had an accident and even to this day we don’t get mad or yell.
It’s been almost a year since we started potty training and happy to say we are fully trained and it feels so great. Brandon was potty trained before his second birthday – meaning he was wearing underwear all day and going on the potty. Yes, of course he had accidents and came home from Daycare in different clothes at least once a week! He was wearing pull-ups during his nap as well as all night and that stopped on his terms. A couple months after his birthday we were getting ready for a nap and got his pull-up and he said “don’t need that”, we told him he has to stay dry….and he did, and has been dry ever since. Night time was also on his terms. While getting his pull-up ready for bed he said “don’t need pull-up”. We weren’t so quick to drop this one since he hadn’t woken up dry yet. We made a small chart and told him 5 days of a dry diaper and he can throw them away. Just like that, he was dry! So before 2.5 years old Brandon was potty trained. Of course he wets the bed once in a while – he sleeps real hard, or longer than usual, drinks a lot too late or refuses to pee before bed. It happens. And it’s fine! We put down pads ( which are also great if you’re pregnant and think your water breaking in bed sounds terrible ) for accidents and go about our lives. I’ll do an extra load of laundry if it means no more diapers!