Do you remember How NOT to Potty Train Your Toddler? Guess what?! I’m back with an update! How TO Potty Train Your Toddler! That’s right! After 4 tries, my toddler is now (for the most part) potty trained. Here is what finally worked for us.
Toddlers Care About Their Schedule
After each of my failed attempts, my mom friends tried to gently tell me my little one just wasn’t ready yet. They told me I would know when she was ready – THEY WERE RIGHT. If you are thinking to yourself, “my kid is 2, it MUST be time to potty train,” but your kid is sitting in dirty diapers and seems to be a-okay with it – it’s not time! Your kid will let you know when THEY are ready to use the potty and it will be so much easier for both of you if you wait to potty train until they are actually ready.
My girl’s clues to readiness started with being very insistent on going pee in the potty before bath time each night. And, she started to ask me to change her diaper throughout the day – something she never did before. There came a day when I did KNOW it was time. Trust your mama friends who have gone through it. Trust your gut. Enjoy the ease that diapers can bring for just a little bit longer.
Knowing What to Expect Helps
I have been reading up on potty training since our first attempts and I read several potty training “manuals.” My favorite for parents is Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. I did much of what her book suggests – the first day, my girl was totally naked and we stayed home the entire day. Not only did that make clean up a little easier but I could watch for signs that she had to go to the bathroom. She did awesome that first day (maybe 2 accidents) and so the next day, we moved on to wearing a dress only. Again, we stayed home the entire day and just had a repeat of the day before (except no accidents!). After that, we started going on short outings and now we go out like a regular family and if she needs to go to the bathroom, she TELLS ME!
On the naked days, we watched a lot of potty-themed television and read a lot of potty-themed books. Her favorites are: Elmo’s Potty Time and Bear in the Big Blue House: Potty Time with Bear (we checked both of these out from the public library). Favorite books include Potty by Leslie Patricelli, Once Upon a Potty — Girl by Alona Frankel, and Diapers Are Not Forever.
Leaving the House With a Potty Trained Toddler
Just like when you have an infant and there are lots of THINGS you need to bring with you when you leave the house – there are lots of THINGS you need to bring with you when you have a toddler who is in the beginning stages of potty training (or for the unforeseeable future?). Here are some items I have found useful and that have helped using the potty simple and not stressful or too disgusting when we leave the house.
For the first few outings, my girl used a portable potty seat in public restrooms, but I think she realized that it was just quicker and easier to let me pick her up and plop her on the potty, so while I am still traveling with it (in case there is a toilet that I just cannot handle her bare bottom touching), we aren’t using it every time. It’s super light and easy to use.
I also purchased this travel potty to keep in my trunk. We did use it once in a parking lot, but I think we were both a little too embarrassed to use it again (do you want to squat down and pee with a bunch of cars driving by?), however maybe it will work for you. It’s light and you can use plastic grocery bags with it instead of purchasing refills of the bags it comes with.
Finally, when your kiddo is newly potty trained and sitting on something you are a little nervous about getting pee on, have her sit on a cloth meant for cloth diapers! I purchased these and have her sit on them on the couch and on the carpet. We didn’t need them for long, but they were a huge help when we were first getting started (more for easing my anxiety than anything else).
I wouldn’t say my toddler is an expert at using the potty just yet, but we are definitely on the way. She is still in diapers during naptime and bedtime; we are still working on figuring out that poop is not scary; but we have decreased our diaper budget and have lots of cute Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol undies.