1. Don't push a child that isn't ready. Just because you would like to potty train over the summer or before that new sibling arrives doesn't mean that your child will follow that schedule. And many times pushing a child that isn't ready does nothing but delay potty training even longer. When a child is ready they will start staying dry longer, they will often grab themselves when they wet their diaper and they will many times hide from others while they have a bowel movement. It also doesn't hurt to try potty training for a couple days to see if they are ready. Just be willing to "back off" and wait if they are frustrated or just not getting it.
|My second born learning the art of using the potty.|
2. Flexibility is key. When I started to potty train my first I did the whole, "we are potty training so put them in underwear and don't look back method". By the time the second one came along my husband was pastoring a church and we were SUPER busy, but I was determined to do it the same way. She was easy, learned from her sister, and was completely done after 2 weeks. Then I had our firstborn son and now I had three children six and under and life was much more chaotic! We had made the choice to homeschool so I was doing that with my firstborn and still had many church obligations too. After countless accidents I was left looking for a different way. I decided that we should keep working on potty training at home but when we went out, it was back to diapers. It took the stress off of both of us and he did eventually get it. It was just a little slower.
3. Be patient, they are new to this. In the heat of the moment when you are cleaning up the fifteenth mess of the day it is easy to get frustrated and loose our cool. But, remember just as you wouldn't yell at a newborn that woke for the fifth time in a night because they are new to this thing called life we can't expect anymore from our potty training toddler. They have never done this before and they need practice.
Big brother was not at all happy when a potty training Kate climbed
onto the potty with him. All I could do was laugh and take a picture, poor kid.
4. Use cloth, not disposable. Whether you used cloth diapers or not, as much as is possible, I find it helpful to keep my children in some form of cloth underwear once we start potty training. There are many options as far as waterproof cloth options or just simple training pants. It can be messy but I see faster results the more I stay home and keep the toddler out of pull on disposable training pants or disposable diapers.
5. Keep it in perspective. Even if it takes 3 or even 6 months to potty train your toddler just remember how small of a time frame in your life it really is. It will get old, you will be sick and tired of accidents and cleaning the floor will feel like all you ever do. I can promise you those feelings will come, but just remember that in a year from now it won't seem like that big of a deal.
6. Take them often. You are the trainer in this operation and as such you need to set the schedule for this "event". So, don't ask your toddler if they need to go potty. Remember they don't really know what that means yet, so just tell them it is time to go potty. When I start with a new trainee I try to set aside at least 3 days that we can be home during the daytime hours and as much as possible (I especially focus on the morning) I take them every 15-30 minutes. When I take them, I grab a book and their hand and off we head to sit on the potty. I aim to keep them there for at least 10 minutes but I don't push to the point of a meltdown. That will make them hate it and they won't relax and thus they won't go.
7. Offer LOTS to drink. In those first 3 days I offer LOTS of their favorite drinks and lots of salty snacks. I want as much training as possible during these first few days and the more they drink the more they pee and that is the goal. Lots and lots of pee. I always plan these first 3 days carefully and I turn down any out the house commitments during them.
8. At first it takes a lot of time. The first 3 days or so I commit a lot of time to this one job. Potty training takes precedent over everything for those first few days. I try to avoid any other major project or commitment. The less on my plate during this initial phase the less likely I am to get frustrated.
9. Make it a family affair. If they seem to be getting bored with the training or they don't want to sit on the potty for very long, maybe let big sister read to them or big brother play cars with them as they sit on the potty chair. And, when they do finally go, get the whole family involved in the party! Call Grandma, sing a song, clap and shout. Make a big deal out of it. It goes a long way.
10. Rewards. For some of my children I have used stickers, for others I have given mini m and m's and for others I haven't needed any reward. I never start off offering a reward but if I don't see much progress or if the toddler is just getting frustrated with trying at times I have brought out a reward to help re-motivate them and give them something new to focus on. This is a great thing to have as a "back up" or "second option" and that is why I never start out using it. As they are new to using the potty and probably most of the people they are around don't get a reward for using the potty, they won't expect it anyway. So why not hold off and try it without it first.
So, whether you are just training your first child or you have hit a brick wall with your 10th. I hope that you will glean some new ideas or perspective from my list. It is a hard thing, and truth be told, it is my least favorite parenting job to date. But it is necessary and with a little patience and discipline it will be done in no time.
Got a potty training tip I didn't mention? Leave a comment I would love to read them!!!
Written by Happily Domestic Contributor - Amanda Sikes