Wanna know my thoughts on potty training?
It’s the absolute worst and I would love nothing more than to hire someone to do it for me.
Owen will turn 3 right before he starts preschool in the fall, where he will need to be potty trained before he can attend. I knew that 2 1/2 was a little young to expect a boy to be trained, but I wanted to start early so we had plenty of time before school started. I decided to start potty training him the first of June, and I was absolutely dreading every minute of it.
It is now mid July, and I can happily say that the universe has unexpectedly, inexplicably blessed me. Owen was potty trained within 2 days. I still feel like it’s a dream and that if I sneeze at any given moment, he will suddenly start peeing his pants all the time.
Honestly, I don’t really know if it was the routine that we set in place to train him, or the fact that he was just “ready” that made it so fast and easy. I definitely don’t consider myself an expert, and every kid is different, but I thought I would share what worked for us in the off chance that it will work for you too.
So here’ what we did:
1. Be fully committed. Decide ahead of time when you are going to start, and when you do start, go all in. There’s no turning back. If the parent isn’t 100%, there’s no way the kid is going to be 100%.
2. Don’t start until you see signs of readiness in your child. They should be able to talk clearly, and have dry diapers after naps and when they wake up in the morning. This shows that they know how to hold it.
3. Once you begin, stick with the undies. I didn’t want to buy pull-ups because it was just another expense and frankly, they are no different than diapers. Start putting them in underwear and never go back to diapers. For nap/bedtime we used a thicker training underwear (still no pull-ups) that we got from our local cloth diapering store, and we never had a bed wetting issue because well….see step 2.
4. For the actual day(s) of training, Day 1:
From the moment we woke up, I set an alarm on the stove for 15 minutes. Every time the alarm went off, we sat on the potty. I only made him sit for 1-2 minutes each time, and then set the alarm again. In addition to the alarm, I asked him over and over “How are you feeling? Need to go potty?” At first, he would pee as soon as he got off the potty but that was ok. When he wet his pants, he was completely miserable and learned that he really didn’t like the feeling. It was a huge incentive for him to pee next time he tried. As the day went on, he started to recognize the feeling of needing to pee and by the end of the day, was able to tell me when he needed to go.
Started the day out still setting the alarm, but was able to lengthen the time/stop using it as the day went on. I continued to ask “How are you feeling? Need to go potty?” pretty much all day until I was annoyed at myself, but it kept it fresh in his mind.
Days to follow:
I continued to ask him how he felt and had him sit on the potty first thing after bed/nap, before we left to go anywhere, and as soon as we returned to the house.
5. Some items we found useful:
– a little plastic potty: He liked picking it out at the store and felt so special. Since, he was afraid of the flushing big toilet, this was a non-threatening option. We brought it with us everywhere. Everywhere.
– A good incentive: I don’t know why stickers work, but they do. We made a sticker chart and he got a sticker for each time he peed in the potty. Once the chart was full, he got to pick out a *small* toy at the store. He also got a marshmallow to go along with each sticker. Once the “pee” chart was full, we started one for poop. He filled up his pee chart by the middle of the second day…so make sure you put enough squares on your chart! 😉
– Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Owen already loves this show (on PBS, and Netflix), and it has a fantastic episode on going potty. We watched the potty episode about 100 times during those first 2 days of training and it really helped. It has a great catchy tune which we still can’t get out of our heads.
Honestly, I think that a lot of our success with Owen had to do with his being ready and wanting to do it more than our technique. But I do think that a little routine and full commitment is sooo important!
I sure am proud of my little guy, and the sight of his little tush in those super hero undies makes the whole exhausting process totally worth it!
What are your go-to potty training methods?
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