When you hear the word potty training, what do you think first? Pee, crying, fighting, pee, and more pee? I’ll be honest, I’ve always DREADED the potty training phase. It’s just not convenient and it’s so tiring. It’s one of those things that can really be hard or can really be quite simple. As I’ve had 3 kids to potty train, I’ve found some really good tips and tricks. Each time I’ve followed this guide below and each of my kids have been potty trained in 3 days or less. That’s right, 3 days. It’s definitely not an easy 3 days and at the end I’m ready for Cafe Rio, Coke and a giant piece of cheesecake. But it’s totally worth it. Now with that being said, each kid is different and they have different needs. Yours may not be trained in 3 days and that’s fine but hopefully they will be closer to the end result. I’m hoping some of these ideas will help you have a more fun and successful potty training experience.
Before Potty Training Week
- Let your little one pick out special underwear (you’ll need quite a few- I grab atleast 10 pairs).
- Show your little one the potty and get them familiar with it. Show siblings using it and let them test it out.
- Buy fun, unique drinks (Gatorade, tummy yummies, capri suns).
- Buy pull ups for night time and nap time.
- Clear your schedule for a good 3-4 days where you don’t have to drive anywhere and can focus on your little one.
The Week of Potty Training
Day 1: When your little one wakes up feed them breakfast first before you start training. I’ve found that we want our little ones need to be in a good mood with a full belly. Once they are awake and fed, have them take the rest of their diapers and throw them in the trash (I always go rescue them later). Explain that they don’t need to wear diapers anymore. They are big boys/girls now and will be wearing their special underwear.
Once the diapers are in the trash, get their underwear out and let them choose which one to wear. That’s all they need to wear on Day 1- just the underwear. I don’t put on shirts or pants. Now is the time to get them pumped full of fluids. Give them their drinks and find a good location to camp out for a few hours. I always like to stay in the kitchen where I have tile. It’s a lot easier to clean up their pee. Get games, play-doh, books and focus on them. Then you basically watch them like a hawk. Instead of asking “Do you need to go potty?” Tell them- “Let me know when YOU need to go potty.” The hope is for them to FEEL when they need to go and then tell you.
When they start peeing, rush them to the toilet and let them finish on the toilet. I even have my boys sit on the toilet when they are learning. Have a good attitude about it and be happy (by the end of the day your face will hurt from trying to smile). Never scold them. Just remind them that they are now going potty in the toilet and not in their underwear. Encourage them and give them a new set of underwear. Have them flush, close, and wash their hands. Build the routine. Then repeat-“Let me know when you need to go potty.”
Then head back to your location give them more fluids and continue playing. That’s basically what you do…all…day…long. Bring in an iPad and have them watch a show while you organize your kitchen or do whatever you need to stay busy for the rest of the day. Rush them to the potty when they start going and have them do the routine. Soon they will FEEL when they need to go potty and then learn to wait until they are on the toilet.
At night have them go potty one last time and put a pull-up on. Make sure they are standing up and not laying down when you put the pull-up on. Treat them like underwear and not a diaper. This is their pull up that they wear for night time and naps, no more diapers.
Day 2: This day is similar to the first day. Just keep doing the routine and get them in the habit. If your little one caught onto the routine yesterday and didn’t have too many accidents then you won’t need to give them as much fluids. But if they still need the practice. Then grab your drinks and have them start drinking. Hopefully today will go a little more smoothly. If they are getting the habit down, venture outside or around the house and let them continue to tell you when they need to go to the bathroom.
Remember to keep a good attitude they want to think going to the potty is fun. I don’t usually give prizes but I do have special treats on hand for when we need to shake things up. Make it a fun day and give your little one a treat because it’s a special day. Tell grandparents to call and tell them they are proud of your little one for wearing underwear. I know it’ sounds silly, but they will be so proud and find that it’s a very good thing to do.
Continue on the day with watching them, taking them to the bathroom, finish on the toilet, flush, close and wash your hands and give them new underwear if needed. Continue asking “Let me know if you need to go potty.”
Day 3: If your little one is still having accidents then you will need to continue doing the same as day one. But hopefully this will be the day it finally clicks. The accidents will hopefully be getting less and less. If they are being consistent in telling you they need to go potty, then going potty you are well on your way.
You can even try to go out for a bit and away from the house. In a store be sure to mention that “they have pottys here so let me know if you need to go.” I always bring a set of clean underwear and pants with me for the first few weeks just in case. Get in the habit of having them go to the bathroom before you leave the house. That will help with accidents in the car seat.
All I can say is Good Luck! It’s definitely not an easy task to potty train, but it’s so worth it once it’s accomplished. Any other ideas that you have on potty training?