The following is a guest post from my dear friend, Angie, who has just gone through the process of potty training and had some advice to share.
Over the last two weeks, we have been potty training our 2.5-year-old boy. We’ve had quite a bit of success, so I thought I might share some of the things we learned during our experience because I thought it might encourage a good discussion amongst members of The Mommyhood. Obviously, these are the dos and don’ts based on our experience, research, and/or discussions with other parents. I know every child is different, so every potty-training experience is different.
- Use a toddler-sized potty that can be moved or taken where you are spending time during training. (Added benefit – child can see what they actually put in the potty.)
- Introduce child to the potty early without pushing potty training. (We introduced the potty about a year before we started focusing on potty training – he’d use it to pee at bath time; but otherwise we didn’t push it.)
- Expose child to other children / adults using the potty, if possible.
- Decide within family how you will refer to pee, poo, and body parts so everyone is consistent.
- Consider trying half-naked potty training where you let child run around naked from waist down with the toddler potty in area so he/she will use it when needed. (We did two full days of this with great success.) I recommend you do half-naked potty training an area where clean up will be easier (no carpets) and have paper towels and disinfectant handy.
- Come up with some type of celebration when there is a potty success (ours was flushing it down and saying “bye bye pee pee [poo poo]” along with claps, cheers, hugs, and high fives).
- Consider using a reward system (i.e., stickers, candy). We created a pee pee poster board and gave our son a different kind of sticker for pee pee and poo poo. Also, we wrote the date and time the sticker was earned (which helped us keep track of when our son was going and when we should be asking him to try again).
- Be patient, be diligent, and be observant. Your child will likely develop a pattern and/or tells when they have to potty – if you are diligent about your observations, you’ll likely pick up on these pretty quickly.
- Make your child try even if they say they don’t have to go. We even went so far as to bribe our son with chocolate when he didn’t want to try during our half-naked potty training weekend.
- Consider using a timer to alert child (and you) of when he should be trying again.
- Tell child that accidents are okay and explain how to avoid them in the future.
- Continue to use diapers for naptime, bedtime, and long commutes until child is staying dry during those times.
- Teach boys to pee sitting down until they have a good understanding of using the potty.
- Use cheerios (or other similar cereal item) as target practice when teaching boys to pee standing up.
- Put your child in easy to get off and on clothes so potty independence is an option.
- Carry extra clothes (and wipes!) when you go out.
- Don’t get discouraged.
- Don’t hesitate to realize your child is not yet ready to potty train – it’s okay to say we started too soon, let’s try again another time.
- Don’t push your child too hard – he/she will do it when they are ready.
- Don’t get mad when accidents happen – they are part of the process!
- Don’t rush the process. And, it is a process!
- Don’t expect child to get every part of process at the same time (i.e., pulling down pants/underwear, sitting on potty, wiping, pulling up pants/underwear, and washing hands). We have focused on the process in steps (i.e, using potty first, now pulling up and down pants/underwear, next up wiping and washing hands (without prompting)).
- Don’t forget rewards for success (even if you don’t do a sticker or reward with each effort/success…consider rewards for bigger success like staying dry all day or all night).
- Don’t expect potty training success overnight.
I’m curious what has and has not worked for other members of the mommyhood.com community!!
Angie is like a sister to me. I met her when I moved into a group house in Washington, D.C. and we’ve been friends ever since. I was looking for an old picture of us and found this one from Halloween a million years ago.
Angie (right) was Huck Finn, I think. That’s Bert in the middle – back when he was just my boyfriend. He had a poncho and went as Juan Valdez (which is totally a guy’s non-costume costume, but whatever). And I am the flower. You know, go big or go home! At one point that night we ended up at a house party of total strangers. I was waiting for Bert to find a restroom and was trying to stay out of the way of the people dancing. Then it occurred to me and I shouted, “I’m a wall flower! I’m a wall flower!” but no one thought that was funny but me. And, of course, Angie. She’s loyal like that. Laughs at all my bad jokes.