There are a lot of things as a mom that I feel like I have done wrong, or am doing wrong. All moms want to be great for their kids and we all have our doubts. My kids eat more junk food than they should, probably watch TV too much, don’t listen the first (or 100th) time we ask them to do something, but we are trying and hopefully gradually getting a little better at these things. None of us are perfect and there is no step by step guide to parenting.
There are things that come easy to some of us, while more difficult for others. One thing I feel like I AM good at is potty training. I have a 4 year old and a just turned 2 year old who are both in underwear, no more diapers for me, (except night time – for the 2 year old). I am no master at potty training by any means…..it is just something that seemed to make sense to me, something that always seemed easy.
I first had the opportunity to potty train other people’s children (while working at daycare during college), and now with my own two boys. I had no intentions in potty training my little guy this early (especially considering he has issues with loose stools— constant loose stools), but he was ready, so we moved along.
3 Tips For Successful Potty Training
Note: With both of my boys going from diapers to underwear took 3 days. 2 days of “practice”, then I immediately put them in underwear (no pull-ups here….)
1. Watch for them to be ready.
This may seem like common sense, but there are signs you can look for to know when / if they are ready to begin potty training. First they will likely show interest in other family members potty breaks (especially if they have older siblings), they may even imitate going to the potty.
The second thing to look for is them holding it longer. With my oldest he started waking up from naps dry (which is a for sure sign that they are physically ready). Our little guy didn’t do this, but what I noticed with him is that I would check his diaper and it would be dry for longer periods of time. I could tell that he was “holding it” some in between wetting his diapers.
I mentioned them being “physically” ready….. holding it for some period of time is the key, as well as being able to go “on demand” (when helped to the potty). They likely won’t be able to do this right away, but once they experience a few successful potty trips (with much praise included) the skill of going at the right time will come quickly. Besides being physically ready they also need to be “mentally” ready. Some kids are physically ready well before they are mentally ready. My oldest son is the perfect example. He was waking up dry from naps just a little after his 2 year old birthday, so I began attempting to potty train him, but he was clearly not interested! I told myself “ok, he is still little, I will give him a bit more time”, and I did just that. At 2 years and 4 months I put him on the potty, he went, I did it again a little bit later and he did it again. We just happened to be out of town that weekend, so I continued to “practice” with him over the weekend, and when we got home I stuck him straight in underwear (even at night) and there was no turning back.
Once you notice they
2. Act Quickly (timing is key).
Once you notice signs of them being ready, don’t wait, start immediately taking them to the potty for some “practice”. Praise any efforts (even if they don’t go). Eventually they will accidentally go on the potty (as long as you are taking them often enough), and when they do make a HUGE deal of it. Praise them, tell older siblings, have them show daddy,etc. The bigger the praise the better.
If your child is holding it some in between wetting their diaper, be sure to notice when they go (look for facial expressions etc and check their diaper often). Change them immediately after wetting, and then take them to the potty after about 15 -20 minutes of holding it (or however long you think they can last). Timing is key, you want to catch them after having held it for a few minutes, so they are more likely to accidentally go when you take them. Don’t worry this phase of watching their every move and taking them to the potty numerous times in an hour won’t last but for a couple days. Your little one will start to go more often in the potty and will be excited about his / her success.
I mentioned above that both my boys had a couple days of “practice”. What I described above (Step 2) was their practice. After two full days of being monitored and put on the potty (over and over) with more and more success as we went, they learned to “pee on demand”.
3. Move Straight to Underwear
This is where my plan for potty training differs from most, and why I believe my boys were successful quickly. We didn’t drag out the practice phase or move to pull-ups and only let them go when it was convenient. We went straight to underwear. Yes, this takes much more commitment and work, but I can almost guarantee the process will go MUCH quicker! You will be surprised how quickly they learn. With my oldest the transition was seamless, he didn’t even really have “accidents”, but he was a few months older than my little one (and could talk well). If I haven’t mentioned it yet, my little guy that was just potty trained, really can’t talk much at all. With my little guy, he did/does have some accidents, but they are limited, and considering he is only 24 months old, I think he is doing great! He is full time in underwear (besides night time – I don’t believe he is ready for this yet). If he was older I would have moved straight to underwear at night as well, but he is still young and is not capable of doing that yet. We are still having issues with poop but like I said earlier, he has chronic diarrhea, so it is to be expected.
Hope this has been a helpful article. Potty training doesn’t have to be a nightmare, or long and drawn out. Try these potty training tips and you will see success soon. If you have any questions / comments / advice etc. I would love to hear from you, just reply here.