Updated: Apr 1, 2020
First. I feel you. We are in the thick of it right now with my three year old, but sooo close to being fully trained (happy, happy mom dance). It's hard work, and resources really helped me, so I wanted to share a few things that I have found to be helpful. I fully endorse bribery, luckily my kiddo is equally responsive to stickers as he is to chocolate so I've got that going for me. I'm not ashamed at all ;-D
When we started potty training I had high hopes of getting it done in three days. How? Seriously, how do parents accomplish this? I have shit to do, places to go... I definitely have spent hours sitting on the floor in the bathroom singing to my child, praying he will poop (my, how my life has changed lol). But I couldn't do that for multiple days, it just wasn't plausible for our family. Or a lot of families, so I've found out now that I'm going through this process and talking with other moms going thru the same thing. Unfortunately that's not what you hear when you first start looking for answers...
So we did naked time, a lot. My number one recommendation is: as soon as you get home, take off all clothes from the waist down (your toddler, not you, or whatever, you do you...) and diaper too!! If your kid has a diaper or pull up on, why would he/she take the time to run to the toilet if they are fully engaged in some activity. I'll answer that, they wont :-D
Next steps that we took, to reinforce going potty. Put a potty chair in whatever room you are playing in (I use THIS one, with THIS insert) I love that it's portable, and can be used on a large toilet when out and about (so they don't fall in, very frightening and can reduce the want to go on the potty when out in public...) plus it fits in my large diaper bag. We also replaced all of our toilets at home with THESE seats, which have a double seat, one specifically for a toddler tush. So smart. We have a smaller home, so extra things are not ideal, making this with a squatty potty super helpful in our home.
We went to the library and rented all the potty books (I put together a top five list in another blog post, if your interested in our favs). Renting was great, because there are some not-so-good potty training books out there. Finding what works is important. We use actual terms. Penis, poop, pee etc.. So books that used alternative terms weren't ideal for us, since he's still learning his words, we wanted to stick with only what we used at home. It was just too confusing. I also loved books that encouraged noticing the feelings in your body (as a pediatric nurse this is super when with working with children this age), also books that talk about playing and then stopping what you're doing, going to the potty, flushing, washing hands, then resuming play. It's a process, so talk about the entire process.
I also purchased a HUGE pack of puffy stickers (THESE ones) they are a big hit around my house, and at school, and since my kiddo is very motivated by stickers this works for us. He also loves M&Ms, so I bought mini ones (Target usually has them around Halloween, we luckily got three packs last year for halloween and they lasted almost six months lol), I just keep them in jar next to the toilet. He gets to pick out three or four each time. He loves picking the colors. And because they're mini I don't feel like he's eating too much sugar.
Next is lots and lots and lots of fluids. If they don't have to go to the bathroom then you'll not have as many options for training. I purchased some water flavoring (no sugar added, found them at my local co-op, Target also had them). I also mixed half juice and water into a bottle, he would throw a tantrum if he saw me adding water to his cup with the juice, so this avoided the melt down #momwins
Now you're totally potty trained during the day, while naked. Now what? Making the transition to potty trained with clothes on in public is more about training the parent lol #sorry First, we picked fun undies. The first few packs I bought he hated #toddlers He's really into Pikachu right now, thanks husband #eyeroll but whatever, he was super stoked to get pokemon undies as a reward for pooping on the potty. Then actually excited about putting them on, so it has actually been helpful that he's obsessed. Also, make sure you're toddler is wearing loose, easy to get on and off pants. Supporting independence! We found great joggers, super soft and stretchy at Target.
The diaper bag: I've transitioned from diapers and creams to EXTRA CLOTHES AND UNDIES. Carry at least three sets with you, it seems to be appropriate for a full day out, just in case. Or at least carry a credit card. Definitely have run into a department store after a mess, with a naked toddler, just to buy pants lol #palmface. AND most importantly, carry baggies. Don't buy specific bags for babies, they're outrageously priced. We have a dog, so I use those. But also, recycle! If you get plastic bags at the grocery just keep a few in your bag. I like the dog bags because they contain the smell the best, but double bagging with a grocery store bag works awesome too.
** ALSO, set a reminder on your phone to get the dirty clothes out of your bag. Cuz day old warm poop is the WORST. Thing. Ever. #ewgross
Also, a great reminder, one I still give myself. Don't get upset about accidents. They happen. Talk thru it with your child. Be gentle, on them and you. It's gross and it sucks. But getting upset will negatively impact your journey. So just pour an extra large glass of wine at night and get over it :-D
The best thing I've learned while on this journey is that each kiddo is different, and you know them best. What works for them, the right language to use with them. Use your knowledge as their parent to make this process as smooth and fun as possible. We get ridiculously excited about pee at my house, like jumping and clapping and singing. And now my kiddo gets ridiculously excited when he goes pee. It's adorable AND reinforces his desire to go to the bathroom.
Potty training is super challenging and takes so much patience and grace with yourself. It is as much about training you as them. Learning to ask them if they have to potty every thirty minutes. Bring extra clothes, having stickers and gummies or chocolate, or little toys with you at all times, or whatever you decide you want to use to bribe your child... And talking about going potty, all of the time. Let them in the bathroom with you. Talk about what you are doing. Let them see that this is normal and something that everyone does.
Good luck and may you have lots of success! If you have any comments, or things that have worked well for you, I would love to learn about them. Just shoot me a message or comment below.
Until next time <3
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