Hunker Down and Other Potty Training Success Tips and Tricks

Hunker Down and Other Potty Training Success Tips and Tricks

Well, it's official. My sweet littlest, my Charlie bear, is potty trained! Other than some pull-ups at naps and bedtime, we are a totally diaper-free house. And I'll be honest, man that feels good.

Potty training is probably one of my least favorite parenting experiences, but once it's done, it's such an accomplishment for both of you. It's definitely a lot of hard work and diligence, but I really believe it can be done in a matter of a few days when done right. Now, I'm definitely no expert, but as I've been through this twice now and we all came out of it relatively unscathed, I figured it was worth a shot to share my tips and tricks with you!

Potty Training Tips and TricksImage: Todd Morris via Flickr Creative Commons license.

{one} Wait until your kid is ready. This is definitely the most important step. Just after Emmy turned two-years-old, I attempted to potty train her. I wanted her to be out of diapers—more than she did. After a full day of both of us crying, I tabled the whole thing for a few months. Once she was ready, it was relatively easy. Same with Charlie. I made sure to wait until she was showing interest and could communicate her needs.

{two} Wait until you can set aside a full week to stay home and really immerse yourself in the training. Expecting too much of them in just a short amount of time is only going to set you both up for failure. With each girl, we stayed locked in the house for about a week straight.

{three} Get supplies ready. Potty, underpants, pull-ups, distractions to use while sitting in the bathroom {iPhone, iPad, books, toys, etc}, rewards {stickers, chocolate, small things}.

{four} Be consistent. The day you decide to start potty training, commit 100% to it {unless you realize they're not ready, then put it all away and go back to diapers full time until they're ready}. Get rid of the diapers and have your child in underpants all day. Switching back and forth between underpants and diapers will get very confusing for them. This is also why it's so important to stay at home while attempting this. You don't want to be popping them in and out of diapers just to run out to the store real quick.

{five} Lots and lots of bathroom time. Be prepared to sit in the bathroom. {I totally disagree with having the potty anywhere but the bathroom. I just think it's gross and then you have to train them to go in the bathroom all over again later.} Seriously, the first few days of training Charlie and I spent hours in the bathroom. First thing in the morning put them on the potty and wait at least five minutes for them to go {this is where distractions come into play}. The first morning I would set a timer for every 15 minutes and make them go sit on the potty. I would then make them sit there for at least five minutes waiting to go. In between the timers, I asked them if they had to go about every five minutes. If the morning goes pretty well, I'll try and extend the time in between timers.

{six} Praise. Once they actually go on the potty, make a huge deal about it. Clap, dance, yell, basically throw a party. Rewards are great, and we gave Charlie an M&M every time she went the first few days, but praise is what has always worked the best for us. You being proud of them, makes them proud of themselves.

{seven} Lower expectations. Your kid is not going to be potty trained in one day. And it's also not going to be easy. Yes, you can get them to be accident free by day three if they are ready and you stay consistent. That doesn't mean that they can now go to the bathroom all by themselves and you're all done changing them. They're going to need a lot of help for a long time still. You'll still have to remind them to go, and outings will have to be shorter and less frequent for a while. Also, remember that night training is just something that comes with time. Being able to wake up dry is a physical thing that will just happen when their body is's not something that can be taught.

{eight} Hunker down, breathe, and stock up on a lot of chocolate. Potty training is difficult. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance. There will be a ton of laundry to do and everything in the house seems to smell like pee for a week. I've pretty much always lost my mind by day three. But just keep reminding yourself that you and your child will get through this and come out even better on the other side. So pour yourself some more caffeine and good luck!!!

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