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Motherhood is new for everyone at some point. There are so many new things going on and so many lessons you, as the parent, must teach your child. Yes, some things can’t be controlled (at least that’s what I tell myself about my son’s temper) but for the most part, how you act and teach them is how they’ll learn.
So when we (and by we I mean I since my husband was gone) started potty training, we had no idea what to expect. We had asked questions and read literature but when it all comes down to it, every kid is different. These past few months have been such a blur but I am so proud to say that my little man was successfully potty trained by 2 years and 3 months. And although most people told me boys take longer and it could be until age 4 before he had any interest, I felt that if I started early enough, he would catch on.
These tips may not work for everyone and they might not even work when we go to potty train Miss P. But here’s what we did and clearly, it’s had some success to it!
Introduce the potty early: We bought a training potty around his first birthday. Did we think he was going to potty train that early? Absolutely not. But repetition is key and we wanted him to know what a potty was and what you do in it. We continued to show him over the course of the year and of course, would tell him what the potty was when he followed us into the bathroom (because you know that happened).
Watch for signs: We could tell my son was ready to start potty training for a few reasons. We always knew when he was going (as in he would hide somewhere, come out when he was finished, and tell me he pooped) or he would be standing somewhere and say “I peed”. We knew it was time to actively start training at that point!
Toss the diapers. Diapers are no longer an option. Diapers are for BABIES and your toddler is a BIG kid now. Big kids get to do fun things that babies don’t get to do. Make this very clear… bye bye diapers.
Buy Pull-Ups and big kid undies: Letting him pick out undies was key for us. He loves Cars and Toy Story so we took him to the store and let him pick out his own big boy undies. To this day, he still gets excited to pick out which undies he gets to wear for the day. The Pull-Ups are for nighttime; I still put them on Nolan at bedtime because it’s been so hot here, cutting him off from fluids around 6 p.m. has been really hard. We give him little sips of water but always make him go potty before bed.
Positive reinforcement: It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re cleaning up pee and poop multiple times a day, I get it. But children respond much better to positive vs. negative reinforcement and it’s key that you keep this in mind when they are learning to potty train. For us, it was chocolate and a huge celebration. Every time he went in the big boy potty, he received a bite-size* piece of candy while we clapped, cheered, and danced around the bathroom! My son started to associate going in the potty with chocolate and praise and this is when it started to click! *You can use whatever type of candy your child likes but these TWIX Bites worked wonders… the perfect size!
Put them on the potty: Going along with my point above, try and be consistent with when you put them on the potty. Two key ones are first thing in the morning and right after nap times. They will usually have to go and this is a great time to show them what you have to do in the potty and then give them the bite-size candy and do your happy dance!
ASK and ask again: I would ask my son about 100 times in an hour “do you have to go potty?” Don’t think you’re ever asking too much because in the beginning, they will need to be reminded of their new found freedom and that the potty is where they go to do their business. Before you leave the house? Make them try and go. Right when you get to the store? Make they try and go then (which they probably will because it always seems to work out that way).
Be patient: This is a no brainer, right? Wrong. Just when you think your kid has it down, they have an accident. And you get frustrated because they were doing so well. Just remember, they are STILL toddlers. They are processing a lot of information and accidents are going to happen. Just be patient and really try and keep calm at all times.
Like I said, every child is different. We tried stickers with a chart and he had no interest whatsoever. And the little potty? He pretty much wanted nothing to do with it after the first week. It’s definitely one of those parenting moments where trial and error will be your best friend so don’t get discourage if it doesn’t happen right away. It probably took a solid month/6 weeks of working at it everyday before he was fully trained. And even now and again he will get too excited, forget he has to go, and run to the potty only to pee on the floor. It happens, and I would be lying to you if I said it didn’t frustrate me. But when you’re distraught, so are they, so really try hard to keep your cool!
|“Mom can I eat this now?”|
If you’re looking to start potty training (or just want a chocolate fix) you can pick up these TWIX Bites and other flavors at Walmart. In fact, you can get everything needed above at Walmart! #winning.
Be sure to print these coupons because we know saving $ makes it that much sweeter 😉 (see what I did there… )
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