Good morning! I have been working with kids for a really long time. I was a preschool teacher and nanny all through high school and up until Amelia was born when I became a stay at home mama. I helped potty training so many kids, that going into it with Amelia, I knew what to expect. In every aspect of parenting, I believe that you have to do it differently with each child. Potty training (or potty learning) can cause so much stress to the parent and child, and I have seen it so many times that it becomes too much for either or both of them and they give it up.
I completely understand the difficulties that come with potty training. It hasn’t been so simple for us, either. Amelia was so ready for it when I was pregnant with her baby brother, and so I went for it. She was doing amazing, but she was not even 2 yet. Soon after we started, I was put on bed rest. I felt so bad, but I had to put her back in diapers because I couldn’t run her to the toilet every 3 minutes anymore. I was looking forward to her being out of diapers by the time Cal was born, but I quickly realized that was not at all a possibility anymore. In choosing to have kids so close in age, I knew diapering two kids would be tough, especially because we cloth diaper!
About a month ago, she decided she was done with diapers again, and ready to get back to panties and going on the toilet! I have been asked so much how we did it in a gentle manner, with a baby to care for, and any tips we have. I could really go on and on forever about this, but I will keep it as short as I can and share my top five tips!
- Spend a whole week at home, focusing on going on the toilet. I know, I KNOW how hard it is to stay home for an entire week, but it is so worth it. Your child needs the time to learn how to “hold it” to make it to the toilet on time! I have seen a ton of people suggesting only 3 days for this. Some kids don’t need very long, Amelia caught on quick and naturally because she was ready for it. But I really think that a full week of staying home is crucial, because leaving the house is going to need a lot of practice!
- Don’t make missing the toilet a big deal. The last thing you want is your child to feel like they have disappointed you, or done anything wrong by missing the toilet. It IS going to happen, and they will be upset, so don’t make it a big deal. When Amelia misses the toilet, we say “hey, that’s okay babe! That is going to happen sometimes, and you did a great try! We can try again for next time.” and leave it at that. It doesn’t get too much attention at all.
- Have patience and little expectation for your child to learn to go on the potty quickly, without fail, and with ease. It’s hard, and they may learn super fast, or they may need some time and to take it in steps. That is okay! Just be patient and you will be amazed.
- When they DO go potty on the toilet, make it a big deal for quite awhile! For the first week or so, we did a chocolate chip each time Amelia went on the toilet. We cheered, and made it A HUGE EXCITEMENT that she made it! It’s a big thing to do! It’s hard, it really is, for kids to learn. It’s been about a month, and she is doing INCREDIBLE at going all the time, and we still tell her great job, and maybe clap every time she goes! It might seem silly to some, but it keeps them encouraged and excited about going on the toilet.
- Remember that learning to poop on the toilet can be really hard and really scary for toddlers. There are a lot of articles out there talking about how the feeling can frighten kids and make them scared to go on the toilet. Just stay calm. Until they get the hang of it, stay in the bathroom with them while the go. It might take awhile! We like to read books, songs, and telling stories. Often, I will remind her to “relax” and sometimes she wants to hold my hand. If your child is really struggling, try giving them 2 prunes in the morning to help them go easier, and offer up a BIG prize for going poop on the toilet!
There are a lot of potty training seats out there, but honestly I don’t like them at all! This is what we use instead and it is AMAZING! If you don’t already have one, do yourself (and your child) a favor and grab one now!
Thank you for reading and good luck to all the parents and kids out there potty training!
What are some of your tried and true tips for potty training toddlers? Please share in the comments!