*Disclaimer: I’m not an expert at this. I made the discouraging discovery just yesterday that we’ve been trying to get H potty trained for a whole year now. This is just what worked – and didn’t work – for us.
Potty Training isn’t fun. I’ll just say that up front. But, once you figure out how to make it work for you and more importantly, your little one, it gets a lot better.
I always heard not to push potty training on your toddler, and truthfully I didn’t want to because potty training sounded awful to me. So last year (ugh how has it been that long?) when H would try to climb up on the toilet and pull his pants off, I took that as the sign that he was ready for it. So we bought some underwear, I read some articles, got advice from trusted friends and family, bought some potty treats and decided to go for it. It started off ok-ish, but he never told me when he needed to go and there were so. many. messes. So I kind of lost steam, then we had a family vacation and I put him back in diapers because I didn’t want to deal with it. Then I decided to wait a while before we’d start again.
This happened a few times. We’d get into the groove, but then something would come up where it was just easier to put him in diapers or pull ups and forget about it. Also, he’d just never tell me when he needed to go. I mean, maybe a couple times a week he would, but I got exhausted trying to remind him every half hour or so that we needed to go. To make it worse, he got to the point that every time I’d bring it up he’d scream, “no!” and run away from me. Didn’t seem like he was ready, right? So again, I’d kind of give up on it. We’d have random days/weeks where we’d put him in underwear and he’d do ok. But mostly it ended in lots of gross laundry for me and an un-potty-trained toddler.
Then something clicked, and I think this is why people tell you to wait until your toddler is ready. Like really ready. I thought he was ready all those times before, but I guess he wasn’t. Because about a month ago he brought me underwear and then a few minutes later he told me he needed to go potty! Then throughout the day he just kept telling me he needed to go! Yes, I’d still remind him here and there and pooping is always an adventure, but it was like all the sudden he just got it! So we excitedly started rolling with it and its been a dream! Well, as much as potty training a toddler can be a dream.
After a lot of hit and misses when it comes to getting your kid ok with using the restroom, here are my list of do’s and don’ts. Oh also.. Apparently its common for some kids to be afraid of the toilet or going on it. H never was, he actually thought it was cool, so I don’t have any advice as far as making the toilet not scary. We just got lucky this time.
- Find some kind of award system that works for your little buddy. Treats always were a big motivator for H. We had small candies in our cupboard and if H went potty on the toilet he got two, if he pooped on the toilet he got four and if he told us he needed to go he got a bonus one. We also had a little bit of a sticker reward system going from time to time, as well. I had a small book that we titled, “H’s Potty Book” and when he went potty he got one sticker in his book, when he pooped he got two. We had a certain amount of stickers for each page (it was quite a few) and when a page was filled he had a reward we’d predetermined that he’d get to cash in on. Sometimes it was going to a certain place, sometimes it was a toy, sometimes it was a big treat, etc.
- Celebrate potty and poop! Such a mom thing to say, but I’m serious! Make your kid feel like a million bucks when they go on the toilet – especially when they are the ones who initiate it! Sometimes H would get so pumped up and proud of himself he’d ‘have to’ go like two or three times in a row! Toddlers respond well to excitement and praise. Remember that.
- Also hand-wash-train them. Keep in mind that after you use the restroom, you wash your hands! Get them in the habit. You use the toilet. You wash your hands. Always. Know what makes this easier? Fun soap. For example, H loves foamy soap.
- Buy fun underwear. Kids (mine at least) are so much more motivated to not make a mess in their underwear if its exciting!
- Don’t make them feel bad if they have an accident. A few times I am sad to admit I told H I was mad at him for pooping in his underwear. Whenever that happened I saw that he was extra upset when it came time to go potty again. It just made there be a yucky, heavy feeling over potty training and no one needed that – especially H.
- Don’t make the whole process this big ordeal. When we first started, I had this big system that I thought would be awesome. It was long and complicated and there were far too many steps. It was unattainable and ended up making me frustrated.
- Don’t let other peoples opinions change your mind. I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘is he too young for this?’ ‘is he ready for this?’ ‘you should try this instead’ etc, etc. Stick to your mom/dad gut. Do what feels right for you. Know who knows your kid the best? You. Obviously if sometimes has some awesome advice or a suggestion you totally think will work, implement it. But don’t let peoples judgements or unsolicited advice change your coarse.
WHAT I USE FOR ‘MESSES’
- Fels-Naptha Bar. This is what I use to initially scrub poop out of clothing. This little bar is a game changer and I absolutely swear by it. Its cheap and totally works. Highly recommend.
- Oxi Clean. After scrubbing the clothes, if there is still some work to be done on the clothes, I soak them in Oxi Clean. Its a powder you mix in with water (i’m pretty sure you can put it in the washer too?) and it works wonders.
- Folex. This is all I use to get urine and poop out of the carpet. Fun Fact: it also works great for pet accidents. This stuff is insanely effective.
- Max Odor Eliminator. I got this for our dog when we first had her as a puppy. It somehow magically takes odor right out of the carpet. Its this stay foam stuff that just absorbs into the carpet and you don’t need to vacuum it up. Its very cool.
Happy Potty Training!