Cue the frustrations of your little one peeing and pooping on the floor.
If you’re lucky potty training your toddler doesn’t won’t last too long and your little one will be fully trained before you’re ready to rip your carpet (and your mom-bun) out.
Let me mention that before starting my last run of potty training my toddler, I had tried two times prior. My son wasn’t having it. He didn’t show any interest and just wasn’t ready. I think it’s extremely important to listen to your child’s cues to know when they’re ready for such a big change. It’s a hard job: learning how to control your body so you’re not soiling your underwear.
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If you have an inkling that your toddler isn’t ready, then wait and try potty training your toddler in a few months.
I promise it’ll be easier without all of that unnecessary stress! My goal was to have my son potty trained by the time our second baby was born. Not wanting two little ones running around in diapers was a big motivator. And let’s face it, diapers aren’t cheap.
Are you ready? Here are my tips and tricks for potty training your toddler.
If you think for one second that you’re going to get through this without wanting to pull your hair out at least once, you’re mistaken. I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy, but it’s inevitable when it comes to potty training. The good news: It does get better. The first few days will be the hardest. Once your little one understands what you’re asking the sailing will be smoother.
Let me tell you what I did that made things much easier for me and my son. If there was a day that he wasn’t doing well (having more accidents than victories), I would put his diaper on and do one of two things: restart after he had his nap or the following day. Some may disagree with this method, but it worked for us. I noticed that if he started the day with an accident then it was typical for him to have more throughout the day. So, we would hit the reset button if it was necessary. Pushing your toddler when they’re not ready will only cause resistance (and pee on your floor).
There are many methods.
I’ve researched, just like you, about potty training and the different methods and what works best. The most common approach I came across was setting a weekend aside and just pushing it hard. Potty train from sun up till sun down and encourage, encourage, encourage. In 2-3 days your little one will be fully trained. But, that method wasn’t feasible for us.
Being pregnant and sometimes not feeling the best, along with busy schedules, it just wasn’t possible to set an entire weekend aside to do that. What did we do? We trained on the days that I knew we would be home all day or just about most of the day so we could really focus on it without distractions. Sometimes our week looked like this: Train for 2 days, off for 1, train for 1, etc. It wasn’t super consistent, but it worked well enough that after about 2 weeks of it, we switched over to pull-ups.
It’s normal. Potty training your toddler is a big change. All this time they’ve been pooping in their diapers, not seeing it and having mommy and daddy clean them up. Now, they have to fully wrap their mind around what poop is, where it comes from, how it looks, etc. My tip here: Make sure your toddler is having regular bowel movements before you begin training. If not, make that your goal before potty training. It’ll help in the long run and your little one won’t be even more uncomfortable.
My son took quite a few weeks before he fully regulated himself with his bowel movements. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was afraid of his own poop at the beginning (again, totally normal). If you’re concerned about your child being constipated then be sure to talk to your pediatrician about it.
This is another popular tip when it comes to potty training your toddler. Everyone says to give positive reinforcement, and it is something that I totally agree with. Reward good behavior, right? Yeah, this didn’t work for us. I think it was more of a distraction than helpful, actually. At first, I tried Pez candies, hoping that if my son operated the Pez head by himself after he went on the potty he’d be excited to use the potty again. He just wanted more candy. Then I tried jelly beans, the same thing happened. “More jelly beans,” is what he would say to me after he scarfed them down two seconds later. My last attempt was offering him mini-chocolate chips. I’d tell him to take two and he’d grab a handful.
By this point, he was doing really well with not having many accidents so I nixed the idea completely. Rewards may work for your little one or they maybe they won’t. What worked for us instead was making it a big deal when he had a victory. If he went on his potty, we would scream yay and do a little dance. He loved that. I think it made him feel special knowing that he was doing something awesome enough to prompt such a reaction. Occasionally, he’ll still pump his hand up in the air afterward and yell, “Yay! Poop potty!”
Your toddler will let you know what is working for them. Pay attention and listen! What works for Suzie’s kid might not work for yours. Accept that and allow your child to steer you in the direction that makes them feel comfortable.
If you used another method to reward while potty training your toddler, be sure to let us know in the comments.
Scheduling visits to the potty.
Yet another thing that I read over and over again when I started potty training my toddler. At the start of the day, I encouraged the heck out of my son going on the potty for the first time. After that, he’d run to his potty when he felt the urge to go. I didn’t set a timer on my phone or make him sit and try every thirty minutes. I encouraged frequent sitting was when I knew he had to poop, especially in the beginning when he was uncomfortable with the idea of pooping on his potty.
My son hasn’t regressed, but I feel like it’s important to comment on. Your toddlers are still learning so much and sometimes it’s hard for them to deal with multiple things at once. If your toddler is going through another big change (maybe you just had another baby, a big move, etc.) it’s possible he/she will regress and focus on one thing at a time. So, if you notice your toddler regressing ask yourself if there have been any big distractions happening.
Location of their potty.
After a few weeks of a more-relaxed potty training style, I moved my son’s potty back into the bathroom. I thought it was important keeping it close by, where he could always see it in those beginning weeks as encouragement and a constant reminder. Realistically speaking, it’s not ideal. It’s important when you’re potty training your toddler for them to understand the concept of walking to the bathroom to use their potty. This just doesn’t help at home, but when you’re in public and need to locate a restroom.
When I moved it, accidents were few and far between. And he did great with it. However, having a bathroom with no windows created a new problem. It was dark in there for him unless I turned the light on for him. As a mom, sometimes it takes a minute to do that and I didn’t want to make him wait if he really had to go.
So, I purchased one of those battery operated lights. I used the sticky adhesive strips to hang it on the cabinet of the sink. That way, if he needs to go he has his own light that he can reach. He loves it, and it makes life easier for the both of us! You can see the one we use to the right and where it’s located. It comes with sticky adhesive tape, which I preferred over nails, hoping that it won’t cause any damage to my bathroom cabinet. If you really love the idea this is the light I use! What’s even cooler about it is that they come in a 3 pack and have a remote control with them!
The only other time I moved it was during at night. After he went before bed, I would move it to the room so he’d have easy access in case he woke up in the middle of the night and needed to use it. We still do this. Eventually, I’ll move it back to the bathroom for overnight visits.
I know that some people buy those fancy toilets that flush and make noise, but we didn’t. The one we have features being able to raise the seat up and down a notch and you can remove the little container for easy clean up (which makes it super easy). We use the Fisher-Price Custom Comfort Potty Training Seat and my son loves it and it has worked great for us. There are literally so many options so what works best for me may not for you and so forth.
I wanted to skip pull-ups altogether, but we ended up using them as an in-between stage during his training. We used pull ups if we had to go to the store and during nap time. Diapers were used at night since they have better absorption. We bought two boxes of pull-ups, and when we bought the second I made it a goal to not have to buy another box. Instead, I encouraged frequent bathroom visits when we went to the store or had to run errands so he’d get used to the idea of using a public restroom and that using the potty wasn’t just something that happened at home.
Potty training your toddler doesn’t have to be strict.
Our potty training journey went a little longer than I would have liked. Ideally, I wanted my son potty trained in a month’s time but it took about two and a half months. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have done it any differently. The longer I’m a parent, the more I realize that what works is different for every family, every child.
If potty training your toddler is taking longer than what you perceive as normal, don’t beat yourself up over it. Take a deep breath and know that he/she’s well on their way to success with it. Potty training is trial and error for many, so if you have other tips please don’t hesitate to comment below! It just might end up helping another mom keep a few strands of hair.