Hallelujah! We have a potty-trained toddler!
It honestly feels crazy to write those words out. Daniel’s our first child and I really think that it’s difficult to always look to the future as a parent so, for me, it was hard to imagine that one day he wouldn’t be in diapers anymore. In hindsight, a few years ago it was also hard for me to believe that he would eventually walk on his own, talk, feed himself, etc. Yet, now we have a potty-trained toddler who is growing up so quickly (but thankfully he still enjoys snuggles).
Because I believe in full transparency and honesty in parenting (like, full transparency…) I want to share how we accomplished potty-training. Maybe some of our methods can help you, too. I’m very hesitant to say these are my “tips” because I think every child is different and not every tip will work for every kid, but this is what worked for us.
1. Stay Home
My primary goal for this past summer was making sure our son was potty-trained before he began the new school year. No one wants the final weeks of summer to be spent indoors instead of on the beach. However, I really wanted our son to have the ability to learn about his body and its functions in freedom and comfort. I know I would be uncomfortable learning something new in an unfamiliar environment and I assumed our kid would be the same. Plus, I figured this process might get a little messy at points and I wanted to be able to handle that all at home.
We cleared our schedule for about two weeks and did not really leave the house. I mean, obviously we still went grocery shopping and completed necessary tasks, but we did not leave for any extracurricular activities.
2. Embrace the Birthday Suit
Look, this is a no-judgment zone. Allowing our son to walk around naked worked for us and I think it worked for two reasons:
- He didn’t “forget” that he wasn’t wearing a diaper
- He initially had issues getting his pants down in time
When we first started potty-training, I think our son forgot that he was not wearing a diaper. I mean, who could blame him? For his entire life until that point he had been wearing one, so why would now be any different? Not having any pants on made him realize there was no diaper present at all.
Secondly, I noticed that he initially had trouble getting his pants off in time and this was resulting in accidental accidents. Even when he tried to use the toilet, he was having difficulty and I just didn’t think that was fair. At one point he actually apologized through tear-filled eyes and I felt terrible.
With all that being said, he was naked for a while, haha…
3. Positive Reinforcement Went a Long Way
This is a pretty basic one, but I really think that our constant positive reinforcement went a long way during this process. Daniel actually began to feel proud when he successfully used the bathroom and I think that was great motivation for him.
4. Taking Time with #2
Every parenting book, blog, website, etc. I have ever read about potty-training said the same thing: #2 is harder for kids. I genuinely think it’s a patience issue, but who knows. For our son, I think he became bored waiting on the toilet. Because of this, we made waiting “fun” and it really helped. Plus, it was kind of an easy fix that did not require much on our part. We gave him books to read on the toilet or sang songs with him. After a few days of getting the hang of it, he was good to go!
5. Spend a Lot of Time on the Toilet
Moving right along from point number four, in general we had our son on the toilet a lot. Additionally, when he was not physically on the toilet, we were constantly talking about it or asking him if he had to use the bathroom.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.
Practice makes perfect and we wanted to make sure he had this down before school began.
6. Expect the Messes
I hate gross things. Even before the pandemic, I always walked around with bottles of hand sanitizer and wipes. I was that kid at school with hand sanitizer in her organized desk in third grade. I hate clutter, too. In general, I dislike messes of any kind.
Then how do you have kids?! Kids force us to do all kinds of things we thought we never would and push us out of our comfort zone constantly. Thank God I’ve learned to embrace the chaos of parenthood! I thank my kid for that all the time because parenthood can be messy. Those early days with a newborn and diaper blow-outs? The spit-up after feedings? The wiping of boogers on surfaces all over the house? *cringe*
That’s what kids do, and God gives us the grace and ability to grow in parenthood and manage the insanity. With all that being said, it was important and essential for me to accept (and expect) the messes that this new chapter in my son’s life would bring.
And, Voila! We Have a Potty-Trained Toddler!
Was it easy? No.
Did it take time? Yes, about 2-3 weeks of consistent training.
Am I glad it’s over? You bet.
These strategies helped our family with potty-training. Maybe they will work for you, too. Or not! All kids are different. If you have any of your own tips, share them below. I love hearing about what worked for other families. I also learned a lot from Mama Natural’s website and the What To Expect website.