I’m excited and nervous for this post. Excited because I’m so proud of my freaking two year old for wanting to potty train ( I know there are kids that start younger then that but I was preparing to potty train her at 4 years old ha!) and nervous because every child is different and I don’t want anyone to take my advice as “gospel”. It really is just that, advice.
1. Don’t think you have to do it a specific way!
This was huge for me!! I got so much feedback (or unsolicited advice hehe) and how I should be doing it. No! Take what you want from it and do what you please. We all know this, but each child is different. Some just don’t care to potty train right away, so save yourself the tears and don’t push it! Some need treats, while others need praise. Do what fits best for your child. I asked a few friends, my mom and my sister and then took bits and pieces from each one. None of them were 100% correct on how to potty train Lemmon… that’s because they didn’t have Lemmon. Get where I’m going with this?
2. Don’t force them if they aren’t ready!
Lemmon started showing signs around 18 months, I personally wasn’t ready for it, so I started small. Put her on the potty here and there, let her see me using the bathroom (I think this was HUGE on her wanting to do it herself) talk about how awesome it is to go potty. Then she kind of lost interest, so I didn’t force anything on her. At 25 months, she was ready! So, I had to be ready too. I never wanted her to feel like she had to grow up and do this or that it needed to be kicking and screaming all the way to the potty.
We went to the store and I let her pick out what characters she wanted on her underwear. Not that she knew what underwear really was, but she knew that she got to wear Ana & Elsa, and trolls haha. I think figured out her favorite candy and got a family size bag of m&m’s (this was a game changer for us!) then I went to the dollar section at Target and picked out stickers, balloons, balls, coloring books, etc. If she peed in the potty she got one m&m, if she told me she had to go potty then she got 2 m&m’s. And if she didn’t want any m&m’s, she could pick any of the other items we had. I always had them in a fun box sitting on the bathroom counter top where she could see them. I ALWAYS left the bathroom door open (which I hate!) but whenever she walked by, she would see them on the counter and it would remind her what she needed to do to get one. If she went #2, she got a Popsicle and all the praising in the world (#2 is tough to get them to do)
***Praise is a big one too! Lemmon still cheers after each time she goes in the potty and always wants a hug at the end haha. We would cheer for her and scream and jump up and down. She loves that kind of attention***
4. Their own potty!
We bought Lemmon this potty before we even fully started to potty train. It’s so cute! It has it’s own compartment for wipes and even has a flushing noise. She was so excited it was her size and that she could “flush” it (only if she went potty in it) It’s awesome because she can get on and off it herself, which is huge when you are going every few hour the first few days.
5. Set a timer!
This one was such great advice from my sister. The first day I set a time for every 20 minutes. I would say “Do you need to go potty?” and of course she would say no and I would say “well, lets just go and try.” Then the second day I would push it to 25 minutes, then 30 minutes the third day. It made her start realizing how to ask to go and the sensation she feels when she needs to go and when she actually does go. This may differ with older kids, but with Lemmon who is only 2 and can barely form sentences, this helped a lot! And it helped to remind me to ask her to go, since I never cared before that. I would say by day 4, Lemmon was telling me she had to go potty. We talked a lot about going potty those 4 days haha.
If we left the house to run an errand during those 4 days, I would take her potty right before we left, then right when we got to that store, then still ask her every 20-30 minutes at the store, then take her to the bathroom right before we left the store. You become very familiar with the restrooms at each place haha.
6. Talk about it A LOT!
We still do this and she has been potty trained for over a month now. Every time we got in the car I would say “Do we pee-pee in your carseat?” When we would put her panties on or we would go to a store, I would say “Do we pee-pee in your panties?” She would always say “NOOOOO!!!” It’s just a good reminder about going potty where she’s supposed to and then she can’t forget what we’ve been doing the past while. I tell close family and friends when I see them, that Lemmon goes potty in the big potty, so then they talk about it with her and make a big deal out of it.
*** I get a lot of questions about the pull-ups. I decided to only let Lemmon wear them on long car rides (she still does super good at not peeing in them) and for the gym daycare and sometimes if we are going to a big event with tons of people where I know she will get distracted and forget to go. I don’t undo the pull up. I make her put it on like underwear and don’t call it her diaper. I treat them just like underwear and don’t let her know any different. It really is a personal decision and my concern was her getting confused but I didn’t have her wear it till day 3 when she was getting the hang of things.