Thinking about Potty Training for your Little One? Potty Training (PT from here on out) is not something you want to dive into willy nilly. For a successful go at it, you’ll need to prepare, prepare, prepare.
Keys to successful Potty Training
A Proper Introduction – At the first sign of interest in the potty, begin letting your child explore and experience what it’s like to use the potty … the real potty. I recommend using a removable potty seat that you place on top of a standard toilet seat, rather than a separate potty that you’ll have to transition out of eventually and that you can’t take with you when you’re out and about. Get them used to the real thing, and it won’t be such an ordeal. Trust me on this one. Also, you’ll want to get some Pull Ups for the daytime and let your kid begin learning how to do just that … pull up and down, of course.
Ready to Commit? – When you feel your child is ready, i.e. staying dry for significant periods of time as well as genuinely interested, you can transition out of the exploration phase and into the real deal!
Save the Date! – Be strategic … This is one of the most important dates you’ll ever pick (second only to your wedding day). You’ll want to clear your calendar for at least the first 2-3 days to devote solely to PT. Also, consider your seasons when choosing a date. Spring and summer are best for PT because you can do shorts/dresses which are easier for pulling up. Or if decency is not an issue, you can always opt for underpants only.
The Week Before – Stock up! Here’s a list of supplies you’ll want to have on hand.
- Stickers/Stamps – You’re gonna want to track your wee one’s progress. Stickers are a great motivator; so have plenty available to put on charts, hands, clothes, walls … wherever they want during Potty Week. Hint – a new stash can be intriguing, so consider getting a little crazy at the Dollar Store and picking up a few extras.
- CLOTH Training Pants – Why, oh why, did no one ever share this secret with me with my oldest son?! Pull Ups are great for gaining interest in the potty; but when it’s time to get serious, they don’t quite do the trick. Pull Ups are essentially just a diaper disguised as underpants, and they absorb way too much for your kiddo to be uncomfortable when wet. CLOTH training pants, on the other hand, have a thicker center similar to cloth diapers. So when your kid goes, some of the wet will be absorbed but, there’s no huge puddle on the floor. However, he or she still FEELS wet and is therefore not happy about it. GENIUS! FYI – Gerber makes these amazing cloth training pants in all sorts of colors/patterns. I found them at Target on the Infant aisle, a 3-pack was $7. You’re gonna wanna get two, which is still less than you’d pay for just one pack of Pull Ups.
- M&M’s – These little candies are the quintessential PT treat. They are small but delicious, colorful, and did I mention they are chocolate? Who doesn’t love chocolate?! (Note, if your kid doesn’t love chocolate, Skittles or Gummies will also do the trick).
- Books – A fresh collection of reading materials combined with some old faithfuls, are sure to come in handy during all your “sitting time”. Be sure to make a pit stop at your local library before the big day. For a list of some of my personal favs and other helpful hints, check our Potty Training Pinterest Board.
The Day Before –
- Fill your M&M jar and place it strategically within view of the potty, and if at all possible, out of reach.
- Print Chart. Pinterest has a ton of free potty chart printables for your convenience. Again, you can check out our Potty Training Pin Board on Pinterest.
- Have a timer handy. It can be an egg timer or one that you use on your phone.
- Create a “safe spot” for sitting/playing. If you have rugs, roll ‘em up and stow ‘em away for the next week. If you have carpets, invest in a shower curtain. I used a couple of large comforters that could be easily thrown in the wash, and I covered my entire living room floor. Note – this is also a great time to do messy activities like painting because your floors are protected. And if the weather is nice, plan to spend a significant amount of time outdoors.
- Prepare yourself mentally, pray if that’s your source of strength, because you’re going to need all the peace and patience you can find within to survive the next few days.