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Potty training is hands down my least favorite part of parenting to date. Potty training my oldest scarred me, and left me in no rush to begin potty training my second child, especially while still grappling with a baby. But over the last month, my two year old wants nothing more than to be just like her big sister: a big kid bed, a big girl fork, a big girl cup, and using the big girl potty. She started going into the bathroom and taking off her diaper, usually while I was nursing her baby brother and helpless to stop her. Ready or not, it was time to implement my top potty training tips.
Top 5 Potty Training Tips
With your first child, you are in such a rush to achieve every milestone. And with potty training, it bit me big time. We tried (and failed) multiple times. There were lots of tears, by both of us. And while the much publicized 3-day method did ultimately work for us, now, with 3 kids, it was less of an option. I can’t provide the hyper-vigilance it requires. With preschool and other activities, I don’t have the option of staying home, uninterrupted, for 3 days. And with a brand new house and furniture, I really didn’t have the stomach for all the accidents either.
So, while I was in no rush to start, when your two year old starts taking herself, they are ready and it’s time for you to be too. Armed with all I learned from round one, and an eager and willing toddler on my hands, it was time to put my top potty training tips to work!
Tip #1: Equip Your Arsenal
Once your toddler is ready to start potty training, which is really the first step in the process, it’s time to stockpile your arsenal. Take your toddler with you, involving them in every step of the process, and get them excited for making this big step in growing up. We headed to Wal-Mart to collect everything we needed.
Potty Training Arsenal
- Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® featuring Doc McStuffins
- Small toy set with 5-10 pieces
- New underwear
- Cute basket or tote for storage
- Cleaning and disinfecting wipes
We started in the Baby section to get our Pull-Ups® Learning Designs®. My toddler LOVES Doc McStuffins, so picked those out immediately. Next, we headed across the aisle to the kids clothing section, where I let her pick out new underwear to wear once she practices and is comfortable using the potty. Then, the best part – we went to the toy department. I selected 3-4 toy sets containing a large number of individual pieces (5-10) featuring characters she loves. I then let her pick one set to bring home to earn for potty training successes. She selected a set of small ponies.
Last we grabbed a super cute collapsible tote to store our arsenal in plain sight in our first floor bathroom. I also picked up a container of cleaning and disinfecting wipes to sanitize the bathroom and potty after use.
Note, I didn’t include a potty on the list – part of your child being ready is already having a potty and them being comfortable with it. I would highly encourage you to have a potty in your child’s bathroom and the most trafficked bathroom of your house from the time they are old enough to walk. But if you don’t have one, now is definitely the time to get one. You can get a small potty chair or a small seat that fits on your toilet (some are even built into the lid and flip down).
Tip #2: Every Accident is a Learning Opportunity
Once you start potty training, I find it most effective to no longer use a changing table, ever. With your newly equipped arsenal, you have everything you need to re-locate all changes to the bathroom. I keep a package of Pull-Ups® Learning Designs®, wipes, and our rewards (see Tip #3) in the cute storage tote all in the bathroom.
My toddler wears Pull-Ups as long as she is awake during the day. I stress keeping Doc McStuffins clean and dry. I don’t make her go at any set intervals, but I do watch her for signs she has to go. After using Pull-Ups for a few days, you will begin to notice your child has a fairly consistent usage pattern, and can remind them to go at these key times – when they wake up, after breakfast, mid-morning, after lunch, after nap, after dinner, before bed.
When your toddler is successful in telling you she has to go and getting anything in the potty, celebrate like it’s the happiest moment of your life. Call Dad, grandparents, aunts. Get older siblings in on the action.
When she does have an accident, change in the bathroom. Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® even have super convenient Easy Open sides for changing accidents, while still feeling like underwear. And changing in the bathroom provides the opportunity to reinforce, very matter of factly, without shame or judgement, that pee and poop go in the potty. We even flush the poop.
Tip #3: An Effective Incentive System
After your child is comfortable and regularly using the potty, it’s time to incentivize successes. Key in on what motivates your child. You can research and take a quiz to determine your child’s potty training character type, to learn how to best support their potty training efforts. My toddler is a Puppy – “ready and willing to potty train… extremely motivated by treats!”
Let them select the actual reward, with a big end goal too. My toddler chose her toy ponies as her reward. We define success as going to the potty and keeping her Pull-Up clean and dry. When she does this, after we wipe, flush and wash hands, she gets to choose a toy pony. (Shhh, I recycle ponies. She leaves them lying around, and I drop them back in the basket!) When she keeps her Pull-Up dry for 3 days, she gets to wear her big kid underwear just like her big sister, her single biggest motivator. And she also gets to graduate to a big kid bed.
Tip #4: Training Continues On-the-Go
The best thing about using Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® is they allow you to go about your busy life, while still potty training. Your child will get comfortable using bathrooms everywhere (and trust me, they will want to see them all!), while you don’t have to stress about having accidents in the car or the middle of the store.
When they do graduate to regular underwear, you can even pull on Pull-Ups over them for the first few outtings out of the house for security.
Tip #5: Recognize When It’s Time to Wait
Potty training is mostly about recognizing your child’s readiness, and following their lead, with parental guidance. There shouldn’t be tears, fighting or power struggles involved. My pediatrician once told me a toddler only really has control over 3 things: whether or not they eat, sleep, and going to the bathroom. If it is becoming a battle, back-off a bit.
Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® make it easy for them to continue to use the potty, when they are interested, without abandoning the effort entirely. Much of the stress with my oldest child came from the hyper-vigilance required with an untrained child in underwear, the constant clean-up and laundry. Pull-Ups let you celebrate the successes without putting so much stress on you and your child.
Learn More About Pull-Ups® Learning Designs®
You can learn more about Pull-Ups® Learning Designs® at Wal-Mart! Is your child ready to potty train? Be sure to take the quiz to find your toddler’s potty training character type, and download helpful tips and guidance for training based on the results!
If you enjoyed this post, you can learn more by reading all about my failures and eventual success potty training my first child, who was definitely more of a Turtle potty training character type! You might also enjoy Moving to a Big Kid Bed and 9 Ways to Ease Daily Transitions. You can find all of these on my Toddlers and Parenting Tips boards on Pinterest.