My own guide of potty training
As I recently potty trained my 2-year-old daughter, I got a lot of questions from mom friends and Instagram followers on the techniques that I followed to have successfully completed the transition within four days, which made me create this guide on potty training steps that are tested for a smooth and positive evolution.
1. Communicate and Identify Signs of Readiness
It is very important to establish and maintain an open communication with your toddler about essential toilet matters. Explain to them that they’ve become a big boy/girl and now have to go to the toilet like grownups do.
Start reading books about the subject and describe this “funny feeling” their bodies send in the form of signals that they need to go to the toilet, and how important it is to respond to these feelings and rush to the toilet.
Also, decide on the wordings that will be used to classify the wet from solid; could be pee/poop or number 1/number 2…Whichever words you choose, stick to them in communicating this transition phase.
2. Plan Ahead
Decide on the best time to start potty training your little one, preferably during three to five respective days where you have completely freed yourself especially for this mission. Why? Because in order to achieve a higher success rate, you should eliminate any distractions especially in the first 2 days.
Meal plan ahead of time if you must, delegate the house chores to help if you have or delay them until your little one naps. However, you wish to organize your days, make sure you are completely free and have all your focus on your toddler’s feelings, reactions, and communication during this period.
Most importantly is to wrap your head around the reward system you wish to adopt. What worked best for us is identifying her favorite toys and foods, stocking on them, and explaining to her how she will be earning those gifts.
You must be firm when it comes to managing the rewards, as some kids would expect to have them regardless their actions and if you fall in this trap (with their gorgeous puppy eyes asking you for a gift or snack), you might start missing the influence that these rewards have on the process; and thus, a possible delay in success or even more accidents.
If you are planning to have a mobile potty, make sure you purchase and discuss it with your toddler as part of building the communication and expectations on what is to come.
3. Show Time!
So, you’ve been speaking to your toddler about this transition, you stocked on rewards, you’ve bought the underwear and potty, and day one has finally come!
What are some things you need to keep in mind?
I can’t emphasize this enough but keep reminding yourself that this is a positive transition, an encouraging experience and thus imbed this in every reaction you do and every word you say to your toddler.
Keep in mind that accidents will happen, and you need to control your reactions when they do.
At this stage, your little one is yet to adapt to his/her new reality and mission, and your role is to make this transition a positive and calm one as well.
I definitely recommend the action plan to take place in the morning, even before breakfast, all while communicating every step of the way.
Tell your toddler that this is the day we ditch the diapers and wear big girl panties or big boy underwear, even let them choose which ones they want to wear.
Expect him/her to ask to put on diapers, they might even cry to have it back on as it provides a sense of comfort; however, gently remind them that since he/she is a big boy/girl they don’t need the diaper anymore. It is best to have them wear only the panties without any pants to cover – you need to see when the accident happens, and you want them to feel disgusted when it happens, as they would feel it more. The main trick here is to provide lots of fluids and high-fibre foods that will urge them to use the toilet because without having the need to go, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to put the theory into practice.
How much to ask if they need to pee while potty training
One thing you will hear yourself repeating non-stop is asking your little one if they need to go to the toilet.
You just asked? Ask again in 5 minutes. Your toddler’s attention span is short, and you need to reinforce the efforts by continuously questioning them. This is the reason behind informing you to cancel all your plans, put your house chores on hold, and be 100% present for your child without allowing any distractions.
Your Reaction to their actions while potty training
Every time your little one successfully uses the toilet, celebrate the success of their achievement by communicating it thoroughly.
Children thrive on praise! Every time their underwear is dry, give positive reinforcement and praise, even if they didn’t “go” but have communicated their body’s signals, mention how proud you are of him/her and agree on continuing with this level of communication.
As for the rewards, it will take a few turns for them to fully understand the rewards concept – if you don’t already implement it in your household. Part of celebrating the success of properly using the potty or keeping the underwear clean, follow it up with presenting a reward – only when earned.
Naps & bed times while potty training
It is best to have this transition coherent in ditching the diaper once and for all, including for napping.
For this, it is recommended to stop liquids two to three hours before bedtime and have them go to the toilet before sleeping.
If they say they don’t need to go, don’t keep them on the potty; instead, read a story or do a small activity to pass some time and possibly make them want to attend the toilet.
Remember to stay close to your toddler, always be present and provide uninterrupted support.
Don’t be discouraged if the plan didn’t work from day 1, there’s a big possibility it won’t as it will be a work in progress and a learning experience to both you and your toddler.
And remember, this should be an encouraging practice and a positive transition for your little one and yourself.
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