Potty training is one of the more difficult endeavors we face as parents. Every child is different and has their own unique challenges.
“There’s no greater joy and no greater pain, than having gone through the potty train.”
Unfortunately, it’s a messy, stinky destination that you’ll quickly want to conquer, but will seemingly get stuck in the mud (no pun intended). So why do some parents struggle so much with potty training? The answer may be in the diversity, or lack there of our teachings. The way I see it, the more activities you do to promote potty usage, the better your child’s chance of success. You have to stack the deck in your favor. Some parents only do one or two things like buy pull-ups and attempt to put their child on the potty until they get frustrated from it not working. There is a better way. In fact, several different ways which should all be used in conjunction to make potty time a little less nightmarish and actually more successful!
How and when to start?
Children are typically ready to potty train around the ages of 2 or 3 but maybe earlier if there are older siblings to learn from. Look for the signs.
- Look out for signs that your child is ready. These include pulling their diaper on and off, going a while or whole nap with a dry diaper, telling you they’re going, showing curiosity about the potty and what goes in it, and going number 2 the same time each day.
- When starting, dedicate 1-2 weeks to potty training. This includes pausing play-dates, car rides, outdoor activities, and basically anything that brings your child out of the house. Once you start, there’s no turning back. Make sure you’re in it for the long haul…all or nothing.
- Avoid pull-ups during the day as they give children a crutch to go, just like a diaper. Instead, let them be naked and rush them to the potty if they start to go while saying, “Make sure you go pee pee in the potty.”
- Put them on the potty every 15 to 30 minutes. A lot of kids also have a set time of day when they do their “number 2” business. Make sure to put your child on the potty for several minutes during this time of day and encourage them to go number 2.
- Make it enticing and convenient for them to go by providing a smaller, fun themed potty that’s not so intimidating to a toddler. My son had a fire truck potty that he loved and we kept it in the room he would play in.
- Teach the process of going potty and washing hands with books! There are a ton of great books that you can read to your toddler while sitting on the potty.
- Make a cool potty earning chart with fun stickers and rewards. My son received a sticker every time he went potty and after eight stickers he received a little cheap toy like a matchbox car. You can also reward with a few mini M&Ms when they’re successful. Charts are a great way to be consistent.
- Nighttime potty training usually comes later. We put nighttime pull-ups on our toddler for a good six months after he was day time potty trained. It wasn’t until he started going the entire night without incident did we stop using them.
- Try your best to stay calm, use positive reinforcement, and not get angry or frustrated when they have an accident. You don’t want your child to be anxious or stressed with potty time. Don’t make them feel bad for having an accident. They might not tell you when it happens the next time.
As stated earlier, potty training is one of the most difficult parts of being a parent. Consistency is your friend in this situation. Don’t give up. Even with hard work, regression is possible and normal. Keep working at it until your little one is a potty pro. Post your stories or tips below and make sure to follow Dad the Mom on Facebook!
Want more helpful parenting tips and tricks paired with true stories from parents around the country? Check out my latest book Entitle Me Not with great info on teaching manners, respect, responsibility, accountability, independence, the bedtime routine, potty training, and more! Author signed copies available at MajorLifeLessons.com or purchase at Amazon, B&N, and Kindle.