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Potty training can feel daunting when you’re approaching that stage of development, but I hope after reading this post, you’ll have some practical tools to help you achieve potty training success without too much stress! Between potty training both of my boys, I feel like I have a few pointers for fellow moms that are trying to potty train their little ones. And all of my methods follow a natural, simple, gentle potty training approach that does not include rewards or punishments.
This article is written by Shari Medini
For more on this topic, check out the full Potty Training & Pacifiers collection
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Plan Ahead for Potty Training
Don’t potty train in the middle of a busy week. Try to pick a time where you can stay home and really focus on potty training for a full week. You don’t have to stay home at all times, but try to minimize the time out and about to increase the chances of potty training success.
One Thing at a Time
Don’t get overzealous. My potty training methods are all about keeping things simple. No places to go, no pants to pull down, no flushing, no hand washing (you can use hand sanitizer though). Let your child focus on the hardest part of potty training – listening to their body; and then you can build skills from there.
The Potty Matters
Not all potties are created equal. And this is especially true for boys! I learned this the hard way after my initial potty purchase, and immediately set out to find a better one. Some potties have bowls that are too tiny, some have lids that shut accidentally while your child is sitting there, some play songs that scare kids (while others like the songs).
The potty that ended up being perfect for my boys is this dinosaur one. I don’t know if they sell it anymore, anywhere; but I’ll tell you what I love about it
- The child gets to pretend they are riding a dinosaur!
- It has a huge splash guard up front, which is a must-have for little boys.
- The front part acts like a little handle, which makes the child feel more secure.
Naked Method for potty training
Let your child run around naked. The fewer steps that they need to take to go potty, the better. In the beginning stages of potty training, my boys never told me that they needed to go. They just ran over and sat down. Eventually we introduce pants and then underwear under the pants; but since that introduces an extra step of having to take them off, we skip that in the beginning. Being naked also helps get your child in touch with their body, the physical sensations, and the results of those sensations. They will learn quickly and reach potty training success sooner!
Activities while learning to use the potty
Since your kiddo is running around naked, it might be best to try to plan a lot of activities in the kitchen (where you have a floor that is easy to clean). Play Doh, books, racing cars, sensory boxes, puzzles, etc – anything can be played in the kitchen.
And for more ideas and strategies be sure to also check out Karissa’s Potty Training Advice!
Make potty training fun
Little ones do not want to have to stop playing and sit still. Make going potty a fun experience – especially if they’re working on number two. Have books to read, stickers to put on their hands, or a tablet to watch a video on. Some children love having company while they sit there, while others want to be left alone – you know your child best.
Don’t flush the un-flushables!
When potty training your little, it’s tempting to use wet wipes to get everything clean. Regular toilet paper does not always do the job when the operator is a three year old. And that’s okay! But ask a plumber and they will warn you not to flush the wipes, even the ones labeled “flushable”. Our sewer systems weren’t designed to handle that material, and it can damage your home sewer system and the public sewer system. If you’re going to use wipes, teach the little ones to throw them in a designated waste basket that you can discard safely later.
Right Amount of Praise
Again, you know your child best… some kiddos love being the center of attention while others prefer to go unnoticed. I tend to tell my kids how proud I am of them, give them a high five, and then we move on. A more matter of fact approach seems to work for them since going potty is a potentially embarrassing thing already.
Plenty of Liquids to encourage potty training
You can get some favorite juices for your child to guzzle down to make sure that you get plenty of potty practice in the beginning. Just be sure not to give them so much that they are having to pee every five minutes and getting frustrated with it.
Trust your kids
Many people advise that you set timers or try going potty on a set schedule, and that might work for some kids. But my boys love to independent and reminding them to go potty all the time would frustrate them and lead to defiance. Instead I potty train at a time where I trust that they can understand the physical sensations of needing to go to the potty, and I trust that they will try to get there.
Gentle Reminders for your toddler
Of course, if I see them doing the pee-pee dance I will remind them to go. Or if it has been a while, and we are transitioning activities, I will give a small direction like, “Go potty first, then we will get out Play Doh.” Also, if your child does have an accident, don’t make it a huge deal. Give a calm reminder that pee and poop go in the potty, and then clean things up calmly.
Transitioning to Clothes after potty training
Many people are quick to stick their kiddos in underwear during potty training, but I have found that this does not help the process. Since we do naked potty training, I transition slowly to underwear by letting my boys wear pants without anything underneath. I have found that even underwear in the early stages can feel too similar to a diaper and end up causes accidents.
Eventually you will have to go out and about, and this travel potty has been a lifesaver for us! It folds down easily and comes with disposable liners that are perfect for road trips, days at the park, or “emergencies.”
What it really comes down to is following your child’s lead. Listen to them, and let them listen to their own body. Potty training doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience; it can be a chance to connect and be proud of your child for learning a new skill! Potty training success is right around the corner, and your child will get there in their own time 🙂
Be sure to share this with other moms who could use some support!
Co-Owner: Shari Medini
Shari Medini is the co-owner of the parenting website Adore Them. Her prior experience includes working as a marketing strategist and writer on multi-million dollar capital campaigns, website designs, advertising campaigns, and book launches. Shari’s parenting articles have been published in dozens of publications; and she enjoys doing various speaking engagements. When she’s not on her laptop, Shari can be found spending quality time with her husband and two sons exploring their hometown of Lancaster County, PA
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