I’m a big kid now. I’m sure we’ve all heard the jingle, right? If only singing a song and clapping your hands like a crazy person would miraculously help your little one go on the potty. But alas, I have found that it does not work that way … at least not in my house!
There are hundreds of do’s and don’ts, methods and magic signs to successful potty training. Don’t believe me? Just Google, “potty training tips”. Everyone from Dr. Sears, to WebMD, Pull-Ups, and moms & dads just like you and me, has an article, link, or YouTube video about how to potty train. The first time I potty trained, I had no idea where to start. So I Googled it, I talked with friends that had been there, done that. And I thought I needed something cutesy and fun to make it work; I sent for a package that had a DVD we could dance to, a sticker chart, and some other little goodies….it didn’t help.
I have girls that are 4 and just recently turned 2. I have been told there is a huge difference in training girls versus boys. My sister has two boys, and while they eventually did learn to go on the potty, they were not overly interested in it, could have cared less about the incentives she offered, and really didn’t mind sitting in a poopy diaper or going pee on the floor. Thankfully (I think), my girls are just the opposite. We talk about potty, poopy, and pee ALL day long in our house. My oldest has been potty trained since shortly after her 2nd birthday. She had a sibling coming and there was no way I was going to have two in diapers, or be potty training with an infant! We are now beginning the process with my little one…wish me luck!
Here are a few tips I found helpful when training my oldest daughter and we are now using with my little one.
- Start talking about going on the potty. I found the more we talk about it, the more “normal” it is.
- Invest in a little potty, but don’t go overboard with something that will sing, dance or clap when potty hits it. The big potty is pretty scary and can be intimidating, so get something that your little one will be comfortable with. My girls were just as happy with the little ring that snaps on the big toilet as they were sitting on their singing potty.
- It is your praise and affection they truly want. So when it does happens, make a big deal out of it!
- Praise alone does not work in my house, so I had to think of something else. Figure out what makes your child tick. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am not above bribing my kids…under certain circumstances. For my oldest, stickers were a treasure. She was so very proud of herself each time she was able to put a sticker on her chart (which we taped to the back of the bathroom door). For my little one, stickers will not cut it…M&M’s are the trick. She LOVES them and will do most anything to get one.
- Invest the time to help them. I am finding this the most difficult tip to master the 2nd time around. Time is a rare commodity in our house, putting a 2 year old on the potty takes sooooo long.
- Put your child on the potty often and give them plenty of fluids.
- Stick close to home. It is more stressful and difficult on everyone if you try to potty train when you don’t have “home court” advantage. I did what I call, Potty Boot Camp with my oldest. It was Thanksgiving weekend, so we had Thursday-Sunday. My husband was gone hunting and we didn’t have to travel. So it was just my daughter and I all weekend long. We drank a lot of water that weekend, and spent A LOT of time in the bathroom. But for us, it paid off. She was almost 100% trained within those 4 days. It took just a couple more weeks for her to stay dry at night.
While these tips work for me and my girls, the most important thing to remember with any child/parent milestone is to recognize what will work for you and your family. As parents we know, but have to remind ourselves often, that EVERY kid is different. It is a matter of figuring out what works for your child, for you, and for your family. Maybe it is the simple tips I shared, maybe it is something you saw in your Google search, or maybe it is something a friend or family member shared with you. Whatever you decide to try, stick with it and celebrate your success with your little one!
Samantha Gehl is an organizing junkie living in a chaotic house. After years of struggling with infertility, she and her husband are parents to 2 little princesses. She loves to take long weekends away with her husband and spend her time doing anything that involves family and friends. During her spare time she likes to go for long walks in her neighborhood with the kiddos or spend time on Pinterest finding projects and recipes she will likely never have time to try.