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Potty training can seem like a really daunting task.
To be honest, I felt the exact same way, especially since this was my first time EVER potty training a toddler. However, after having successfully potty trained, I am here to tell you – it’s not that bad 🙂
So today I want to share with you: our process of potty training, what method we used, how we convinced our toddler to sit on the potty, what didn’t work for us, what essentials we used and more.
It took my toddler 4 days to fully get it, although I expected it to take a lot longer. A few of the tips that I’m about to share helped a lot, but in all honesty – I think he was just really ready for it, so that’s why it went smoothly(ish).
If it takes your little one longer, please remember that it’s not a competition of who gets it faster. It’s so important not to stress a lot or put too much pressure on them – it makes the whole process much easier. They will all get it eventually 🙂
I filmed the first 3 days of potty training, because I wanted to give you an insight into how it actually went. If you’re curious, here they are:
When is the right time to potty train?
This is quite a controversial topic, isn’t it? I haven’t really stressed about my toddler’s age in regards to potty training, because I think they each have their own rhythm. Children are so different, some might be ready really soon, some might not be interested until later.
Either way, I think it shouldn’t be a time race.
My toddler is now 2 years and 6 months old (nearly two and a half).
I had a hunch that he might be ready, but I didn’t actually know it for sure. I have read about the signs they might be ready: like telling you when they go in their diapers (my toddler wasn’t doing this), or showing an interest when you go to the toilet (he was doing this).
I had decided to give it a try since we are currently in lockdown at home, because it’s obviously easier if you are able to spend this time at home to focus on potty training.
My initial plan to see if he’s ready was to give it a try for a week. I figured, if he was really upset about it or if he was resisting the potty – then I would give up and try again in a few months.
It wasn’t necessary, as he got it quite fast. But I think the only way you’ll ever know if they are actually ready is to give it a go.
Our Potty Training Essentials
The only thing we used in the beginning was this potty that looks like a proper toilet. My toddler loved it, but you can obviously use any type of potty or you could even start straight on the big toilet with an adapter.
In the meantime, we also bought a big toilet adapter and a foldable portable seat for when we can eventually go out (after quarantine, obviously).
I also used some star stickers on his potty chart and he responded really well to that. You can get my FREE potty charts here:
Before You Start Potty Training
Here are a few things I did before we started potty training in order to prepare him for it. He always followed us into the bathroom and we would explain what’s going on and what we do there.
Bit TMI, I know – but are you even a parent if you still pee alone? Haha 🙂
I told my toddler he will also get to do that soon on his little potty.
I also got him loads of potty training books from the local library (obviously the libraries are closed now because of quaratine, but thankfully Amazon is still going). We used to go every week and I always picked at least one potty training book for kids.
It really helped to get him used to the idea and get him excited.
How to Start
What we did the day we officially started potty training is we read some potty books in the morning. Just so that he would have a refresher on what’s going to happen.
I showed him the potty chart and the stickers he will get everytime he goes on the potty.
Then I took his diaper off and let him be.
I also took out the rug from our living room/play area. I was completely expecting accidents to happen, so I thought this was the safer choice.
I started by prompting him every 20-30 minutes to sit on the potty. At first, nothing would happen, but I praised him even for sitting on the potty. Later on I realized that prompting at 20-30 minutes was too soon for him, so I decided to try every hour.
It worked much better prompting hourly.
How to Get Them to Actually Sit on the Potty
My toddler wasn’t really resisting sitting on the potty, but he has had moments when he was reluctant. So what I did was I let him watch the potty song just to get him on the potty at first. It’s a 1 minute song on YouTube, I believe it’s called the Potty Song by Little Baby Bum.
He loved it and would go on the potty and ask for the song. After the song was over, I would entertain him with other activities while he was still on the potty.
Things like play doh, reading books, crafts etc. I would bring his little Ikea table in front of him while on the potty, so that he had a surface to play on.
I know this might be a bit controversial. I have read beforehand that you supposedly shouldn’t bribe them with things because then they will always ask for those.
I have to disagree here.
At least in our case (and from what I’ve heard other parents say), this phase only lasted for the first 3-4 days. Now he just tells me when he needs to go on the potty and he goes with no rewards needed.
I think these rewards work wonders in the beginning just to get them used to the idea of going on the potty and to make it fun for them.
Do I Leave Them in Pants or Underwear?
I did buy this pack of boys underwear before we started.
My initial plan was to leave him without anything on from the waist down. I thought it would be easier to plop him on the potty this way when needed.
However, he didn’t like that, so we opted for just trousers at first. It’s easier to pull them down when they need to go quickly.
And now he is perfectly comfortable with wearing both underwear and trousers.
How it Went
The first few days of potty training were exhausting, I’m not gonna lie. I was constantly with him, watching him and trying to prompt him frequently.
I think he was very ready for it and just needed a bit of a push from me to get started.
When he had accidents I tried not to make a big deal out of it. I would just say something like: “Uh oh. That’s ok, accidents happen. Next time we will go on the potty”.
No shaming or making them feel bad for it.
It’s a very new thing for them, so it’s important to give them a bit of time to process what’s going on before they fully get it.
I also think it’s actually important for them to have those first few accidents. Having a diaper on will not allow them to feel when they do a wee. After a few accidents they see that it’s not a pleasant feeling and will prefer to go on the potty.
I think this is key for potty training fast.
When Heading Out
The first couple of days, when we went for our daily walk, I was a bit nervous about going without a diaper. So I put one on just for extra safety. To my surprise, he was completely dry when we got home (granted, we can only go for short walks these days).
So after the third day I stopped putting a diaper on him outside and he’s been fine with that. I always make sure to prompt him to go on the potty before we head out though.
We have decided to keep his diaper on during sleep (nap time and bedtime) for the time being. Just because I know my toddler and I know he’s not ready for this step yet. One reason is because he still loves his milk dearly before bedtime and I honestly don’t think he would make it through the night without having a wee.
My plan is to stop putting a diaper on when he starts waking up dry in the morning consistently.
Of course, you know your child best, so you can adjust all of these potty training tips accordingly.
I hope this potty training experience is helpful to you if you’re starting out soon. How old is your little one? What is your potty plan so far? I would love to hear from you below 🙂