Our family reached a big milestone this past month. My firstborn is now completely potty trained! Third time is the charm; after my previous failed attempts these 5 tips made all the difference and helped my son achieve successful and stress-free potty training!
Potty training was something I had dreaded a long time but it ended up being much easier than I had imagined thanks to these simple tips. Whatever method you use, these tips can help you have a relatively stress-free potty training experience.
1. Wait Until They Are Ready!
Allowing my son to take the lead made all the difference for me in potty training. It can easily become frustrating for yourself and your child if you are trying to force potty training too early. I experienced some success at first but regression was inevitable. All kids are different but I’ve heard boys tend to take a little longer than girls to be ready. Watch you child, feel it out and wait if they just aren’t ready for it.
Signs that your child might be ready for potty training include:
- Staying dry through the night
- Telling you when they are going in their diaper
- Telling you they are dirty
- Being suddenly more bothered by having a soiled diaper
My son showed none of these signs of these until after his 3rd birthday. I had attempted potty training at 2 and 2 1/2 years old but both times were miserable. Crying, numerous accidents, I was stressed and he was stressed. My son had no idea he needed to go until he was already in a puddle and after 2 days we gave up on potty training and decided to wait. This last time around I could tell he was ready. He was eager to try going on the potty and motivated to stay dry. It a world of difference from our first potty training attempts!
2. Offer Appealing Incentives
My son was really motivated to try sitting on the potty and go “pee-pee” if I offered him a gummy treat. Going #2 is usually harder and scarier for kids so I planned ahead and stocked up on some larger rewards for going #2 and also for staying dry (no accidents) all day long. We made a really BIG deal of staying dry and my son was super motivated to earn rewards for successes. These fun ANIA Animal figurines made the perfect little potty training-prizes for my nature loving son.
Perfect for any kid who loves animals, dinosaurs or sea creatures ANIA Animal figurines from TOMY inspire creative play and love for nature for kids ages 3+. I was very impressed with the quality of these animals and I love the realistic detail of each animal! Most of the figurines have moving parts such as the mouth, head, tail, legs, etc. for fun “adventures in motion.”
These cute animals come in sets of varying sizes. I would offer my son one creature for every time he went #2 in the potty or stayed dry all day with no accidents. He LOVED the anticipation of waiting to see which creature he’d receive next! He plays with these animals daily and I love listening to him imagine all kinds of things as he makes the animals interact and explore the “jungle.” ANIA Animal figurines come in a variety of animals from all over the world. They are super fun to collect and make great gift ideas for boys or girls. You can find them at your local Toys”R”Us.
3. Clear Your Schedule
Set aside just a couple days to stay home and hang low to create a calm and focused potty training experience. If you aren’t stressed about other things you need to do or places you need to be it will be easier for you to keep your calm about potty training! Also, going potty in public is definitely more intimidating. We waited until my son got the hang of potty training at home before venturing out for too long. We also gave a bigger reward (a whole ANIA animal set) for the first time my little man went #2 in a public potty. That was all the encouragement he needed!
4. Double Up Undies, Skip Pull-Ups
In my opinion using underwear is better than using a disposable diaper or pull-up since they will really feel the discomfort of being wet/dirty and learn quickly that it’s not desirable! However to minimize the potty accidents all over my house I doubled up his regular underwear so that the liquid would soak into the underwear without running ALL over the floor. This worked great for us. I also had him wear thin stretch pants (like pajama pants) that were easy to pull on and off quickly. We did use pull-ups at night and for naps for about a day but he was already staying dry during sleep time so this wan’t too much of an issue. But daytime is for real underwear. Be sure to really praise kids for staying DRY! We had fun making a big deal of this.
5. Stay Positive and Encouraging
How YOU approach potty training makes a big difference. Kids pick up and feed off our attitudes. If you are dreading it, critical or discouraging in your tone, words and body language you are going to have a frustrated and disheartened child. Learning something as new (and sometimes scary) like using the potty will be 10 times harder for them. You may have to deal with some initial stubbornness of not wanting to try but don’t make it harder on them and yourself by losing your temper. Give lots of grace as they are learning but let them know you are confident they can do this. Let them know you understand it’s scary or challenging but you’re there to help them learn. Messes happen. It’s part of learning. Deal with it gently and use positive reinforcement and praise even small accomplishments.
However long it takes, don’t lose heart. They will get it in their own time. And there may still be accidents here and there but that’s life. I hope these simple tips for stress free potty training help you and you little one through this exciting milestone. You can find more advice for potty training toddlers here. Once you’re done with potty training be sure to celebrate! My son received the ANIA Dino Stomp set as his last prize for being completely potty trained. And me? I rewarded myself with a large latte and a pint of peanut butter ice cream.
Karen and her husband of 7 years have one active but very sweet toddler boy and a happy baby girl. She loves being mommy, spending quality time with friends and family, traveling and trying new things.