Potty training is not for the faint of heart…let alone if you are able to do it by yourself. Add in the stress of working outside the home and depending on others to help, and it can be quite a feat.
We have successfully potty trained one child (boy) and are getting ready to attempt to get our hands wet again training our little girl. It was definitely complicated and difficult at times, but honestly, it was not as hard as I thought it would be overall.
I do have to say that we took much longer than just a couple of days. It was a gradual process, with a number of accidents and a couple of regressions. Overall, I do feel that he still finished training before a lot of kids his aged even started training. I was *ecstatic* to have him out of
diapers, even if that meant taking a little more time and washing a few more loads of laundry. Other moms prefer to wait until their child is ready to train in 2-3 days, and that would have been amazing! Our gradual approach may not fit if that is the case. However, many of these tips are applicable no matter what method you choose. One book I highly recommend is Pottywise , which covers three different timelines/methods. Toddlerwise also has a short chapter in the back which briefly reviews each method.
The last thing I will say for our gradual method is that it worked well as a working mom. I did not have time to spend even 2-3 days, let alone a week, at home to work on potty training. I also feel that the gradual method helped my son complete his potty training quicker, in the end. Between 2.5-3 years old, he was completely trained…day, night, naps, pee, and poop. If only we will be so lucky the second time around!
- Wait for the usual signs of readiness (dry after nap/in the am, asking to go potty, using a word/sign for potty, visual cues prior to needing to go, etc)
- Involve your husband, especially if you are training a boy. My husband actually stayed at home for 2 days to do bare bottom with our son and deserves credit for a lot of the training.
- Involve your childcare provider. Daycare caregivers usually have a lot of experience with potty training and can either give tips or take responsibility for a large majority of the training. If you are using a certain method, I would make sure they also read about it.
- Use incentives. I was very against this at first, but my son responded extremely well to a tangible reason to use the potty. Wet underwear was not enough of a reason for him to stop playing. We ended up using pennies in a jar each time he was clean and dry when he used the potty, and after he earned all of the pennies, he received a larger prize.
- Involve your child in the cleaning up process when they do have accidents, but remove all emotion. Sometimes I would drag it out so that he understood how inconvenient it was for him to have to give up playtime after an accident vs. taking just a minute to go potty and go right back to playing.
- We only disciplined if we were absolutely positive that he lied about needing to go to the potty. Other than that, we never disciplined for accidents, ever.
- We did not depend on him to tell us he had to go potty for a very long time after he started training. I think this is a source of frustration for a lot of parents during the initial training. The child shows all the signs of readiness but does not fully desire to stop playing even if they know they have to go. He had no choice but to sit on the potty every 45-60 min, and again 15 min later if he did not go.
- We went cold turkey when we transitioned from diapers. The only time I put him back in a diaper was initially during naps and nights. Even on long trips we would stop, sometimes 3 times in 20 mins, or teach him about bladder control. This was also during the time that we switched to cloth diapers, and I cannot say enough good things about cloth trainers. We did not use disposable pullups unless travelling and unable to wash diapers, but I feel that they are still too absorbent to teach them to feel wetness.
- We usually sent two changes of clothes on preschool/mothers morning out days because he occasionally regressed there…almost certainly when he was outside playing hard. Even if you do not cloth diaper, a wet bag is an excellent item to send with their change of clothes to put wet/soiled clothes in without wasting grocery bags.