I’ve been thinking about how to approach potty training with my two year old for months. It’s funny, motherhood relies a lot on intuition but potty training was leaving me stumped. I mean how do you teach a small child how to just stop using a diaper and start using a potty (or toilet)?
Today I am discussing how I prepared to potty train, next week I will break down my step-by-step about how I had my daughter from diapers to full-time underwear (including overnight) in less than a week.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
I knew one thing for sure, regardless of how I was going to approach it, I wasn’t going to initiate anything until I was ready. Most things I read focused on the readiness of the child but in my mind I was mentally preparing myself for what could be a struggle and mommy needed to be prepared more than child. If mom (and/or dad) isn’t on board do not attempt anything until you are. Once you start potty training do not stop, so if there will be foreseeable interruptions (vacations, large life changes), wait. Children are much more flexible than we give them credit for sometimes.
Get the Right Supplies
- I chose to use a toilet seat insert over that traditional child potty since I felt like it was saving a step with the lack of transition needed between potty and regular, large toilet. My niece was taught on a child potty and is still terrified of toilets, especially in public, so I was going to do what I could to avoid this. I bought the seat months before I started so she could see it and become familiar with what it was though I don’t think this is a necessary step. Use whatever is easiest for you and your family.
- I bought new underwear for her to see and get acquainted with, they were her ‘’big girl undies’’. Though I didn’t have her present when I bought them, I can see how some children would be excited to be involved with this step and may be beneficial, use your own judgement.
- Buy a travel potty seat insert if you plan on going in public! Their bladders are small and when they need to go they need to go! Some public toilets are larger than residential and falling into the toilet even once will be enough for you and them I’m sure. The travel seats I’ve seen fold up to the size of a change pad and are pretty cheap (less than $15.00).
- Rewards, if using, need to be on hand. Again this is child dependant. Before I started I knew if it came down to it my child would do just about anything for a Smartie or M&M so I had a few on hand, if I needed. I chose to not start with much reward in the beginning and see how it worked out. As I suspected my daughter was excited to just have me clap and be proud of her, she didn’t need a chocolate treat or sticker but again, have whatever you think you child will need for encouragement, on hand.
- An audible timer. This could also likely be an app on a smartphone but something that makes a noise loud enough for you and child to hear.
Because I was prepared mentally for the worst, you can imagine my elation for how easy the process actually was for us. Though I mentioned mom (and dad) being mentally prepared it goes without saying to check for readiness with your child as well. There is no ‘’perfect’’ age to potty train. Every child is unique and for some being potty trained at 18 months is do-able where others are past their third birthday. You know your child better than anyone or any expert, unless there is a time sensitive issue (passing fourth birthday and needs to be out of diapers for pre-school), don’t rush the process!