Are you currently potty training your child? If so, good luck! Grab yourself a tissue, a big cup of coffee, and a strong dose of patience. Potty training is not for the faint of heart and if your child is not ready you could be entering one of the hardest stages of parenting.. When Calvin was 20 months I decided to start potty training him using the Potty Train in 3 Days book. He was showing me all the signs he was ready so I geared myself up for a long and hard weekend and it was....awful. Even though he seemed ready he wasn't and it did not click for him to go on the potty when he felt the urge. Many tears and loads of laundry later, we decided to wait longer to potty train him.
Fast forward to Calvin being 26 months (sorry to anyone who I told otherwise, I just looked it up on my notes section of my phone and saw he learned right at 2) and he potty trained almost instantaneously. He had been hiding in corners to go #2 in his diaper and kept asking about the potty. We bought him the Froggy Potty (see below) and placed it in the kitchen so it was easy for him to see where he needed to go as soon as the urge was there. Whenever he went on the potty we gave him an M&M (or 5 :p), did a dance, sang, you name it and we did it. Within a few hours he had it down.
From there on he rarely ever had an accident. At night time even though he woke up dry I put him in a cloth diaper so that I could avoid any possible accidents and having to change the sheets. Before we would go anywhere out of the house I made him try to go and also would make sure he would try to go before getting back in the car (washing a car seat is a huge pain).
The hardest part of Calvin's potty training experience was having him go from the floor potty to the toilet. Calvin was scared he was going to fall in despite having a kids seat cover on top. I thankfully got advice from a friend to get a squatty potty and that helped with him reaching the toilet and then after learning to properly sit on the seat we were free from cleaning #2's out of the floor potty. Of course months later I learned that it is super helpful to insert a coffee liner inside the floor potty when they have to go #2 to help with the clean up. I guess that's what #2 (kid, that is) Max is for...
As much as we would like to take credit for Calvin's potty training success, we can't. He was just ready. Below are some quick takeaways from our experience with C. We definitely have our fingers crossed that it goes as smoothly for Max.
- Put the potty in a visible area
- Know the signs for when they are ready (curious when you go to the bathroom, hiding when they have to go #2, asking questions, etc.)
- Buy a floor potty so that you can later put it in your car for emergencies
- Buy underwear with them at the store to make the experience exciting (buy a lot).
- Find a reward that works for your child and that is special. We did M&M's and dancing.
- Buy a squatty potty and a child insert for your toilet
- Have patience. Potty training is like teaching any child a new skill, each child learns differently.
- Make sure you and your spouse are both on board and are consistent in how you handle going #1 and #2
- Start little boys off sitting down to pee. Potty training is already messy and at such a young age it can be scary for them to stand and pee into a big toilet.
- Cut off liquids 30 minutes before bedtime and then just offer a few sips right before bed.
Potty training can be a lot of work. If your child isn't doing anything according to the books or at their own speed don't be discouraged. Like so many things in parenting this takes time and patience.