“Potty training“ Just hearing those 2 little words is enough to send some moms running for the hills. The thought of the accidents, which lead to messes, which lead to tears, from you and your toddler, can be enough for you to want to push potty training onto the back burner – for a long time.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like that.
My oldest two boys were both completely out of diapers, day and night, by the time they had turned 2 years old. When we had such great success with our oldest, we figured we had just gotten lucky. But when our second child followed suit and dropped his diapers like a bad habit by the time he turned 2 as well, we knew we must have done something right!
There is all kinds of advice in books, forums and blogs on how to be successful when potty training your child, but this is my tried and true method that I will share with you! While every child is different, and learns things in their own way, these techniques worked great with my children, and I’m sure they will help you start potty training off on the right foot too!
Here are my techniques on how to be fully potty trained by age 2
Make sure you are set up for success
When you are potty training your little one, potty seats are your best friend. Strategically place a few throughout the house in places you spend a lot of time, like the bathroom, living room and kitchen (sounds gross, I know, but trust me!). Keep one in the trunk of your car for pit stops on the go too!
Children are curious by nature, so when your child sees the potty seats sitting around in their environment, they will be more likely to walk up to them on their own and try to use them. This will help ease any fear they may have of using a potty, and will help them to initiate using the toilet on their own.
Whoever invented ↓these potty training seats↓ that are integrated into a regular toilet seat is a genius! They attach to your toilet and have the little-buns-sized seat built right in, which can be fully removed when your children are bigger! We installed these on each of the toilets that our children use, and highly recommend them!
Little ↓seats like these↓ are great for placing around the house, and in the trunk of your car. They are portable, approachable and easy to clean.
Another awesome product, ↓these↓ are great for keeping the car seat or stroller dry when the inevitable accident happens. I didn’t know about these with my first and could have definitely put one or two to good use!
Start early, and take it slow
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen posts that promise your toddler will be potty trained in 2 days, so why would you want to drag it out longer?? The techniques that people use to have their child potty trained in one weekend work for some toddlers, but they generally only work when they are already “older”, like 2, 3 or even 4 years old.
Rather than waiting until your child is older to start potty training, try doing the opposite! All the time, I hear moms saying, “oh, we haven’t started potty training yet because he’s not ready”. While it’s true that your child needs to be willing to participate, it is so beneficial to start working on it together sooner than later. Starting earlier might take a little longer, but it also means you will be done that much sooner!
If you’re anything like me, the thought of having your kid in diapers until they are 3 or 4 years old does not sound fun. So don’t wait! As soon as your child can walk and show signs of being “regular”, watch for their signs and act on them. For us, both of our boys were pooping in the toilet nearly every day by 13 and 14 months old!
The easiest thing to start with is poop, because its easier to know when your toddler is pooping than it is to know when they are peeing. Most toddlers will develop a routine, where they will “go” around the same time of the day, walk to the same corner of the room, and/or make the same face, as they do their business.
Instead of just watching them go and cleaning it up after, stop them before they start!
When your child looks like it is about that time, quickly walk them over to the restroom or a nearby potty chair and have them sit down and try to go in the toilet. They may not be a fan at first, but with practice, they will get the hang of it, and it will be a lot faster than you probably think!
Some people say this is just training the parents, and not the kid, but I disagree. Potty training is a learning process, and the more practice they get the better. Even at 13 and 14 months old, it was only a couple of weeks of scooping them up and putting them on the potty when they showed signs of having to go, before they started to “tell” us when they had to go, by grabbing my hand, making a grunting sound and turning to walk towards the bathroom!
Consider cloth diapers
If you’re reading this potty training blog post, chances are it is too late this time, but if you are trying to conceive, pregnant or have a younger baby in diapers, I highly recommend using cloth! All 3 of my boys have been/ are cloth diapered, and it really does make a difference when it comes time for potty training. Cloth diapers are pretty awesome for a ton of other reasons, but that is another post altogether!
How do cloth diapers tie into potty training? Unlike disposable diapers which use chemicals like sodium polyacrylate and dioxins for absorption, cloth diapers rely only on absorbent cloth fabric, be it cotton, bamboo or microfiber, to absorb wetness. Cloth diapers do a really great job of absorbing urine, but the fabric remains more damp to the touch against the baby’s skin than a disposable diaper does, which helps a toddler who is learning to potty train to be more aware of when they are wet.
Skip the training pants and go naked
Notice when I was giving suggestions on potty training garb to get you up and running that I didn’t mention disposable training pants? I hate training pants. Well, I guess I can’t really say that because we never used them, but I hate the idea of them. They are pretty much a marketing ploy that diaper companies have developed to get you to keep handing over your money to them. Disposable training pants have the same absorbent materials that diapers do, they just look more like underwear. Kind of.
When your child wears training pants they aren’t able to learn what really happens when they have an accident and get wet. It slows the process of potty training down, basically to make it more convenient to clean up. Plus they are expensive!
What really works? Let your toddler be naked! When they are able to walk around the house naked, they can initiate going to the bathroom on their potty seat all on their own, on one of the strategically placed potty chairs we talked about from earlier. This is where learning to pee on the the potty seat or toilet comes in. When your child sees your positive reaction to them using the potty seat all on their own (be sure to make a big to-do about it!) they will be so proud of themselves, and motivated to do it again the next time they have to go. Some people suggest little treats like M&Ms or stickers, but for us, a big dance and cheer was all we ever needed to reward the boys with for a job well done on the potty.
Not only does letting your toddler have some naked booty time help speed up potty training, but who doesn’t love seeing that adorable little baby butt?!
Limit fluid intake in the evening
This one is key for potty training at night. If you give your toddler a bunch of water or milk before bed, they are going to have to pee at night. It’s that simple. I’m putting my nurse hat on here and telling you, I promise your toddler will not get dehydrated if you don’t fill their 10 ounce sippy cup all the way up with milk at dinner time. Give them plenty of fluids throughout the day, but when it gets later in the evening, only give them what they need to wash their food down.
Depending on the child, you may want to wake them once or twice during the night to go potty while they are getting the hang of bedtime potty training. We did this with my oldest son and it worked well for him, but my middle son would have a hard time going back to sleep, so we abandoned the nighttime wake ups, and did just fine without them.
Keep not one but two waterproof sheets on their bed for when accidents happen. If you layer one waterproof sheet, then a regular bed sheet, followed by another waterproof sheet, and a regular bed sheet on top, it is a lot easier to peel off the first two layers and have dry sheets underneath all ready to go back to sleep, when they have an accident in the middle of the night.
The most important thing to do is be patient. Remember that every child is different, and will learn at their own pace. Don’t get frustrated
if when your child has accidents, or if they seem to be slow to pick up potty training. Learn with your child and make changes as you go along. Keep at it, and I promise it will happen!
Do you have any tips that helped with potty training? Share with us in the comments!