Photo credit: Morgan Coggins
Potty training is a magical time of Pull-Ups, “big kid undies,” and the sweetest, miniature potties. It’s a time when stories about pooping or peeing transform a toddler’s mind so they fully understand why they must always use their potty. It’s a time of creative sticker charts and positive reinforcement that do the trick every single time. It’s a time of smiles and giggles and big hugs when they wake up with a dry diaper.
To put it realistically: potty training is hard as heck. It’s just as tricky as any other aspect of motherhood. In a way, it’s similar to how it feels when you’re weaning yourself away from breastfeeding or the breast pump: it’s a little painful, it’s a little sad, it’s a little messy, but it means everyone is growing and moving forward. It means a new transition is in the works and a new adventure is starting. However, it isn’t all that easy getting to the next step.
Every child is different and not every concept or trick will work for everyone. That cliché couldn’t be more correct. However, when you have access to a bunch of these unique tricks and ideas, an unexpected one may click for your little one in a way you didn’t see coming. On top of that, hearing success stories, and stories that make you laugh, from other moms can help you feel a little more normal in the wild world of potty training.
“We Wanted to Familiarize Them With the Idea of Using the Potty.”
Photo credit: Jennifer Aline Graham
We used these little potties as the girls’ Easter Baskets this year. Though they aren’t even two-years-old yet, we wanted to familiarize them with the idea of using the potty and to start incorporating the vocabulary into their worlds.
Only recently have they shown an interest and we started including their potties into the routine. Every night before they go to sleep (and before they take baths), they sit on their potties, brush their teeth, and we read Potty by Leslie Patricelli over and over and over again. They have even started to memorize that dang story – the author knew what she was doing. Since we started making this routine, we’ve noticed the girls asking to use them or touching their diapers and saying, “poop” before running to the bathroom. Though they haven’t yet successfully gone in their potties, they are slowly getting the overall gist.
- Slowly incorporate the potty into routine.
- Find a creative story or song to make the “activity” enjoyable.
- Don’t pressure them if they do not want to try.
“We All Were Screaming and Cheering and Couldn’t Believe it.”
Photo credit: Katie O’Brien Steffenhagen
“My six-year-old son, Max, has been dying to ‘teach Carly to go on the potty.’ She just turned two so we haven’t really pushed the issue. Last week after a late-night, Redwings baseball game, we came home at 10 PM. This is way later than our usual bedtime and the kids were hyped on ice cream and cotton candy. Max asks again to potty-train Carly and before I know it my husband has brought the mini potty up from the basement. At 10 PM.
“So, we are all sitting there around the bathroom. Max is sitting on the regular toilet trying to show her and Carly is on the little potty - and all of a sudden we hear music! (The potty plays music when you go in it). Carly peed AND pooped on the potty her first try ever! We all were screaming and cheering and couldn’t believe it. We have put her on every day since but no such luck. She only went that one time. Maybe we need to try again after 10 PM.” – Katie O’Brien Steffenhagen, mom of two
- The most unexpected circumstances could be the most rewarding.
- Let the older sibling help if there is interest.
- If you have to change up your routine, adjustment is okay.
“If They Pee on the Floor, Don’t Make a Big Deal About It.”
Photo credit: Morgan Coggins
“Jasper originally put Spiderman on the big potty, but then he said he was done. Now it was Jasper’s turn, but that he wanted to use the little potty and watch TV. This kid is also notorious for wanting to keep eating while on the toilet.” – Morgan Coggins, mom of one
- “Make a fun potty chart with stickers. We didn’t do rewards with it, the sticker itself was the reward.”
- “Bring a little potty with a diaper inside it for long trips.”
- “If they pee on the floor, don’t make a big deal about it or it will scare them.”
“If She Goes Pee-Pee in Her Panties, Elmo Would Be Very Sad.”
Photo credit: Melani Swartz
“We let Eliza pick out her very first set of big girl panties and told her that if she goes pee-pee in her panties that Elmo would be very sad. We were eating dinner that night and all of a sudden she looks at me and says, ‘Elmo sad’ and I knew exactly what happened.” – Melani Swartz, mom of one
- Let your little one be involved with picking out “big kid” underwear – make it about them.
- Involve their favorite characters or cartoons.
- Don’t discourage – always support.
“I Let Her Run Around Butt Naked Most of the Time.”
Photo credit: Cherie Bealer
“I let her run around butt naked most the time and I definitely try not to scold her for having accidents. I made wearing big girl undies a HUGE, exciting thing and kind of did a little jig when I pulled them out and talked about how we don’t pee in the big girl undies. I told her how that's her own potty and I brought her with me every time I went to the bathroom.
“I made it as fun as I could, and I gave her a sticker every time she peed and pooped (see poster behind her) and she is obsessed with the Disney princesses, so it worked great. The crayon was from when she saw me making the poster, so she started trying to mimic me. Daycare did help a lot, since she regressed when we moved and when her baby brother was born, but she still very much gets super excited when I pull out her big girl undies to wear.” Cherie Bealer, mom of two
- “Definitely try not to scold” when your little one has an accident.
- “I made wearing big girl undies a HUGE deal.”
- When Mom is excited, it makes the kiddo just as excited; let that excitement move forward during every step of the potty-training transition.
Jennifer Aline is a coffee addict, mama of twins, and a passionate freelance writer and author. She writes for Moms.com on a regular basis and has had articles in publications such as the NY Daily News, NY Post, and In Good Health Newspaper. Aline received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies from Keuka College and worked in the Human Services field before her two little girls entered her life. Aline now focuses primarily on writing, teaching aerial arts classes in the evenings, and caring for her twin daughters – all while continuously chugging coffee, of course.
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