Before my daughter even turned 2, she started showing interest in going potty on the toilet. As annoying as diapers can be, they somehow seemed easier than a potty-trained toddler needing to visit the public restroom constantly and not making it long on car trips. So I delayed it for a few months, knowing it was time to start, waiting for me to be ready more than her. In early January, we decided that the cold weather was a perfect time to stay inside for a week and go for it. Success! Our girl was daytime potty-trained before her 2nd birthday.
I had no idea there was so much to learn about potty training. So many ways to do it and opinions. If you are nearing this stage with your little on, here are a few recommendations:
FIRST- read the book Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right. It’s a super quick read, and funny, and filled with practical tips. The author takes a long weekend inside & naked approach for teaching them initially, and then moving to no-undies for a stage until they get it. I appreciated that it taught about the signs your toddler will show, skills I have continued to use since.
She does not use a reward system, but rather simple praise and normalization of using the toilet to make them feel like a proud, big kid. This worked really great for us. However, several months into being potty trained, my husband and I went on our first vacation away from our daughter and she completely regressed when we got back. She stopped going on the potty AT ALL. It was so frustrating and it wasn’t until we started using jelly beans or M&Ms as a reward that she started using the toilet again. Eventually, she forgot about the reward and it became normal again, and has been since. We occasionally still use the treats to convince her to go before a long car trip.
We prepared our daughter & kept her interested in the potty-training idea a couple ways:
- We started reading the lift-the-flap book A Potty for Me! to her. She loved it and wanted to read it daily / multiple times each day / on the potty.
- Watched the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes about going potty & sung the songs from the show constantly:
- Season 1, Episode 11 is free to watch on Prime. The song goes: “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way!”
- Season 3, Episode 23. The song goes: “Do you have to go potty? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Why don’t you sit and try to go.”
- Download the Daniel Tiger Parents app to your phone- you can play the songs there and watch related clips from the show.
And finally, a few must-haves to get:
- For the very early days of potty training when you may have zero seconds to make to the toilet, it helps to have this portable potty in the room with you. $5 well spent!
- We liked this removable toilet seat for $8. We also ended up installing this toilet seat in our downstairs bathroom with a toddler seat built in- it looks much nicer and is super easy to install and to clean.
- A couple of step stools
- Wet/Dry Bag – I had these from cloth diapering, but they really come in handy when potty training for the diaper bag. Keep an extra set of clothes in there for accidents and then you can just put the soiled clothes in there to bring home and pop directly into the washer. These are also great for the wet swimsuits coming home from the pool!
- Flushable Wipes – no one told me these are ESSENTIAL. I ended up getting these delivered via Prime Now the second day we were stuck at home potty training. They live by all our potties and in my purse now for on-the-go.
- Make some foaming hand soap to make washing hands fun!
- Coffee & wine. You’ll need it for that first weekend 🙂 You can do it, mama!