Potty Training 101



 

Become a #1 (and #2) master

Potty training: it is a necessary—but exhausting—experience all parents must eventually face. How to navigate it? One of our mom contributors shares her experience…

Potty training generally starts at around 18 months to two years old, and can carry on until the child is three (especially with boys, who I’ve been told start later). With some coaxing and gentle encouragement—and a stroke of good luck—my 22-month-old son is now fully potty trained. Here’s how we did it.

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Be prepared. We brought the potty into our home ASAP and it’s still in our living room because it’s the most accessible there. We bought flushable wet wipes, which make clean-ups much easier. Regular diaper wipes are not flushable and, trust me: you do not want to throw those used guys out with your regular garbage. And I knew there would be some accidents (some horrible and horrific oopsies, at that!), so it wasn’t so traumatizing when it happened.

Just do it. I wavered about letting my son walk around diaper-less and tried the training diapers, but those seemed to be more of a crutch. So one Monday, from the moment he woke up and I took off that sagging night-time diaper, we were diaper-less. And we remained so, for outings and even naptime, ever since.

Reminders. That first week or two of potty training, you may be a bit of a prisoner in your own home. You’ll want to stay close to that potty and establish some routine with it. And you’ll need to constantly (and I mean annoyingly so) ask your child if they need to go. They can get sidetracked and distracted, and that’s when accidents happen. We started by asking almost every half-hour to an hour. Then I’d ask him if he had to go every time I went. Now he just tells us on his own.

Encouragement. Bribery, whatever you need, use it! At least in the beginning (don’t worry: your child won’t be 16 and require M&Ms every time he or she uses the toilet). My son is a praise-hound, so we would clap and shout “hooray” and dance a happy dance every time even a dribble hit the potty.

Make it fun. We went and picked out new big boy underwear together. Sometimes he sits and reads a book while doing business. In fact, we have books about using the potty. It’s been a major topic in our household for months now and I think that’s helped my son along in the process.

Potty training can seem like a daunting task for you and your toddler, but once you do it, you’ll be home free. (And have a lot more diaper money in your bank account!)

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