I get asked all the time how I potty trained my children so early! Because we are in a different church every week, lots of new people meet my children in the nursery and are shocked when I fill out “potty trained,” on the sign in sheet. It also happens in public restrooms, I come out of a stall and onlookers are not afraid to ask me if he really did just fill the potty. Many may have read my journey to training my two, but here are some quick UNCOMMON tips to potty training. I cringe almost every time I read potty training pins on Pinterest. I feel like parents have over complicated the issue, so here are ways to keep it simple :)
1. Buy character underwear! Even one year olds can have love for characters and “don’t pee pee on the princess/Nemo,” goes a LONG way.
2. Take your child to the potty before offering drinks or before meals. Somehow eating/drinking causes an immediate need, if you wait until after dinner, you may discover a wet high chair :)
3. Go potty before every bath. Even before potty training, sitting your child on the potty child the tub water fills is great training and the sound can make things happen.
4. DON’T make potty time fun. Make it rewarding, and not oppressive, but unless you have all day for false calls when your child wants fun, attention and/or control, keep it business related. This keeps more time open for bonding and playing.
5. Don’t even read potty training articles funded by those who profit from diaper sales. This includes Disney, Pampers, etc.
6. Keep it positive but simple, straightforward and low key. Children are easily stressed, so don’t make a big deal out of it. This is just a new stage of life, it is a wonderful change but lets keep going on with life :)
7. Don’t even talk about potty training readiness. Your child hears everything you say and knows how to get out of things! Children know what is and is not expected from them. When you are in the midst of training, never talk about it to other people when you child can hear, this GREATLY influences their behavior and attitude toward the subject.
8. Don’t wait until they hit terrible twos. This comes at all different ages, 19 months for my daughter and not yet for my 20 month old. At that point in life they are learning their place in the world and want to see how much power they have; potty training should not be a power struggle. I like early training myself, but even I would suggest waiting until after that stage to train if you are already there!
9. Feel free to skip the child potty seat completely. Young children can sit facing the back of the seat to keep from falling in (or just get a toilet seat insert), and it is much more sanitary and easier on Mom and Dad.
10. Put little boys facing the pot backward anyway. It is more work since you have to completely take off the pants, but they like to pee on their clothes or on you when facing forward :)
11. Once you start, don’t go back! It can take time, but the average 2 year old takes 6 months to train and I believe it may be related to stop and go methods taught by commercially funded parenting advice.
12. Be confident! Believe your child is capable, because he/she is! Kids read clues you don’t even know you are giving. They often derive their confidence from you, so start by believing and don’t let their actions on the matter dictate your feelings and or belief. You just need to find the way to their heart :)
13. Don’t be insulted by parent training comments. Any child who goes exclusively on the potty is potty trained. Yes there can be different stages of independence on the matter, but the freedom you get from no dirty diapers is worth whatever comments you may receive.
14. Never insult your child for being a “baby,” because they had an accident. Deflating a child’s ego is not the way to progress and will damage your relationship.
15. Make simple statements to accidents with a normal tone of voice (not the I’m trying not to be angry, or I’m trying to be sweet voice). “Pee pee goes in the potty.” “Underwear is not for pooping in.” Your child is intelligent enough to figure out what to do with this information :)
16. Do not use pull ups during the day! My one year old daughter called them diapers, if she knew better, so does every other child. If you use them at bedtime, never, ever ever pull open the sides or lay your child down to clean your child. These actions are inherently connected to diaper changes in every child’s mind. If you want your child to act differently then things must be done differently.
17. Enjoy this time learning more about your growing toddler. You only get to do this once and keep a positive attitude regardless of the difficulty and you will enjoy it more than most parents. While other mothers want to complain about stubborn children, you can praise your child and keep an attitude that glorifies the Lord.
18. Don’t take accidents personally. Not even in public. My son has had two accidents in restaurants, both times I was out with friends :(. It is not a big deal, and not any more difficult than changing a diaper. Even children who are potty trained at later ages have accidents in public, might as well have them happen at a younger age and by the time they are 2.5 you won’t even remember what accidents were like :).
19. Don’t be afraid of using a timer to remind yourself to take your child! I potty trained my one year old son while I was in my first trimester of pregnancy, so no timer was necessary! I went more often than him :)
20. Use simple phrases, and use the same ones every time. This is not a complicated matter, no need to use too many words and possible intimidate. Simple and straightforward.