It may sound crazy but I have no regrets. I potty trained our 22-month-old in one weekend, with zero accidents by day three. Now, I am not a heath care professional nor am I an “expert” on this topic. I’m just a mom that wanted potty training to end before it even started. The most common piece of advice I got before starting this adventure was, “make sure your child ready”. I do agree this is important but don’t believe it is the end-all, be-all. I think an even larger factor is making sure the parents are ready! The beginning can be brutal and if you aren’t able to give it 100% at that time, it will only leave you both frustrated! That brings us to another large factor, lifestyle. I am a stay at home mom during the week, so being able to hunker down and stay in for 3 days while going through the initial, intense “boot camp” so to speak, was probably easier for me than parents that work outside of the home. There’s no right or wrong, or even a right or wrong time to start, but keeping these factors in mind will ultimately help make the process go much smoother. Here is what worked for us:
We have been putting our daughter on a toddler potty
on and off since she was about fifteen months old. We would explain to her when we were using the potty and she would be curious by nature. Sometimes she would go, sometimes she wouldn’t. It just got her used to it. I am so glad we did this because she hated sitting on that thing the first couple times. I don’t know what it was but she would cry and cry! I kept doing it though and she got used to it over time.
Why We Did It
The main thing that prompted me to nip this thing in the bud was the diaper changing battles. And I mean battles! She never minded her diaper being changed before but something shifted a few months ago and it had been awful ever since. Kicking, screaming, it was the worst! I thought it was a phase she would grow out of but she didn’t and I was done. So done!
When We Did It
Like I said, I had just about had it with the diaper changing battles so I was ready to get it over with ASAP! However, we had a vacation coming up within a few weeks so I decided to wait until after we got back. A three and a half hour car ride there and back plus long days on the beach with no close by bathrooms was just something I did not want to deal with. I waited until we got home and started the following day.
So. Much. Pee.
The first thing I will say about this “boot camp” approach is that it is not easy, but it is simple and it does work! For all of Day 1 and Day 2, my child ran around our house naked, with no diaper other than during nap and bedtime. Two words: Pee. Everywhere. I will be completely honest, she peed all over my floors the first two days. We have two toddler potties at our house and during those first couple days, they posted right in the middle of all the action and in front of the TV. The TV, along with toys and books acted as distractions during potty time. This is the most tedious part, but most important part–put your child on the potty for five minutes, every twenty minutes. Even doing this, she was still peeing on the floor some, but it continued to get better, a little bit at a time.
I will be completely honest, by the end of the second day, I had almost given up. She was getting better at going on the potty but was still having accidents and/or not making it to the potty in time. I just wasn’t sure such an aggressive and even at times frustrating approach was worth it. I would think to myself, maybe she isn’t ready? Maybe she is too young? The morning of Day 3 came and something just clicked! I got her up and put her on the potty in the bathroom while I was doing my makeup and was ecstatic that she peed almost right away. For the first two hours of that day, I continued to put her on the potty about every twenty minutes and she went almost every single time. Then, I started spacing it out a little more throughout the day- thirty minutes, forty-five minutes, etc. By the end of Day 3, she had successful used the potty all day with zero accidents! She even woke up from her three hour nap completely dry. I mention this shift in particular as a way of saying don’t give up! I was so close to throwing in the towel and now so thankful I didn’t! She still wears a diaper or pull-up during nap and bed time. Holding it throughout the night is something that comes later, around age three or so.
Every time she went pee on the potty she got one M&M and one sticker of her choice that she got to pick out and two of each for poop. By Day 2, I started adding “undies” to our reward system. I had bought her a pack of underwear before we had left for vacation and started showing them to her and telling her they were for when she could pee and poop on the potty and not in her diaper. She was so excited! What made the underwear so exciting? They were Trolls Underwear,
haha! She is obsessed with Poppy and still gets excited to put on her “Poppy undies” every day! I would say this helped a lot! Pick out some underwear they will love and will be even more excited to wear. I starting putting the undies on her even knowing she would most likely pee in them because she realized fairly quickly she did not like them being wet and that going on the potty keeps them dry.
We are about five weeks in now and I could not be prouder! She wakes up from most naps (about three hours) completely dry. Has she had any accidents? Of course! She had a couple at home and one while we were out within those first two weeks but that is it! We are sure to never punish or scold her when this happens. She simply does not get her reward. We tell her to let us know as soon as she has to go next time so she can go on the potty and get her rewards. Over all, she has done amazing and not changing diapers all day has been a game changer in our household!
-Try to keep them as happy on the potty as possible! The last thing I wanted was for her to start resenting the toilet. We set up baskets of books and small toys next to each potty to help keep her entertained.
-Daniel Tiger’s “Prince Wednesday Goes To The Potty” episode was a lifesaver! I have it recorded on my DVR and showed it to her before going on vacation and it got her very excited! We played that thing on repeat while on the potty the first day!
are a great alternative to pull-ups! I really did not want to take the pull-up route, at least for day time. Anyone who knows me, knows I am the frugal queen and I refuse to add something else to my weekly shopping list that we would go through so quickly, just like diapers. I also thought the idea of pull-ups could be confusing for her and slow down her potty training success. These training underwear are like normal clothe undies but they have a thick, padded crotch area to help catch accidents!
-Worried about an accident in the car? I keep a pack of Dog Training Pads
in my car and put one on her carseat to avoid messing up the seat. She has yet to have an accident in the car but it’s nice peace of mind and one less thing to stress about.
-Our Travel Potty
has been a life (and undies) saver! This has honestly been the most helpful product during this entre process! It folds up super compact and trash bags go right over it for easy disposal! Most days we are out and about, I have two toddlers in tow. Running to the bathroom in the middle of a shopping trip with a cart full of stuff and two littles, running around a public restroom is not always ideal! I keep the travel potty in my trunk and put her on it right before we go into the store and as soon as we get back out to the car. Total game changer! It has also been great for so many outdoor activities this time of year! With outdoor family reunions and cook-outs, having that thing right in my trunk has been a breeze and has helped us avoid porty-potties!
-Lastly and most importantly, have grace for you and your little! Mommin’ aint easy and I think this was one of the toughest hurdles to jump. Don’t be discouraged if your little one takes a little longer to catch on, it will all come in time!