Tips for potty training toddlers

Don’t you feel like doing a happy dance when your youngest child is potty trained?  Potty training is one of the most agonizing yet rewarding (and sometimes humbling!) experience as a mom.  This is my small compilation of what I have learned over the years in potty training my three children.

1)  Choose a time when you are at your best.  Many books and websites advise you not to potty train a child at the time he or she is going through a transition such as seeing an older sibling go off to school or a baby entering the house.  You also have to pick a time when you are not going through one either.  If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder and winters are harder for you, your level of patience might be lower.  If you are going through a job change, you are struggling in your marriage, or in a financial crisis–you might want to wait and focus on the current struggle.  Your level of tolerance and patience is the catalyst that will make potty training an unpleasant or doable experience.

2)  Measure success by staying dry.  I noticed my kids were “getting it” not by how often they were going in the potty, but the length of time they were staying dry.  With my last two children, I did not even use pull ups.  I put them straight in underwear.  When they were only having one or two accidents a day, I knew they were catching on.  I did not use this method with my oldest.  Which brings me to my next point…

3)  There ares so many methods to potty training.  Ask around, read websites, and figure out what motivates your child.   If one method does not work, try something else.  Or take a couple of weeks off and try the same method again.  All three of my children were potty trained in somewhat different ways in differing amounts of time and at different ages.

4)  Pick a week when you have extra help around. I intentionally potty trained my third child when my husband was on a “staycation.”  I could focus on her while he could spend time with the other kids.  Because we had been gone for over two weeks, neither one of us had a tremendous need to leave the house.  I think potty train works the best if you can book a couple of days to stay at home as much as possible.  Which is very difficult for us extroverted moms, but we can do it!

5)  Be patient!  I think this is the best piece of advice when it comes to potty training.  We are used to being in control as moms.  We cannot control our children going potty.  We can only motivate and encourage them.


4 thoughts on “Tips for potty training toddlers

  1. My hubby and I will be embarking on our last potty training adventure in a few months. Our youngest of three kiddos is slowly starting to show signs of being ready to potty train. Patience is the key, I agree. When it comes to training we stay home for one week (can’t avoid all outings so for carpooling I have a potty in our car) and use only underwear, no more diapers, no pull-up (I think they complicate the process for a child), and clean up many “accidents” but by the end of the week they are trained. You offered exceptional advice, great post!

    • Thanks! I like the potty in the back of the van idea. I know a few people who did this as well. Especially because not all the parks in our city have bathrooms in them. There’s something a little complicated about having a potty trainer go pee in the woods. 🙂

  2. Congratulations! I would say Lainey isn’t completely there, but well on her way. It will be so nice to wave goodbye to diapers forever!

    • Kara’s big milestone the last few days has been getting over her fear of public toilets. Now we’re working on #2 and then staying dry during naps. She just loves the freedom of being diaper free.

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