Potty training is life is changing... and the diapers don't have to be changed!!!
There is a funny phenominom I have noticed in my life... I can't remember how I parented my previous children through things like Potty Training or even just "dealing" with toddlerhood woes.
I think I shut it all out. But, really I cannot for the life of me remember how I really potty trained the others. I vaguely remember Elias better because he was older and essentially potty trained himself start to finish in about a day... but that doesn't count. I know Addie was trained about a week after her 2nd birthday and it was very typical. Sadly... shamefully... I can't remember anything about training Cora. Nothing.
Before I lapse into guilt induced despondency, lets move on!
I need to potty train Thea this summer. Joy of all joys! She is 2 years and 5 months old and is showing signs of readiness... mainly telling me she has pooped and staying dry a lot during naps, at night and during the day! So... in an attempt to revive my memories of how to get this thing done, I blog about it!
What I do know about is reality. Is it possible to potty train a child/toddler in 3 days or less?
Yes and no.
Yes, you can teach them about the basics in 3 days.
No, it may not be possible to have a "fully potty trained" child after that amount of time.
There will still be "work" do to and things to deal with. But that is life.
A whole lot of their success depends upon what you do in those first 3 days... and that you continue your standards with consistancy there after. Either way, try it, and if the 3 days turns into 5, I'd still call that very successful. If it doesn't work in that amount of time, I'd call it good and take them back to diapers and try it again in a few months. There is no shame in that!
:::::: Plan of Action ::::::
1. Take away all diapers... we don't half-ass it! (I never use that word... but it seems so appropriate here.) Once we do potty training we do it all the way. Bye-bye disposables, wipes, diaper pails and stinky trash!!! Yay!!!
2. I have to put the trainee in a toddler bed... this is the part I am most scared about! She needs to get out of the crib so that she can get up at night and use the potty. To get her out of the crib I need to make sure her room is double child-proofed and that she can't get into anything I don't want her to get into. I will also put a little potty in her room on a towel and work on her "staying in bed." SOOO much more work... but then again, less work in the long run!
3. Get the supplies:
- 1 potty (we already have one), 1 for her room and 1 for the nearest bathroom.
- Lots of dresses or too big shorts for boys (you want "easy access")... we don't use pants for at least weeks with new potty trainers, but when you do make sure that they are big and can go up and down easily.
- "Waterproof" shoes ... like Crocs. Anything with fabric will trap that urine and begin to stink! Crocs are wonderful because you can rinse them and they dry fast.
- Lots of pull up style training pants and a handful of cloth diapers for night time. If you get the padded pants at W@lmart size up so they go up and down easily.
- A waterproof mattress pad.
- A piddle pad for the car seat (trust me, you want this).
- Rewards: candy, food, small toys (think party section of your local "super store").
4. Prepare Them - A week prior to starting training I start bringing the trainee toddler into the bathroom with me or same-gender siblings to watch them use the potty. When they poop in a diaper, I take them and the diaper into the bathroom and dump the poop in the potty and let them flush it down. It helps them associate the toilet with where potty and poop go. We talk about that "babies wear diapers and big kids wear underwear/panties." If your child is pre-verbal teach them the sign for "potty" (which is a fist with thumb between forefinger and second finger shaking back and forth). Start using the terms you desire to describe both functions...
Urine = potty, su-su, pee, te-te, pee-pee,
Feces = poop, ca-ca, poo, potty fish, bimbi (my cousin called it "bimbi"... that aways made me laugh).
(Pick carefully, because this word will be shouted at you repeatedly for years to come!)
We typically say "potty" and "poop"... sometimes we say "su-su" because that is the Ugandan term for "potty" and I find it kind of cute and endearing. Even through I used the word a-s-s... I really can't stand to hear a child say "pee"... but that is totally me.
5. Teach Them - On Potty Training Day remove the diapers or make a big show of putting them in a box for "other babies who need them" and then wrap up the training pants and let the trainee unwrap them. Make a big deal about how cool and amazing it is. Show them the potty(ies). Use a loved stuffed animal or doll to model how to go potty, how to wipe, how to wash hands and to get a treat. I advise NEVER letting your trainee dump their own potty in the toilet (from the small potty chair) this will not go well. Teach boys to sit down, because if they potty and end up pooping it is all right over the potty. We don't stand up until we are capable of keeping it clean... which I find for most boys is at about age 4 or 5.
6. Day 1 Goals - Help them associate the feeling of needing to go potty or poop with the need to put it into the potty chair. Drink water and juice and get it into the potty. Stay home the whole day and in access to the potty. If you go outside, bring the potty chair outside. Don't scold or disapprove if they "miss" or have an accident. Just show them (let them) clean up the mess and move on with an "Ooopsy! Potty goes in the POTTY chair!" If any day of your life you need to model Mary Poppins this is the day. Think, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..." Reward successes with a small reward (M&M, cracker, sticker, little toy). Keep their bottoms bare the whole day... don't worry about pants or undies just yet. Have them in a T-shirt and nothing else. Don't let them slip on the "pee"!!! Haha... they will... trust me. And sometimes it is the magic event that causes them to realize how gross there own bodily functions are and that that stuff needs to be contained... but still, don't let them slip.
7. Day 2-7 Goals - Continue what you started! Really, if things were going well, keep that up. Stay home, keep reinforcing that potty goes in the potty chair... encourage poop similarly. Keep walking through the steps over and over. If they seem to be making it to the potty more often than not introduce the training pants. Show them how to pull it up and down by hooking their thumbs in the waist band and pulling down. To pull up have them grab the back of the pants and pull up, if they get the back up their front naturally comes up, but the same is not true of grabbing the front. Some kids will start wetting in the pants because it feels like a diaper, discourage that and take a way the pants again with a sad face, "Bummer, undies are for big kids, big kids keep their pants dry and clean... not wet and dirty... We'll try later."
8. Day 3-10 Goals - If introducing the training pants worked keep it up. If you feel like they are ready for something more try adding some complexities. First show them how to go potty on a large standard toilet... hold them or use a seat like you'd have to at a public place. Tell them that no matter where you are they must tell you they have to go, and you'll try to get them a potty because being wet and having an accident is "yucky". Then, once they have gotten it... go out. Go to someplace you go often, tell them that you have a potty in most places you go. Go to your church or a park (with a bathroom) and show them the potty there. Practice using it.
9. Introduce Night Time Potty - Once they have gotten all of the above introduce what to do at night. You can also start this on Day 1 too, it just depends on how much time and attention you have to put into it all and if you want your nights interrupted. Put a potty in their room on a plastic pad or towel (if you have hard floors in the room like we do). Tell them this potty is only for at night or naps. Tell them not to touch it/pick it up, play in it or try to dump it. This helps them to learn to be independent and to make it a habit to get up in the night, it also eliminates the fears of going to the bathroom at night. Also, limit water after a set hour in the evenings and get them up out of bed to go potty right before you retire for the night. OR... just call "day time" training good and keep them in diapers/pull ups until you feel they are ready to stay dry at night.
10. Further Goals and Considerations -
- Always show them where the potty is in anyplace you go that they are unfamiliar with... they will honestly assume that there is NO potty, if they haven't seen it.
- Remind them to remind you if they have to go.
- Always go potty before getting in the car or leaving some place.
- Make a little pack of a change of clothes, undies (several pairs) and of shoes (because where does potty go... down).
- Consider making a "car toilet": have a small potty chair in your trunk, line the potty with a grocery bag, and a diaper cut in half. When the child potties or poops the urine is soaked up by the diaper and you can easily throw it away. Include some TP in the "kit" and keep a bag full of the pre-prepped bags/diapers during road trips and soccer season.
:::: Potty Products I Use & Recommend ::::
Training Pants - Non Waterproof (Daily wear)
Cheap Gerber Cotton Training Undies - These Rock! Get at least 3 packages of them.
Imse Vimse Trainers - These offer a bit more thickness and bulk and contain messes much more than Gerber Trainers, but they are much more expensive.
Training Pants - Partial Waterproof
Eco Posh Trainers - These semi-waterproof trainers contain a layer of water proof (PUL) material in the croch to catch accidents, but they may leak around the leg bands.
Training Pants - Fully Waterproof (good for night, naps or outings and all purpose)
Flip Trainers - Great overall training pant! They come with the shell and 3 washable inserts... in theory you could just keep some clean inserts in your purse and a baggy for wet ones! They can be good night time trainers too and allow you to double the inserts for more wet protection.
They are genius and super cute!
Don't be tempted by a chair with "bells and whistles"... it hold poop and pee! The simpler the better. Anything complex will get gross stuff trapped in places and it will be hard to clean. One continuous piece of plastic will eliminate urine getting in cracks and seams... don't be tempted by anything else!!!
Look for something like these...
Cheap and simple does it! I like to get my kids on one of these as soon as they are capable of using a stool and getting up there safely.
Who was the non-parent who thought this was "cute"? "Now lets have Johnny look through the potty seat... yep, put it right up on your head! That will be adorable!" Oh my... that is not something you want to encourage. Bad marketing!
Car Seat Pads
You will use this and be glad you did, because who has time to take a car seat cover off and wash it??? Not me.
Plus, it usually doesn't stop there... it soaks into the foam and down in the cracks... so gross!
Happy Potty Training!!!
Wish me luck!
Its my 4th time... but like I said, it isn't always any easier.