My husband and I are currently in the trenches of potty training (3-day method) so while all of this “yay! you peed in the potty!” stuff is still very fresh in my mind, I thought I’d share some things I learned along the way. If you are looking for a potty training “how-to,” this isn’t it. I am no expert, that’s for sure, and would never pretend to be. But if you want to hear what might make potty training a little easier for you, read on.
We read in the Potty Trained in 3 Days book that the more your child actually goes pee (ideally on the potty) the quicker they will learn. Awesome, I thought to myself – if you have a kid who enjoys drinking fluids. My daughter doesn’t. She’s more of a “I’ll just drink enough to keep myself alive and that’s it” kind of kid. Knowing drinking in general would be a major struggle for us, I bought 10 different kinds of juice and three different flavors of juice boxes. The outcome? Day 1 she was super excited for the new juices, which meant she drank more than she usually would. And peed more too obviously, win! Day 2 – she couldn’t care less about the juice or the juice boxes, which meant way less pee and super frustrated parents. Had I known then what I know now I would have also stocked up on fun new cups/water bottles for her and introduced them when the excitement of the juice wore off.
Most kids lose their minds over sweet treats and would eat their body weight in cookies if allowed. Mine, not so much. We decided to reward her with M&Ms for success on the potty – the reward is chocolate (her favorite) in small enough amounts to where I can give plenty throughout the day without being overly concerned with the sugar intake. Day 1 she was thrilled with getting M&Ms and it 100% enticed her to go on the potty. Day 2 she was totally over the chocolate which meant she was less than thrilled to hop on that potty, ahem, hello accidents. Next time I will stock up on various treats, even if it means they are larger in size than a bite size m&m to keep that excitement alive.
On Day 2, in a desperate attempt to get our daughter to pee on the potty and not the floor, my husband went out and bought this elaborate Peppa Pig playhouse. It turns out the house had a bathroom in it with a small toilet. We seized that opportunity to role play with our daughter about Peppa and her friends about using the potty. Our daughter started to mimic the excitement we had when she would use the potty when her “friends” would use the potty. This was crucial in our development into day 3. I think the more we all cheered for Peppa on the potty the more it clicked for our daughter. Do you need to go out and buy a new playhouse to achieve this? Absolutely not. But it doesn’t hurt to role play however you can with the toys you have.
Undies – 2 parts
When you go to buy underwear for your child before potty training begins, make it an experience, get them excited about underwear in general. I shopped solo but then made her “find” all of her undies at home. Once they were washed I scattered them throughout our home and told her to go find them. She had so much fun running around looking for her friends – you know, Peppa, Paw Patrol and Minnie Mouse that she decided for the next three days to carry all 25 pairs with her where ever she went.
One thing I did overlook was the size of her underwear. I’d recommend going up a size in undies so it is easier for them to pull them up/down on their own rather than wearing the size that actually fits. While it is possible for our daughter to get them up and down on her own, it would be much easier if they were a little bigger. It also helps at night when you layer the Pull-up with her undies (recommended in the book we read).
Because we have carpet in our bedrooms and playroom and I am 8 months pregnant with zero desire to even attempt to clean up accidents on the carpet, I took all of our daughter’s favorite toys and set them up in the living/kitchen area. While our home currently looks like a daycare center it has been a lifesaver when those accidents did happen. It was a simple wipe up, nothing I was breaking a sweat over.
Don’t be afraid to pivot from your original potty training plan if something isn’t working. After a failure of a day on Day 2 we re-evaluated what was and wasn’t working for our daughter. We came to the conclusion we were pushing her way too hard to drink fluids and she was growing leery of our ridiculously tall toilets. Day 3, flying solo with husband at work, I decided I would approach the day as I normally would as far as food/drinks were concerned and just let her live. I also decided to introduce the mini-potty (even though it is discouraged in the book we read). The result? Zero accidents. Not even a little piddle in her undies. Had we been afraid to steer course I’m not so sure we’d be in the position we are in now. And best of all, she now pees and poops on the big potty too.
Whether you follow the 3-day method or not you, will be housebound when you start to potty train. I thought we had enough activities and toys to keep her entertained for those 72 hours, but we definitely did not. You don’t need to spend a fortune but I would suggest stocking up on finger paints, coloring books, stickers, etc. and slowly introduce new ones throughout the day to keep her entertained.
Keep your eyes on your little’s lady parts as you go through potty training (and even post potty training). All of the wiping and or non-wiping can cause some irritation, which makes peeing even more difficult, hello burning sensation. Every few potty trips I’d make sure I would emphasize the proper way to wipe and would add a little diaper rash cream if needed.
That’s all this mama has in her bag of tricks, what helped y’all get through potty training?