Potty training is one of the most daunting tasks of having a two (or three) year old. I remember wondering how I was ever going to get Myra to go to the bathroom! I had no idea what to do or where to look for help.
I had tried the potty when Myra was 18 months old. I had heard of miraculous children and I wanted her to be out of diapers before Vivian was born, so I gave it a shot. But she wanted nothing to do with it. When I sat her on the toilet, she would freak out! I don’t blame her! It’s kind of a scary thing at first! Instead of getting frustrated or forcing her to learn, I waited. I wasn’t sure how long I would have to wait for her to be ready, but I just tried to watch for cues.
Finally, right after Myra turned two, I decided to give it another shot. It was a very spontaneous decision. I think I was feeling annoyed with changing diaper after diaper. It seemed as if the girls planned their poops at the same time or something!
This time, Myra was much more receptive of the whole idea. She actually enjoyed sitting on the potty and loved the idea of getting prizes! Thankfully, I had already stocked up on treats, so I wasn’t too unprepared, but I do think it would be best to prepare your child ahead of time.
After the end of only 3 days, Myra was potty trained! She still wears pull-ups for naps and bedtime and has a few accidents once in a while. Other than that, though, she is fully potty trained! I was totally surprised that my efforts had worked because I hadn’t read any books. I had talked with my sister-in-law about it months before and had looked up some ideas. Then, I just tried what I felt would work and it did! So, I want to share my tips with you in hopes that you will have a few ideas to try on your own!
- Wait until your child is ready – Even though my daughter was ready at 2 years old, it doesn’t mean that your child will be. Just remember, every child is different! I may even have a totally different experience with Vivian! Who knows! Also, keep in mind that boys tend to be ready later than girls. It’s probably not 100% of the time, but don’t be discouraged if your child takes a little longer. He will learn when he is ready! My mother-in-law always encouraged me with this: “She won’t go to college without being potty trained.” It’s a funny reminder that our kids will learn what they need to know in their own timing!
- Have your child go butt naked – I have heard a lot of different strategies for potty training, but I decided to go with the no pants strategy. To be honest, it felt a little funny at first. I had never let Myra run around naked! I was always afraid of her peeing! But, with potty training, that’s exactly what you want. After peeing down her legs twice and pooping on the bathroom floor once, she started figuring out how to recognize the need to go to the bathroom. The first day, I had her go completely naked…not even a shirt. The next day, she wore a shirt. After 3 days, they can wear underwear and regular clothes.
- Prepare for accidents – Some people say to spend the day in a tiled room. I love that idea, but it didn’t work for us. The only room we could really spend our time in was the living room, with the fresh, new carpet. But we made it work. I asked Myra constantly if she needed to use the potty, watched for signs that she needed to go, and never let her sit on the couch! It ended up working out fine. And luckily, the one time she pooped, it happened to be on the bathroom tile! Lucky me!
- Be okay with the TV on all day – The TV was a perfect distraction for Myra. Since we were spending the entire day stuck indoors, she needed something to keep her entertained. We played with toys here and there, but TV shows ended up working best. The Daniel Tiger potty episode ended up being the show of the day. I played it over and over until we had the potty song memorized! We sang the song every time she used the potty. I think it helped her learn even faster!
- Make a special potty chart – The chart ended up just being a fun place to put stickers. It didn’t really track her progress, since I kept catching her taking off the stickers! But she got excited to put a sticker on her special chart each time she went potty. There are lots of different charts on the Internet that have more categories and that you can download. I decided that, for potty training, I only needed two categories and it was simple to make on my own! Myra still loved it!
- Get some potty prizes – Some people have a prize box with toys or activities. For Myra, I chose to do candy (because she loves it so much!). I had a jar of m&ms above the toilet along with a jar of dum dum lollipops. She got 1 m&m for pee and 2 m&ms for poop. If she got 5 stickers in a row, she got a lollipop! Myra was a big fan of the prizes and it made her excited to go potty!
- Stock up on special drinks and snacks – The goal is to get your child to use the potty as much as possible, so you want to get them to drink lots of fluids! Even though I try to teach Myra to eat healthy foods, I allowed a bit more junk food in these few days. Salty snacks worked best because they caused her to drink more which, in turn, caused her to pee! I allowed her to have more juice than normal, as well, so that she would want to drink more. It worked for us!
- Plan for 3 days at home (Don’t go anywhere) – Because I wasn’t pre-planned, we had to stop the third day to go to church. This didn’t make her back-track very much, but it would be best to stick it out for 3 full days. Don’t make any plans. Just stay around the house until the potty training is complete. If at all possible, it would be helpful to have your spouse stick around to help too. Ryan wasn’t able to be around very much but it was so great the few times he could help…especially with still breastfeeding 6 times a day! Remember, the first day will be the longest and filled with the most accidents. Day two will be much better, with less accidents and more of your child understanding when they need to go. Then, the third day is the day to solidify the deal!
- Be patient – Within the first few hours of potty training, I questioned my decision. I remember, after the first three accidents, feeling like maybe it was a bad idea after all. I almost quit. But then, I thought about the few hours I had already put into it and didn’t want it to feel like a waste of time. So, I decided to stick it out and it paid off! Myra started using the potty and having less and less accidents! Also, when we first started, Myra took absolutely forever on the potty. This was hard for me because I still had an infant to take care of, so I would give Myra books or a show on the iPad to keep her entertained. This helped her while she was starting to understand how to use the potty. After a few times, she didn’t need these distractions anymore.
- Buy special underwear – I had purchased a couple pairs of underwear before we started. Myra loved trying them on. It got her excited to be able to wear them once she was potty trained! After she finished training, she was able to wear the ones we already had but we also went out and bought a few more. She enjoyed picking them out and feeling like a big girl!
In the end, potty training wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be! It was fun getting excited with Myra when she had a successful trip to the potty and I learned a lot about patience! Hopefully it goes this well with my second child (crossing my fingers)!
Do you have any questions or tips to add? I would love to talk more with you about our potty training experience and hear about yours!