Been there. Done that. Considering all the craziness that comes with potty training, most parents usually want to get it over with. That’s what makes the whole experience a little stressful (of course that’s an understatement) for both parents and toddlers.
Potty training is a major milestone not just for a child but also for the parents. Most experts say that children show interest in potty training by age 2 but may not be ready until they are 2 1/2 years old or older.
Potty training is not something you should rush into. According to Dr.Tanya Remer Altmann (1):
“Children learn to use the toilet when they’re ready. The process shouldn’t be rushed.”
It’s true that some toddlers don’t learn how to potty right away. If this happens to your little one, you really shouldn’t worry because Dr. Altmann has this to add:
“No child is ever going to go to college in diapers.”
Those are definitely wise and comforting words from Dr. Altmann. Hence, you can stop worrying about potty training when your kid goes off to college.
However, for the meantime, here are common “words of wisdom” from moms who survived the potty training phase of their children:
“Be patient. Be extra, extra patient.”
Just keep in mind that potty training takes time regardless of whether your child is a boy or a girl. It also involves, believe it or not, a lot of creativity and imagination on your part. Your job is to make your child understand that when they need to go, they now have to take action and do their business in the potty.
Here are the 12 tried and tested tips from moms who swear by them:
12. The Potty Is Your Friend.
Get them acquainted with the potty. If you don’t already have a potty chair, make a big deal out of picking it out at the store, let them choose which one they like. Maybe let them decorate it or play with it with a stuffed animal. Leave it in the bathroom for a few months before you are ready to train so they get used to it. (2)
By doing so, your child gets to be very familiar with the potty chair. The potty chair becomes your child’s friend and not something that appears intimidating.
In addition to getting your child really familiar with the potty, also keep this next tip in mind.
11. Location, Location, Location.
We found that the kiddie lids that go on top of the toilet were too intimidating to use right away. (Plus, since they usually need a step stool, it can take too long for children to reach the toilet in time.) So I started my 2-year-old daughter with a mini-Elmo potty seat, which we kept in the living room, since she spent the most time there. We gradually moved it closer and closer to the bathroom, and eventually worked our way up to a Dora seat that went right on top of the toilet. (3)
By the way, it also helps if you have your child pick their potty training toilet seats. These days, there are a wide assortment of seat colors and cartoon themes to choose from. It truly makes it more fun for your little one.
The power of motivation and fun prizes, when done right, can do the trick. Who does not like surprises? Why not motivate your toddler with some bag of surprises …
10. Use Treats and Surprises.
Our daughter wasn’t very consistent with toilet training until we introduced the surprise bag. We got a bunch of inexpensive toys and stickers and put them in a colorful gift bag. Every time she used the toilet, we would clap and tell her what a great job she did and let her pick one surprise out of the bag. We kept it up for about a week and a half, and when the surprises ran out she just kept on using the potty. We continued to praise her and she quickly forgot the surprise bag. I can honestly say that toilet training was painless and quick with this method, and I plan to use it again with my next child. (4)
You can be more creative and make a treasure chest or box with your child to make them really excited about the concept of going potty.
If some adults can fall for the next solution. Chances are that your child can fall for this too … The age-old bribe is another motivating way to getting your child potty trained …
9. Bribery Works If It’s Done Right.
Here’s the trick with bribery, mamas. First, it has to be something that your kids like – not what you like. For instance, if your child’s favorite candy is M&Ms, then that’s the bribe. You may prefer them to be bribed with carrot sticks, but those are boring to our little ones. So make the bribe something they can’t resist. Second, the bribe candy has to be where they can see it, hear it, and know that, without a doubt, they’re going to receive it if they do their business in the potty. Rewards work wonders if they’re given at the right time. (5)
You can have variations of bribing like giving more M&Ms or some ice cream if your child takes the initiative to go potty without you having to remind him about it. Just be creative.
Some moms say boys are a little bit tougher to potty train than girls so if you have a little boy, you might like to try this next tip …
The next potty training tip for little boys is actually quite fun so go ahead and try it.
8. Target Practice.
Getting my son to learn the standing-up thing was hard, so we turned it into a game. I put five Cheerios in the potty and told him to aim at them when he peed. Every time he did it right, he got to pick out a prize from a bag of goodies I picked up at the dollar store. (6)
You can even even use fruity Cheerios or Fruit Loops so that your child can also learn about colors. Have them pick the color that they want to target to get them more motivated.
Have you ever thought of daddy to help out with the potty training? To make things move along much faster, why not ask daddy to set an example?
7. Have Dad As Part Of The Team.
Sometimes, dads can work their magic to get your little ones to do things that mom can’t. Use this power of dad to your advantage — and this will be especially helpful if you’re training a boy since dad has what he has. This was the case in my house during our potty training venture. I could tell and ask my son to use the bathroom until I wanted to pull my hair out, when his father told him to try and go, he went in effortlessly. (7)
Hey dad, how about you try to target some of those Fruity Cheerios and show your son how it’s done? That should be a great time to bond. 🙂
The next tip on the next page is actually not for everyone but a lot of moms do swear by this method.
If you decide to use this method, be aware of the risks … be ready to clean up the mess this might cause. However gross and risky this tip might be, believe or not, moms do swear by it for its effectiveness.
6. No Undies.
Well, I let them run around the house naked, and it helped them make the connection between ‘I’m peeing,’ and, ‘I’m making a mess.’ Sometimes when kids are wearing diapers or pull-ups they don’t notice or care that they’re peeing and pooping. Yes, I had to clean up messes, but it really helped solidify the connection. (8)
If you try the above mentioned tip, hopefully it won’t be too messy. Just make sure to protect your carpet and your couch before doing it.
The next tip does not involve the risk of getting messy but requires tapping into your child’s imagination.
Children love stories so stir up their minds with some fascinating story telling skills which moms are usually good at.
5. Little White Lies.
My middle son was stubborn when it came to #2 on the potty — absolutely refused, no matter the reward. So I finally told him that when we flush, the poop goes out to the sea to feed the fish — so if he didn’t go, then the poor little fish wouldn’t have anything to eat. My son, being the compassionate, sensitive little do-gooder he is, felt it was his mission to poop to “save” the fish. (After all, Nemo and Dory were counting on him!). (9)
Of course it really helps if your child loves Nemo or loves little fishies. I’m sure you can come up with some other spin to the feeding the fish story.
Now if you tried the M&M bribe and it does not work, maybe you are missing a little something to make that technique work.
Some children, believe it or not, lose interest in M&Ms or candies. The key is finding a bribe that your child is really obsessed with.
4. Find the Right Bribe.
We tried Cheerios, M&M’s, potty charts, cheerleader rants and screams, but nothing worked. My son has always been obsessed with cars and trucks and luckily, the movie Cars had just come out. My husband scoured the local stores to collect all the figurines featured in the movie. We saw the movie, then we told my son that every time he went potty he’d get a car. It was magical. After 15 cars, he was totally potty trained. I’m sure Disney would be so proud. (10)
For my little girl who had a fascination for little rubber duckies, this worked like gangbusters.
It did not take her long to get potty trained as long as she was getting her prizes of various colored rubber duckies.
From low-tech, old school potty training tips, this next hi-tech gadget mesmerizes kids in the toilet. This small hi-tech gadgetry definitely brings potty training to the next level.
3. Mesmerize Your Little One With This “Hi-Tech” Gadget.
We tried all kinds of bribes. My child just won’t fall for them. Then I stumbled upon this interesting gadgetry. Sometimes certain gadgets are invented for some other purpose but it turns out they work better when used for potty training! This hilarious gadget was invented just to help adults find the toilet bowl at night. Well, as it turns out, it really works well for potty training too.
My potty training hi-tech gadget is the Motion-Activated LED Toilet Bowl Light.
How long did it take for my child to get potty trained? Less than a week!
I swear by this fascinating gadget. In fact, I learned that other parents swear by it too. The awesome thing is … this works for both little girls and boys.
This must-have, fascinating gadgetry brings the spectacle of the magic kingdom right in your very own toilet bowl. Kids LOVE it … and so do adults!
When activated by motion, the gadget produces a colorful light show in your toilet bowl that mesmerizes kids and potty trains them in no time. From my experience, this gadget elevates potty training to the next level.
It’s portable and will easily pop off and wrap around any bowl. It also makes nighttime reliefs an excitingly fun and memorable experience for the whole family! Another bonus: It also helps dad from missing the mark at night. LOL
In case you are interested in getting this for your family, I got mine from Amazon.com. For the price of a couple of McDonald’s Happy Meals, you get to potty train your child. In fact, here’s the link to my Motion-Activated LED Toilet Light gadget of choice. Check it out.
Even my mother-in-law decided to get a couple to help, as she put it, “target train” my father-in-law. LOL
Potty training is a big deal to your little one so don’t be stingy on this next tip.
Make sure that you become your child’s biggest cheerleader and supporter.
2. Heap on the Praise.
I’ve heard all the tricks — stickers, bribing with toys, special underpants. But you have to pick something that’s consistent with your parenting style. I didn’t use rewards elsewhere, so I didn’t want to start here. What did work: Lots of undivided attention, positive reinforcement, love, affection and pride when my kids were successful. Making a big deal about small steps of progress is key. (11)
Even have grandma, grandpa, aunts, and uncles (okay aunts and uncles might be over doing it) give your child a call for a job well-done.
Aside from being the biggest cheerleader for your little one, here’s what most battle-toughened, potty-training moms would say.
Make sure to take this to heart:
1. Be Patient.
Usually children begin showing interest between the ages of 2 and 3. Keep an eye out for common clues, such as your child asking questions about the bathroom and toilet, staying dry for longer periods of time (indicating stronger bladder control), wanting to wear “big kid” underwear, or telling you when she’s soiled a diaper. These signs of readiness may intensify gradually or, as Wisconsin mom Tracy M. found, appear quite suddenly: “One day she walked up to me, about three months before she turned three, and said, ‘Mommy, I want to wear undies.’ And since that day she has.” (11)
Just remember that your child will potty train when they are ready. When it comes to potty training, each child is different so exercise patience.
When things go bad, just add some humor to the situation as your child will eventually get up to speed with his potty habits.
You too can survive potty training so long as you find the right trick to get it done. Keep in mind that what works for other kids might not work for yours.
You really shouldn’t compare and feel so bad if things aren’t working out so well for you and your toddler. You need all the patience in the world. At the same time, you need to decipher the best time to potty train your toddler. Only you can tell when it’s the right time. You should always keep these tried and tested tips in mind.
Thanks to the parents who have shared their tried and tested potty training tips. I’m sure you you’ll find some use for them too.
Do you have a potty training tip you can share?