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Potty Training: Are You Ready To Train Your Toddler?


Potty training…. it can be a long process, full of big messes, trials with a lot of error, frustration, and more! That said, it does have it’s benefits, and looking towards those can make this task a positive experience for everyone involved.

If you are thinking about potty training, it’s important to first, make sure your child is ready. Forcing a child down the path of potty training before they are on board, will just result in frustration. Your child doesn’t need to demonstrate all these signs, but if they have a handful of them, it’s probably a good time to start trying to potty train them.

  • Your child is staying dry at nap time and/or night time.  
  • Your child maintains a “clean” diaper for a longer period of time.
  • Your child requests to be changed, before they have soiled the diaper. 
  • Your child wants changed right away after dirtying a diaper. 
  • Your child’s bowel movements occur around the same time each day. 
  • Your child can communicate clearly and understands the basic language you would use to communicate having to go to the bathroom. 
  • Your child can take their diaper off on their own (and bonus if they can take their pants on and off).
  • Your child seems to be interested in what’s happening in the bathroom when others are using the restroom.

After you are sure you and your toddler are ready, it’s a good idea to purchase a few things in preparation.

A small potty and a potty seat that fits over the toilet

It’s a good idea to have two potty options because some kids are afraid of the big potty and won't sit on it- others want to be a big kid and sit on the big kid potty. Some kids even switch half way through the process- it's a good idea to have both options open and see which one they are comfortable with.  

Stickers, reward charts, small rewards (candy/prizes), one large reward

Rewards can be tricky business when it comes to potty training, since all kids are different. Some kids respond very well to sticker charts, others to small rewards, others to large ones, and then you have kids that are a bit harder to figure out a motivation for. My son loved Toy Story, so we got him a big Buzz Light Year doll. Buzz sat on a shelf in the bathroom that he could see until he had a potty success. If he had an accident, Buzz would go wait in the bathroom until we were successful again.

My second child needed a large variety of prizes, nothing could be the same or she got board and lost her motivation. We went to the dollar store and got a huge variety of little things for a basket, with each success, she got to pick one thing.  Another of my children, needed ballerina outfits for motivation.  She could only wear it if she went to the potty- if she had an accident, it had to go in the wash, so no outfit for a while.  We've also had kids be motivated by Oreos, the promise of school, new pair of underwear (with their favorite characters), and more!  For a while, you might have some trial and error trying to figure out what best motivates your child - but don't give up!

Hit the books

Now it's time to get your little one excited. Go to the library and grab a bunch of kid potty training books, look up some potty training videos, and let them check out the potty, so they can get comfortable with the process. 

Underwear and training diapers

Get some of your child’s favorite character training underwear. It will get them excited to put it on and be a big kid! Be consistent with using underwear during the day and saving pull ups for errands and/or night time only. You may have a few more messes to clean up - but it will be worth it.

Activities to do while you wait

Be prepared to keep your little one busy while you wait for “potty success”  While they sit on the potty, sing with them, read to them, or grab a few “busy bag” ideas from Pinterest

After your supplies are gathered, it’s time to get started! Ask your child frequently if they want to try to sit on the potty, don't pressure or threaten them, but make it fun and exciting. Have those extra activities ready so when they sit on the potty they are relaxed and willing to sit there for some time- this is an awesome opportunity to enjoy some extra time with your child! After your child has a success - celebrate! Get your reward of choice out and have a fun time celebrating!  

Most importantly, don’t get discouraged!  Accidents will happen

It will get frustrating and when you think they have it down, you will all the sudden have a series of failures that will cause you to second guess everything.  Hang in there and push through it, there is an end in sight.  This can be an amazing time of building your child's confidence and spending time with them doing some extra fun things, focus on that, rather then the frustration of any failures. 

3 The Potty Training Buying Guide
10 Signs Your Toddler is Ready for Potty Training 4

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