Top 10 Tips to Smooth and Successful Potty Training ~ Create it. Go!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Top 10 Tips to Smooth and Successful Potty Training

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Have you ever potty trained a child? Do you have one that is getting ready to be potty trained? Are you dreading and procrastinating potty training yours right now? Well, I've been there. FIVE times to be exact! With five children, ages ranging from 15 down to 3, I have done my share of potty training. It's never a "fun" time necessarily, BUT it isn't something that has to be dreaded either.

When I first started potty training my first, my husband was gone with work for a couple months and I was absolutely clueless. Until a friend gave me some tips. I am forever indebted to her for making it go so much smoother, so I wanted to share my top 10 tips for Potty Training with you today as well. Because, face it...we can all use a little help raising our kids. (Unless you were lucky enough to get a handbook that came with your child at birth...Mine seemed to be missing their instruction manuals when they were born. Ha!)

BUT...before I get to those Potty Training tips, I have a deal for you today! I have a giveaway for you for some help with the Potty Training going on in YOUR house! Check it out below and make sure you enter and then keep reading to get those great Top 10 Tips!

Pull-Ups and GoodNites Potty Training Sweepstakes

 Top 10 Tips to Smooth and Successful Potty Training:

1. If you have already started potty training on your own, and it isn't going well...Stop. Wait a couple weeks and start again a DIFFERENT way.
My suggestion right way is to: Stop, Take a Break, and Learn/Try another way of teaching your child in another two weeks. This is how I started...on my clue, lots of accidents, and lots of frustration on both parts from the child AND the parent (Me!). For me, I started reading books that were helpful and gave tips that had been successful for potty training adults with learning disabilities, and then were adapted to teaching toddlers to potty train. They worked wonders with all of my kids, although my kids all learned a bit differently one from the other. They were all trained within a week or so though. (AFTER I started over from my first attempt like mentioned above. haha)

2. Be prepared mentally. (Do I sound like a mother of scouts? haha)
Decide on your desired method of HOW you want to Potty train/teach your child. Make sure that you are confident in how you will approach situation. The successes AND the accidents. (Believe me, there WILL be accidents!) You want to instill a confidence in your child as he/she is potty trained. You DON'T want to have your child feel as if they can't do this. That won't help either of you to be successful in this. YOU need to be ready for this mentally. I WAS not ready or prepared and really did not have a plan of action the very first time I started potty training. That was a disaster. Be prepared! ;)

3. Make sure that you think your child is ready for this next stage. 
Does your child have a desire to be potty trained? Can they communicate with you and understand simple instructions? Do they understand when they have done something that pleases you (and them) and displeases you (and them)? Are they close to the age of 2 or older? Obviously some children train earlier and some later. Each child is different. You have to determine when is best for your child yourself.

4. You also want to make sure that you are prepared with all the materials you need/want. 
You need to acquire any "tools" that you have decided to use to encourage your child and that you think will help them to be successful. There are so many "tools" that can help you potty train and encourage successful behavior. Whether it's rewards like their favorite snacks you want to give and need to make sure you have on hand, small toys or books as a prize, charts, stickers, or even a Potty chair (Depending on how you decide to train {a regular toilet with a stool so they can get up and down on their own, or a potty chair}, you want them to be able to be as independent in this as possible.), you want to have everything on hand. It would NOT be a good idea to start one morning, and then have to run to the store with them.

Another big thing to have is Pull-Ups® training pants and underwear ready at home. I always let my kids come help me pick these out at the store. And you can just pick them up while you do your grocery shopping, like I did, at Kroger. 

When they pick out their own, it makes them get excited about potty training, want to do it successfully, and feel like a big kid! Whether you have a boy or a girl, they will love picking out their own. My daughter loves picking out her Pull-Ups® that she wears when we go out (when in the middle of Potty training) and to bed at night. 

She loves the Princess Ariel and Doc McStuffin designs and being able to pull them on and off herself. They also have Jake and the Never Land Pirates for boys and  Lightning McQueen. As a mother of growing kids, I love the sizes they come in at 2T-3T (18- 34 lbs.), 3T-4T (32–40 lbs.), and 4T-5T (38+ lbs.). PLUS they also have help for you in other areas like: Cool Alert®, Learning Designs®, and even Night*Time Training Pants.

As I try and instill self-confidence and independence in my little ones during this time, I also love the ease at which they can come off with these little side tabs on the Pull-Ups® too! AND they're not ruined when they accidentally pull them apart, while trying to pull them down too fast (as they hurry to the potty). That drives me nuts when they tear down the side and are still perfectly dry, but can't be put back on and used still. It's the little things for us Moms and Dads, right? ;)

5. Incorporate different ways of learning into your training methods.
This makes sense. We all learn differently, so incorporate different ways of learning AND teaching into how you potty train your child. We learn when we teach others as well. So, have them teach the steps expected to go to the bathroom on the toilet, to a stuffed animal or doll, or even a cooperative sibling. Have the child that is being potty train learn the steps (Pull down your pants, get on the toilet, etc. and have them tell someone else what/how to do it.) It will help them remember them more and reinforce it all into their own head.

6. Choose wisely WHEN to give them something to drink. 
(Each time they drink, it will encourage another time to "practice" and learn because of how our bodies work.) Do NOT give drinks to your child within two hours before bedtime. DO give drinks to them (and OFTEN) during the day when you can watch them, observe their body behavior, and help them hurry to the bathroom. DO not give them drinks often when they are with you running errands, away from the house, and new to potty training. Think strategically about drinks. ;)

(No drinks before bed!)

7. Stay at home with your child as much as possible the first week that you start potty training them and simplify your activities. This helps them to get used to going to the same bathroom, as quickly as possible. It helps with consistency and less struggles in other areas. I would also suggest to stay close to your child during this time, especially the first day. I also take away TV and things that distract them too much where it makes them forget about what is going on. Plan on lots of one on one time with them. You can read together, play games, etc...anything that keeps them near you and where you can see and read their body language. (If you can, I would also suggest as much one-on-one time as possible. So if you have other children at home, see if a friend can take them for a few hours. If your child attends daycare, try and take even just one or two days off (or start on a weekend) to get them started. Then just try and be as consistent as possible and share your "plan" with their caregiver.)

8. Make a big deal out of the successes!
Whether you choose to do reward charts with stickers, prizes, etc, make it a big deal. Get others that they know involved as well, so that they can share their successes too. Have them even tell their stuffed animals about their successes! My third child was stubborn! I figured out after a few days of her doing well, and then all of the sudden going backward, that I needed more motivation that spoke to HER. I got a new Barbie for her and gave it to her. When she didn't stay dry, the Barbie went away. I told her she had to stay dry to get the Barbie back. Next time, she needed to go, she did great! Immediately after getting off the toilet, she asked, "Now can I have my Barbie back?" :) Stubborn. Figure out what works with EACH child and EACH personality.

9. Don't give up. And don't go backwards.
Children aren't dumb. In fact, they learn all too easily how to manipulate. Don't give them that option. Keep on swimming, so to say. Yes, the days can be draining. That's why you want to be ready mentally before beginning. BUT don't go backward. Don't put that diaper back on, because they will learn very quickly to not try so hard, when they realize that they don't have to.

10. Be positive. NO MATTER WHAT.
Think about how this is from their perspective. A totally new thing we are expecting them to do from anything they have known since birth. Can you imagine all of the sudden being asked to change the way you do something you have done as long as you remember? NOT easy. Be positive and encouraging.

I'm not going to lie.'s hard! But it's sooooo worth it! You can do it!

I hope this helps some of you out there. I wish I would have read something like this as I prepared to potty train my first. Much of what I HAVE learned has come from reading books and tips of others and compiling them all together into this. And now there are even apps out there that can help you too, like this one: Pull-Ups® Time to Potty App. Because after potty training 5 kiddos, NOW, I finally feel like I have a clue about how to go about it! Good luck! PLEASE, feel free to comment with any additional tips that you might have for others in regard to potty training as well. I love hearing from you!


Cassandra Eastman said...

My tip is to just wait until you know they are ready!

rpp said...

Thanks for adding another tip Cassandra.