Today, I wanted to share my tips on potty training. Most mom’s I’ve talked to DREAD potty training. My friends with older kids scared me into thinking it was going to be one of the worst experiences of my life. Well mamas, don’t hate me – but I’m here to tell you that potty training my incredibly stubborn (doctor’s words) daughter was one of the easiest parts of parenting for me!
Don’t worry, though, both of my daughters (ages 3 and almost 2) still do not consistently sleep through the night, so we all have our struggles. Potty training was one of the aspects of parenting that actually went well for me, so I wanted to take the time to share my tips for those that may be going through it, too.
How I potty-trained my daughter in LESS THAN A DAY
You read that right – I potty-trained my daughter is less than one day. We started on a Thursday after her nap and I told her she was too big for her diapers and she needed to wear underwear now. If she needed to go pee-pee, she had to use the potty. I told her how if she didn’t use the potty, she would get pee all over her underwear and herself and it would feel gross. I figured we were in for a very long next few days. I planned on staying home all weekend, doing load after load of laundry and spending basically all of my time sitting on the bathroom floor.
Well, much to my surprise, NONE of those things happened. After putting her in her underwear and explaining to her what to do, we headed downstairs for a snack. I asked her about once every few minutes if she needed to go potty. After about an hour, she said she did and she went straight upstairs to her bathroom and peed! You guys, I was shocked. Really, we need to give our kids more credit!! Once I took away the diapers for good, Cami knew what to do. Prior to just “taking them away,” I would keep her in her diaper and ask her throughout the day if she wanted to go potty. Of course she didn’t since I was giving her the option. “Either go in my diaper LIKE I ALWAYS DO or try something brand new?!” Yeah right, mom.
My tips for potty training in less than a day
Wait until your child is actually old enough to potty train. I know a lot of moms that started potty training before their child turned two. If your child really is ready at that age, then go for it. Of the moms that I know that did that, though, they basically “potty trained” for a good six months to a year before their child was using the potty on their own accident-free. Unless you actually want to deal with this for months, my advice is to not worry at all about potty training until your child is 30 – 38 months. My doctor said the average age for girls to potty train is exactly 36 months. For boys, it’s even a little later. Trying to potty train them before this age might just cause you more work and more of a headache than you need. Cami was 37 months when we took away the diapers! No shame!
Don’t give them an option. We didn’t even use pull-ups! I knew Cami was ready to potty train (simply because she was 37 months) so I simply took away the diapers. Pull-ups give them the option to not use the toilet. With kids, sometimes they need to just be told that this is how it is and it’s their ONLY option. I used to give Cami a sippy cup of milk before bed and before naps, for example. I was terrified of taking this privilege away because I feared she would take forever to get to sleep. One afternoon, I gave her milk before her nap (in the kitchen) and explained that sippy cups are no longer allowed in the crib. She went to bed immediately after and has been fine ever since. Again, we really need to give our kids more credit. Cami is perfectly capable of understanding me and following the rules. On the same token, don’t give them too many options. For potty training, they have one option – the potty!!
Make sure you’re ready. I knew once I took away the diapers that afternoon that there was no going back. If she peed on herself, I couldn’t just decide to put her back in a diaper because it was easier for me. I knew that this was it. We were potty training and there was no going back. Be confident as far as when you want to do this!! I personally recommend right around three years old. I have another daughter who is 22 months and she has actually peed in the potty about five times in the past two months thanks to watching her older sister. But, I have no desire to potty train her now. To me, she’s just not old enough to fully understand what to do. We will wait until right around age three just like we did with Cami.
I should note, too, that Cami pees in her potty (we use one that sits on the floor), flushes it down the toilet and puts the container back into the toilet all on her own. She pulls back up her underwear and pants on her own and washes her hands. She requires basically no supervision and hasn’t from the start. Again, this was SO EASY for us!!! I go in and make sure the bathroom is still clean (which it always is) and clean out her little toilet for her, but that’s it.
We also live in a pretty big two story house. I know some mom’s keep the little kid potty’s in all the bathrooms and allow them to bring their potty out to the family room so they can watch TV while sitting on it. I had no desire to be moving this toilet to and from all the different rooms, so I once again didn’t give Cami an option. If she needs to pee, she has to walk upstairs and go to her bathroom to do so.
We have only had ONE accident in the first week of potty training. ONE! And…it was my fault. We were at a park and I was chatting with another mom and Cami peed in her pants. We weren’t near a bathroom and I hadn’t asked her if she needed to go.
That first weekend that we potty trained (again, we started on a Thursday), we did our same weekend activities that we always do. We went to the park, drove around looking at neighborhoods and areas, went grocery shopping, went to the pool and more. Cami did amazing. She used public restrooms and told me when she needed to go (I asked her a lot, too).
Products that we use
Arm and Hammer Secure Comfort Potty Seat. I first purchased this seat about six months ago to introduce Cami to the toilet. She sat on it a few times but much prefers her own little toilet rather than the seat. For now, she’s only going in her toilet. I do recommend purchasing this seat though since you will eventually want your child actually peeing in the real toilet. I plan on taking away Cami’s potty next month. Again, there won’t be an option. I’ll put her little toilet into the closet and that’s that.
Fisher-Price Royal Stepstool Potty. Ok mamas, this is the potty that Cami LOVES! It’s less than $20, is also a stepstool and it sings when they pee. I actually LOVE this feature because Cami can run upstairs while I’m downstairs and I know if she peed or not because I can hear the music playing. She can also really easily remove the pink toilet and dump her pee into the regular toilet and put it back together. The toilet also acts as a stepstool if your child prefers the regular potty with the seat (shown above) rather than the little kid potty.
Frozen underwear. Ok girls moms, these underwear are a must! We have two packs and Cami refuses to wear anything else. Hey, as long as she’s peeing in the potty I am a happy camper! If your child isn’t into Frozen, I recommend just letting them pick out their own underwear, whether they want a different character or shapes or something. Let them choose!!
And finally, if this is the method that you want to go with, you can pick up a copy of Toilet Training in Less Than a Day for more encouragement! It’s funny looking back at how much I feared potty training. It really was a breeze. I know part of that is because we waited so long, but I’m glad I didn’t start when Cami was two only to have her have a million accidents because she wasn’t ready yet. As parents, I think sometimes we really want to make sure our child is meeting all their milestones and doing things ahead of the curve, but really if we all just learned to relax the parenting journey would be so much easier and so much more rewarding. Trying to get your child potty trained or talking or reading before they are ready is only going to cause YOU more stress.
I really hope some of you found this useful! Oh – for those wondering – Cami DOES still wear a diaper during naps and bedtime. Once she starts waking up dry, I’ll put her in underwear when she sleeps. But again, I am not going to force this. I really don’t care if she wears a diaper to bed until she’s five. It’s not hurting anyone and ALL of us adults are potty trained. Try to have a relaxed attitude about this and potty training will hopefully be a super easy part of parenting for you, too!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I’m always willing to help other moms and share my story!