During this quarantine, one of the things I wanted to tackle on my never ending to-do list was potty training. I have seriously been avoiding this because — real talk, diapers are way easier. My toddler is super stubborn, and the few times we have tried to sit him on the toilet, he screamed bloody murder. I had no desire to deal with that so, I kept telling myself he wasn’t ready to be potty trained and that I would wait until HE was ready.
I quickly realized it doesn’t have to be when he is ready. The key is consistency, a great deal of patience and lots of praise and rewards.
Honestly, before I even started potty training Jaxson, I really didn’t know much except for a few tips here and there I had learned from other mamas who had already gone through this stage in parenting. Here are some of the things I have learned and some of the mistakes I made along the way.
I woke up on a Monday and decided right there on the spot that it would be the day I tackle the daunting task of potty training. I hadn’t done much, if any, research on what methods worked best. It was literally on a whim. (Don’t ask me why. Quarantine makes you do some crazy things.) I started off by telling Jaxson that we wouldn’t be using diapers anymore and that he was a big boy and needed to pick which pair of underwear he wanted to wear. Then we headed to the bathroom where I sat him on his potty seat for the toilet and told him to try and take a pee pee. Success! I felt really confident that he had gone and since he had, he now understood what it was like to pee on the toilet. Well I was quickly brought back to reality that my toddler was no expert when he proceeded to have two accidents back to back half-an-hour later. At this point, I decided to read up on a few tips that would hopefully help. The rest of day I was taking Jaxson to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes. I set alarms on my phone to make sure to remind myself and Jaxson that it was time to head to the potty. I even started letting Jaxson choose the sound for each alarm so that he knew what it would sound like and would be more motivated to go. He fought me a lot towards the late afternoon because he was tired of going to the potty and being taken away from his more fun activities, like his iPad and toys.
After every successful pee trip to the toilet, he received a gummy bear treat in hopes that this would get him even more excited to go. It worked in convincing him to go to the bathroom, but by the end of the day I realized that we needed a new reward so that our toddler didn’t lose all his teeth from excess sugar.
Aside from the two morning accidents he had one more in the afternoon. There was no attempt at poop, but that’s ok. I would say that it was overall a successful day for Jaxson.
I switched from underwear to pull-ups because 1. We were only down to two pairs and 2. I really didn’t want to clean up anymore accidents. I continued to take Jaxson to the potty every 20-30 minutes. He fought me a few times because he did not want to stop what he was doing, but he only had one accident in the pull-ups the whole day — and that was poop. Can’t lie, not too mad that this happened in the pull-ups. I will say I was definitely feeling more confident that Jaxson was on the road to being fully potty trained and that in a few days we would be able to get rid of pull-ups too.
Well…I think I was starting to celebrate Jaxson being fully potty trained too soon. We had a few setbacks and Jaxson fought me almost every time he had to use the potty. Even with incentives, he did not want to go. To say it was frustrating is an understatement. He had equal amounts of accidents and successes and still no poop in the toilet. I guess we’ll see what day four brings.
Since day three was not very successful, I decided to change my methods completely. I made the decision to let Jaxson run around in his birthday suit and so far, this has been the most successful route for us! Jaxson did not have any accidents. (Praise Be!) He would tell me or my husband when he needed to go potty, and successfully peed in the potty every time! He still did not poop in the toilet and waited to do so when he had his pull-up on for nap time. But we have to celebrate all our wins, big or small, so I’ll take it! I also created a sticker chart with visuals to excite him about going potty. He loved the sticker chart and earning a sticker for each step of going to the bathroom.
Jaxson continued to run around naked the whole day and he continued to tell me or my husband when he needed to go potty. He still loved his sticker chart incentive and didn’t kick and scream when it was time to go to the bathroom. I would say that it was a pretty successful day!
Another naked day for us at La Casa Brady. Another good day peeing on the potty. Jaxson has been doing such a great job telling us when he needs to pee and not having any accidents. I told him that if he continued to do well going potty, he would earn a big reward. I created a different kind of sticker chart to help him visualize his big potty prize to keep the excitement going. He still refuses to poop on the toilet, so we will have to work on that next.
We finally decided that naked is best and since there is nowhere to go, we’ll just let him be free for as long as possible. He continued to successfully pee on the potty, earn his stickers to get that big potty prize!
Naked is Best
We tried underwear and pull-ups and had numerous accidents with each. Pull-ups were too similar to diapers so we decided to only use them for naps and bedtimes. Underwear wasn’t much better, and Jaxson didn’t seem to care too much if he had an accident in them. Surprisingly, going naked was the best method for us. He did not want to have accidents on the floor and made sure to tell us whenever he needed to go.
Prepare Your Environment
Having a kid friendly potty is essential to potty training. We tried three different types of kid friendly potty’s with Jaxson. In my opinion, the potty you use makes a big difference in the success of your child’s potty training journey. We had two potty’s that went over our bathroom toilets and also a Paw Patrol themed portable kiddie toilet. Jaxson’s favorite is his Paw Patrol toilet that we keep downstairs. He also likes the over the toilet potty that we have upstairs in his bathroom. The seat is cushioned and it has steps attached to get onto the seat. I will attach links for both the potties that we use. He did not like the potty seat that you just place on top of the toilet. It moved around a lot and wasn’t very stable.
Provide Visual Incentives
Kids are really motivated by rewards or visual incentives. You just have to find what motivates your child and go with it. Jaxson loved treats and the sticker chart. The big gift for earning all his stickers was just a bonus, and we’ll do another round with another big gift with trying to poop on the toilet now. I have included a file with the charts I used with Jaxson. Hope this helps some of you!
Don’t Give Up
Potty Training is no joke, and it’s really hard. It can be extremely frustrating and feel at times like there is no hope. Any little progress is progress! I promise your child will eventually get it. Just like anything else you are learning, potty training just takes practice, consistency and tons of patience with your little one.
Accidents are going to happen, but you have to stay positive and celebrate even the smallest moments. The experience will be more enjoyable for both mom and child if the potty training seems fun and exciting. Make sure to praise your child with every successful potty trip — do whatever you have to do to make sure you make it clear to let your child know how happy you are of them.
Your child will not go to college in diapers! Every child learns at a different pace. If you feel like your child is just not getting it and your patience is running thin, stop and try again in a few weeks. It does not mean you have failed. Don’t beat yourself up if your child doesn’t grasp potty training in a day or even a week.
We work with Jaxson on his potty training every day. He still doesn’t always tell us when he’s busy having too much fun, but we have more successes than accidents at this point, and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We got this moms and dads! Don’t ever forget, you’re doing a great job!
Potty Training Must Haves: Potty | Potty Seat | Portable Potty Seat | Pull-Ups | Toddler Girl Underwear | Toddler Boy Underwear | Faucet Extenders
If you have any potty training questions, ask in the comments below! If you have any tips to share with my readers, you can share in the comments as well!