When it came to potty training my first child, I was doing my research from the time Bo was 6 months old and on. I had a game plan and knew exactly what I had to do to get him going in the potty like a champ in no time. I was pretty certain that he was going to receive the Guiness Book World Record for Youngest Infant in History to be potty trained. I started and quickly came to the realization that Bo was not interested. He was perfectly fine wetting and even worse, pooping his pants all day long. It was a nightmare. I pushed him so hard and he pushed right back. It was at the ripe old age of 4 1/2 that he finally decided he should get on board with our plans to avoid me permanently losing my mind. So, why am I starting my “How to potty train your toddler” post with a story of failure? Because here is the thing….every child is different. What works for one child doesn’t necessarily work for another. And to further that, you as a parent have to be ready. It takes some dedication but once you both are on board, you are good to start!
Fast forward from child #1 to my 4th go around with Heath and Reese and to be honest, I just have not been in the mood. The milestones of moving forward have been hard to face….they are both still on bottles. Missing Hayes has a lot to do with that. But I also have been dreading the fact that I have to potty train two at once. I am outnumbered!
I mustered up some motivation and came up with a plan. I decided Reese was going to be my target because she had shown the most interest, plus I knew exactly what motivated her….princess dresses! The girl loves her sparkles and tulle and I can’t blame her….she is fabulous! I got her 5 different princess dresses from Little Adventures Dress Ups, a local company from here in Utah, and a potty chair from Amazon and woke up last week with not a detailed vision, I just figured, why not?!
So, with zero pressure on myself and zero pressure on Reese I decided to give it a try. The days leading up to Day 1, I was talking about it and hyping up “going potty on the potty chair.” I made sure to tell her I had a stash of princess dresses that will change her little world, but only if she went on the potty chair.
- First thing I have always found success with is having my child go diaperless. If they feel anything on their bums, I have always found that they wet thinking they have a diaper on, so I avoid underwear and diapers for a few days.
- Second thing I do is put the potty chair right in the family room. I want them to have easy access. This potty has been the best! It is the perfect height and stays fairly clean. Plus, it “flushes” so they feel like they are really on the big potty.
- Thirdly, I had her sit it out on the potty chair. I actually haven’t ever done that before now, but all I knew was that it needed to be fun, so I gave her a can of soda and put on a movie and we waited and watched and waited some more. The beauty of giving them soda is they need to go to the bathroom more! What goes in must come out!
- Which leads me to the next thing. Make a big, HUGE deal when success finally happens! And it will happen. It actually took Reese a little by surprise, but with me freaking out and cheering, she got it! She was SO excited when I asked her, “What color princess dress do you want? Pink, green, blue, red or yellow?….” when she said green without hesitation I knew we were on the right track….#HayesHint! Princess Tiana for the win!
So what do you do next? The Same. Exact. Thing. Basically you are living Groundhogs Day potty training a toddler style. Super exciting stuff. But, she did it again, about 30 minutes later. We cheered, she was thrilled and her next choice was the Alice blue dress. On a side note, why can’t I have these dresses in my size?! So dang cute!
At this point, it kind of clicked for her. I kept her diaper less but she got it. All she needed were sparkles and soda and she got it!
I kind of assumed that once Reese figured it out, Heath wouldn’t be far behind. And I was right, but I had to find his motivator. One thing I know about Heath is that he loves his food and luckily, we had a giant bag of Hi Chews in the pantry. As it turns out, Heath is a boy right after my own heart. All he needed was sugar. Heath is still a work in progress, but he went 4 times today and we had no accidents by either child! For me, I am singing Hallelujah! I didn’t know if I was quite ready before, but you end up kind of feeding off the excitement of each other. I was happy, they were happy and pretty soon we were all dancing in the kitchen. The potty dance is a real thing!
A few tips for long term success:
I knew I needed to maintain success without having to buy a new princess dress or give Heath a plate of nachos every time they went to the bathroom. That just isn’t practical obviously.
- I printed out a couple of charts, a Cars (printable here) one for Heath and a Pinkalicious (printable here) one for Reese, taped it to the bathroom door and now they can put a sticker on whenever they have success. After filling an entire row I will give them a treat! I still am doing diapers at night and during nap time, but that will come! One step at a time. Tonight I am celebrating a successful potty training weekend which will hopefully cycle into a successful week and month and so on and so forth.
- Get a potty chair that fits on the regular toilet seat. While I haven’t done this part yet, it has been super successful with my other kids. We have this one in each of our bathrooms and this one, I keep in a bag in my diaper bag for those times we are out in the real world. It helps them not be afraid of “falling in!”
- Lastly and most importantly, don’t give up and be patient. There will be accidents. That’s ok! They won’t last forever. Just breathe and realize this is normal!
Good Luck! This is a majorly intimidating experience for every parent. No matter how many times you have done it, it never gets less intimidating. If you have any tips, share them below. Not that I plan on having anymore kids, but others out there I am sure will! So share your expertise!