The thought of Potty Training my toddler terrified me more than labor. Thinking about all of the accidents, the asking "do you need to use the potty" every 15 minutes, the middle of the night bathroom breaks, etc. made me put off potty training my son until he was almost 3 (2 years and 9 months to be precise.) We were strategic in our timing since our son had already had some big changes that year: the birth of his sister, moving to a big boy bed, and lots of travel. He started to show "signs" of readiness earlier but I truly believe his success in potty training (underwear by day 3, a handful of accidents over the course of a year, and out of Pullups at bedtime and nap-time after 2 months) was waiting until he was old enough to grasp exactly what "potty training" was.
In preparation of this daunting task, I read countless blogs, scoured Pinterest, and read this 3-day Potty Training Book on the recommendation of some mom friends. I came up with a game plan that combined the 3 day method, a sticker chart with prizes, Thomas the Train Pull Ups, and Paw Patrol undies.
We started day 1 by introducing the sticker chart and showing Gavin his new Thomas the Train Potty (he's a HUGE fan of trains) and explaining how he was a big boy and how exciting it is that he'll get to wear underwear, etc. We also purchased this seat so he could practice on the regular toilet since we didn't want him to think he only could use the mini potty since they are disgusting when you really think about it! We kicked ours to the curb after the first week!
The first day we had him try every 30 minutes and gave him an M&M every time he tried and 2 every time he was able to go. He also got a sticker for each successful attempt and every 5 stickers he received a small prize from a bin full of little toys I had purchased in preparation. This kid is super motivated by prizes so it worked well for us and by the end of the day he was telling us when he needed to go.
On day 2, we ventured out (the book is against this but I couldn't stay cooped up) and he wore a pullup. He needed to pee when we were at Target and he went with no issues in the restroom! We carried this travel seat around for the first few weeks so he could easily go when we were out. They also have little bags for easy clean up if you're on roadtrips or out at the park, etc.
By day 3, he was really getting it and we continued the candy and sticker rewards for the next week. We switched him to some fun underwear that he loved and was so excited to wear! We also bought some training underwear that has more padding so little accidents aren't so messy.
We've had a few hiccups over the past year but overall potty training wasn't nearly as bad as I built it up to be in my head. I hope your journey to no more diapers is a success as well!
Here are my 5 tips for surviving the first week of potty training!
- Be prepared! Have lots of fun activities, new toys and games, and snacks to keep your toddler entertained.
- Expect Messes. Accidents will happen, so make sure you've loaded up on cleaning supplies and lay out towels on your furniture!
- Buy a seat for the big toilet. Getting your kiddo used to the full size toilet early will make using the potty in public much less intimidating!
- Don't be afraid of rewards. It's not that hard to phase them out! You won't be giving your 10 year old M&M's every time he uses the restroom so don't stress if you're afraid they will always expect rewards.
- Make it fun! I tried to cherish this time we had dedicated to being home and focused on Gavin! We made sure to have plenty of wine on hand (for the parents lol) and really celebrated every success Gavin had in potty training. I tried to cherish this focused time on Gain