Potty training is, hands down, the one parenting hurdle that gave me a sense of accomplishment no diploma ever could. Years later, when one line turned into two pink ones, one of the thoughts that ran through my brain was “I’m going to have to teach someone to pee on the potty again.” And now here we are. I’ve put it off for as long as I could, now it’s time. Lucky for me, I acquired some tried and true tips for navigating the road to the “big potty”. And I’m happily sharing them with you.
Be bold and naked
Nothing is cuter than a character-covered tush. However, I found jumping from diaper to undies in one leap is counterproductive when it comes to potty training. As soon as my daughter got those bad boys on, it was wet city every time. On day two, while once again scrubbing the carpet, I thought maybe she was mistaking the feeling of her new undies for a diaper.
From that point on, my home became a nudist colony — population 1. It took one time of her peeing and not liking the sensation on her legs, and we haven’t had another accident since. Well, we still had accidents, just none while nude. This goes for Pull-Ups, too. Those are great for when you have to leave but ditch them at home — except for bedtime.
Non-candy rewards for the win
I tried offering everything from M&M’s to money when it came to potty bribery, but nothing worked. Actually, the candy worked too well and she asked to go potty every 5 seconds for her “special treat”. Who doesn’t like getting a toddler all hopped up on chocolate just before bed?
I searched for something bribery worthy that wasn’t edible or expensive. For us, it was stickers from the Dollar Store. I grabbed all the cool stickers I could find. I bought puffy ones, glittery ones, even ones that made squeaky noises when pushed. The more, ahem, effort on the potty, the fancier the sticker for her chart. The goal is to make it as exciting and rewarding as possible no matter what you choose.
Equip yourself for success
Toilet. Check. Adorable undies. Check. Outside of those two necessities, what else do you need? Like everything else when it comes to baby and kids stuff, you don’t really need much, but isn’t it nice to have? First off, you’ll want a good step stool that isn’t hideous but also won’t tip over on your area rug. This one from Little Partners, the 3-in-1 Growing Up Step Stool, comes in several finishes to match your decor, has handy handrails and three position adjustable height, and can easily be moved anywhere you need it. But before you get to wash your hands, you have to get down to business. The OXO Tot Potty Chair is a no frills, all business potty seat that is comfortable, easy to use, easy to clean and easy to store.
Leaving the house while potty training
The scariest thing about potty training might be leaving the house. What if you have an accident? How disgusting is the public bathroom going to be? What if you can’t find the bathroom? What if, what if, what if? As with any disaster, preparation is the key to survival. At this age you might not even be carrying a diaper bag anymore but when you’re on the potty training train, you do what you gotta do.
All good things in life start with a great bag. The Altogether Tote from Petunia Pickle Bottom, comes in 5 patterns, can fit whatever you need and then some, is wipeable and comes with its own changing pad, wipes case and a removable Take Along Changing Kit. When your potty training days are done, this bag will become your go-to swim/travel/overnight and beyond bag. I’m obsessed with it.
The next best thing to a great outside bag is a great inside bag, like this clever wet bag from Logan + Lenora. The Wet + Dry clutch is the perfect place to store the remnants of those potty training uh-oh’s while keeping everything else in your bag clean and dry. In the front pocket, I keep an extra Pull-Up or undies and my wipes.
Speaking of wipes, anyone else super picky about wipes? They can’t be too soft, too smelly, too thin, or too thick. My current favorite wipes are Bloom Baby Wipes. If you are worried about things such as allergens, impurities or skin irritants, these wipes are the ones for you. Bloom Baby Wipes are known as THE best wipes for sensitive babies as they are 98% made from natural ingredients and ultra-pure glacial water, infused with plant-derived vitamins for natural skin protection and healing.
Make sure you’re always prepared
I remember the first time I potty trained my husband refused to take our daughter to the potty because he said the men’s room’s were always disgusting. Well this time he has no excuses since I found a folding travel potty seat. Foldable, fits in your purse, non-slip, fits most toilets and comes in fun characters – what more can you ask for?
When my daughter was about 2, there was a girl in her gymnastics class who was about 6 months younger than her who was potty trained already. What? Upon finding this out I beat myself up about it. How could it be? What am I doing wrong? Turns out, nothing. This child was a freak of nature (I mean that in the nicest way of course) and comparing my kid to her, or any child for that matter wasn’t good for anyone.
In the end, my Audrey was just 2 weeks shy of her 3rd birthday when we finally ditched the diaper. This is a stressful time for your child and they really need to be ready and have it happen in their own time. Be patient, supportive, and at all times, no matter what’s on your carpet, have a positive and happy attitude.