It’s getting to be that time again. I’m cringing at the thought of it. My evil mommy nemesis. What part of motherhood can make me cringe at the very thought of it? Potty training. Baby girl is now 2 and is really starting to show the signs of being ready to start potty training. And as awful as I may sound, this is the one part of parenting that I wish I could fast forward. It took me almost a year to get my son potty trained. Within that year, we moved twice, my husband left on an extended business trip, and I started working outside the home. With these constant changes, it was very difficult to potty train. I’m hoping that I don’t run into the same road blocks with my daughter. So here’s some tips that I learned from my first potty training experience.
- Prep Yourself! While many of us are so busy watching our toddlers to make sure they’re ready to start potty training, make sure you take time to make sure you’re ready. I’ve already attempted round number 1 with my daughter, and failed miserably mainly because I wasn’t ready. I was having several doctor appointments and my medicine kept getting changed. It’s hard enough sometimes adjusting to new medicine without the added pressure of potty training. I especially had some bad side effects of one of my medicines, so I made sure that I took time out to get myself squared away first. Remember, you are no good to anyone else if you haven’t taken care of yourself first. So make sure you get plenty of rest, and if needed reach out to family and friends to help.
- Prep your house. You really want to pick one room to stay in for the first few days to keep the inevitable accidents contained. I picked our upstairs living room because it’s all hardwood floors. I rolled up my area rug and tucked it under my couch for safe keeping. I pull out a few toys and books and closed up all the bedrooms. Keep in mind that every child is different, so I suggest knowing what toys, books, or movies your little one really enjoys. You don’t want them so enthralled that they forget to use the potty, but you want something that will keep their attention longer than a minute. I would also go ahead and do some prep work in your kitchen. Get your snacks and drinks ready. Prep some crock pot or freezer meals so you don’t have to worry too much about dinner.
- Ditch the Pull-ups. This one can be difficult but it’s really easier if you ditch the diapers and pull-ups all together. It can be a bit confusing for toddlers and they will be inclined to potty in the pull-up instead. I suggest getting some good fitting cotton underwear for your little one. What else you put on your child is up to you. Some just throw on a t-shirt while some use leg warmers or socks. And still there are some parents who let their little ones run around with nothing on at all for the first day or so. Do what’s comfortable for you and your little one.
- Lots of fluids and dry snacks. Your little one is learning to recognize the sensation and feeling of needing to go to the bathroom. You’ll want to make sure to give them plenty of fluids so they’ll need to use the bathroom frequently. The dry snacks help keep them thirsty because after a while they’ll get tired of drinking.
- Set a timer. Timers are a good way to stay mindful about the task at hand. That may sound redundant, but it’s easy for you and your little one to get caught up with playing or watching that potty dvd for the 20th time or so. Some recommend to set the timer for every 15 minutes, but that was a little much for my daughter. She got annoyed by how often I was asking her to sit on the potty. Try a few different times and see what works best for you.
- Be patient! Be patient with your toddler, and be patient with yourself. This is not an overnight learning curve. There will be accidents. There might even be some tantrums and meltdowns, parents included. Don’t get caught up in the Mommy and Pinterest wars. If little Tommy from down the street potty trained in one weekend, great for him. But don’t force your little one to uphold the same timetable. Remember, every child is different, every parent is different. Ultimately, you need to do what’s best for you and your little one.