Potty training a child can be a daunting task. It really can be. I have two boys and my youngest just turned three years old last weekend and he has been in underwear now outside the house for two weeks now! I am a happy mommy because he is doing so well.
But it wasn’t easy at first.
My first mistake with both of my boys was starting too early. Now I know that you have those elimination communication methods out there and I know they work for some people, but for us and my oldest, it just didn’t work. I was training myself to put my child on the potty at certain times I know he would eliminate, and all the work was on me, not my child. It works for some but didn’t work for us.
I also started potty training with both my boys pretty early. The risk of starting too early is feeling like a failure. The truth is, you are not a failure and neither is your child. Most children, simply are not ready before the age of 2 and a half. In my work with children over the last five years, I can safely say most girls are not ready to start potty training until they are 2.5 and boys until they are three.
Despite our early failed attempts at potty training both my boys were potty trained right at the age of three. That is when it clicked with my boys.
I’ve found that what makes things hard in the potty training department for parents is not being fully prepared. My hardest moments were bringing my newly potty trained child out and about and having accidents. I’d forget to bring an extra set of clothes, I had nowhere to put the wet clothes, I feared using a public restroom with small children that touch everything, then immediate touch their mouths. It’s scary, frustrating and can be stressful, which can lead to setbacks. Before I get to the “On the go essentials kit”, let’s talk about the early stages of potty training.
The Early Stages: Develop a Reward System
If your child can understand a reward system and is good with sticker charts, Dee Dee and Dooley makes a reusable sticker chart system that is fun for kids! Now the difference in this sticker chart system is that it’s a game! Kids love games and it’s simple enough for a two or three-year-old to understand. Playing the game can be fun for your child when he knows it’s a race for “Dee Dee” and “Doo” to beat out the “oopsies”. With Braidy when he was two, he could care less about stickers. But with this static cling potty progress game, it helps your child be in control of the outcome of the game. Now you can use the chart itself as a fun game to be played at potty breaks, or use it in combination with a reward system. I encourage parents to first try the game without a reward system, let the game make potty breaks fun because sometimes adding a reward can lead to always wanting or needing a reward after eliminating on the potty and can lead to setbacks down the road when those things are eventually taken away.
Show your child their success on the chart and let them put the static cling stickers on the chart themselves. And since this is a static cling chart, the stickers are reusable and can be moved back to the side of the chart at the end of everyday.
For us, my child did so much better when we set a timer every 15-20 minutes. If you are home with your child, making sure you have a couple of nonactive weeks to work with your child on this is key. If your child is in preschool or day care, much of the time, your child is potty trained right along with their peers, so making sure you know how he’s doing at school can help you continue in the potty training efforts at home.
Having a portable potty chair nearby when the child is playing helps because it’s a constant reminder to use it in those early stages. It can be hard for them to get to the potty on time and they don’t understand “hold it”. It’s a muscle that hasn’t been established yet. Also letting your child run around in underwear with no extra clothing on can be helpful in the early stages as well.
We also invested in two potty seats that attach to our toilet so we don’t have to empty the potty or deal with the yuckiness of cleaning a portable potty.
We use this in combination with the little looster’s step stool that neatly fits around your toilet and doesn’t need to be moved when adults use the restroom.
After your child goes to the potty, they always love flushing, putting Dee Dee and Dooley’s potty progress game right on the tank of the toilet can be a good reminder to play the game each time.
The hardest part about potty training is when you are on the go!
When you are sure your child is ready to ditch the pull-up and go out and about in underwear, this is where parents can have big setbacks. First off expect an accident or two when you are out somewhere. It will happen, but be prepared for it ahead of time. Most of my frustration with my kids and public accidents was not being prepared enough.
Get Your Potty Training On The Go Essentials Kit Ready!
1. Get yourself the Summer Piddle Pad. This neat inexpensive little pad sits right on top of your car seat and its only $10 on amazon right now. If your child wets his clothes, you simply remove the pad instead of disassembling your car seat to clean the mess. Just add this to your wash.
2. Don’t ditch the diaper bag yet! I know I know, you really are tired of carrying around that darn diaper bag. But don’t ditch it yet! You can have that cute purse, but keep the diaper bag in the car ready for when you need it. While you might not be packing bottles, diaper rash creams, snack and sippy cups, you will need it for things like extra underwear, pants, and a wet bag for those accidents that are bound to happen. Make sure the wet bag zips closed to keep in smells.
3. Be prepared to use a public restroom with your child and make that your first stop when you get to a new place before you fill your cart up with things. Visit the restroom first before sitting down to eat, shop, or anything that might make getting to the bathroom later, difficult.
- Bring Clorox disinfectant wipes. Just pick up the travel kind that fit right into your purse.
- Summer makes these awesome extra long disposable toilet seat covers. The worst part is setting your child on a toilet knowing their clothes or body parts are going to touch a toilet that may not have been cleaned in a while.
4. Have a travel potty in your car ready to go!
- Kalencom makes a 2-in-1 Potette Plus travel potty chair with an insert that absorbs pee. Simply open an insert and put it over the potty seat. When your child is done, you can throw it away. They even include bags to save it in if you are not close to a trash can. This is a great investment for those traveling families with toddlers or if you are always in the car. The potty chair folds out to fit over a regular toilet if you choose to use it that way too.
Braidy has used this potty chair right in the back of our SUV. I pulled over, got him out, opened the back and let him go when we were not close to a bathroom. It’s a life saver!
Investing in these things has made the second part of potty training a cake walk compared to the months we spent encouraging our child to use the potty when he was clearly not ready.
Now we are working on staying dry at nap time and at night.
Braidy has done great with his Dee Dee and Dooley potty progress game now that he’s three. Charts and stickers didn’t work so much when he was two, but he loves it now at the age of three. So it’s quite clear that timing is everything!
What are your tricks for making sure tots stay dry overnight?
Do you have anything you would add to the “Potty Training On The Go Essentials Kit?”
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