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I have no idea how we got here, but somehow or another we have a toddler who is deep in the throes of potty training. And guys, it’s hard. We are totally flying blind here, with a smart, headstrong boy who likes to make his own decisions and won’t be told when it’s time to go. Needless to say, it can be frustrating (understatement of the year) for all of us. We keep watching all of his little buddies have major potty training victories and I just keep searching for the tricks that will help us get there! I figured we’re not alone in this, so I thought it would be good to share some of what is actually working for us (and a bit of what definitely isn’t).
A Reward System Early on I was ready to try anything. Everybody told me “Give him mini M&Ms!” No kidding, mom after mom swore by mini M&Ms as a reward every time the kid would use the potty. But for Henry, this didn’t work. It would get him all frustrated and freaked out and eventually he just started saying he didn’t want them at all. So I went old school and made him a good old fashioned sticker chart. Sixteen squares to fill. The first time, he would get a sticker every time he sat on the potty. He filled that quickly, so the second time he would only get a sticker if he actually went. After the charts fill up, we take him to his favorite bakery and he gets to pick out a cookie. Sometimes we also throw in a small toy or surprise too. He gets super pumped and proud of himself every time he gets a sticker.
Supplies We got him some underwear that he was pretty excited about, but he’s just not ready to wear them without accidents. So a happy medium and a brilliant solution has been Pampers Easy Ups Training Underwear. When you’re potty training and the kid is on and off the potty all day long, it’s exhausting and wasteful to keep changing diapers. The Easy Ups pull on and off like underwear, and fit and feel like underwear, but they protect like Pampers (our fave diapers for both kids). Best of both worlds. Henry feels like they’re for “big kids,” and it’s way easer for us to help him in and out of them. He’s actually learning to do it himself. The Easy Ups actually won the 2017 Best New Product Award, and I totally get why. As a parent, you just want something that will work.
Books Henry is a major reader, and we’ve found that if he’s sitting on the potty and needs some time to figure things out, he’ll stay there if he’s got a book in his hand. His favorite? Where’s Waldo. For reals. He’ll sit there forever and find all these crazy little details. If he doesn’t have a book, he’ll just get up and run away, which usually results in an accident.
Let it Flow This one totally makes me laugh. But if I know that Henry needs to go, and he’s sitting there and stubbornly not going, I can turn on the bath water and almost 100% of the time it’ll get things flowing. He’s such a stubborn little dude, and he’s learned how to hold it when we ask him to use the potty. But this is kind of my secret weapon. 😉
So listen. If you’ve got more tips for us, we are all ears! Leave a comment and let me know what’s worked for you in the past. I feel like we’re about halfway through this whole potty training journey, and I’m so excited to come out the other end! xoxo
6 thoughts on “Potty Training // What’s Working and What’s Not”
Great tips! How old was Henry when you started potty training? I’m wondering when to start with my daughter who is 21 months, but seems interested in the potty. I also think pull ups is a no brainer. Who wants soiled underpants everywhere in the beginning?
pull ups are great for out and about and if you don’t want mess but the child needs to feel what happens when they go – the discomfort of wet undies is helpful for them to get to the potty. so be prepared at home with towels on the floor, wipes, lots of loads in the washing machine and lots of time to sit with her and keep trying! we are about to start with #2 and i can see it’s going to take some time and encouragement.
I agree – pull ups are best for when you’re not at home, and overnight. I’m sure there are a million other little things you do to help progress, but here are a few extra:
1. Whenever you leave the house, ask him to sit on the potty/ toilet. He’ll protest “I don’t have to go” but gently respond with “that’s okay, you just have to try.” No biggie if nothing happens, but it’s helps develop awareness and the habit. You can also do it when/ if he has to wash his hands after playing outside and/ or before meals or snacks, before getting changed out of or into PJs, etc…
2. If you (or Ryan) are out and about, and you need to use the bathroom, ask him to go/ try too.
3. If it’s possible, lots of outside play time either naked or just in undies helps. At the very least, you’re only washing undies, not entire changes of clothes.
He was maybe 26 months or so when he started showing interest. He sometimes doesn’t seem as into it as other kids his age, but all kids just figure it out on their own time!
“Excited to COME OUT ON THE OTHER END” is maybe THE BEST wording to describe potty training ever.
Hahaha! Totally unintentional. 😉