There comes a time in the life of a toddler when the diaper is no longer a solution. But potty training is no easy task for neither of you.
You’re looking at messes and frustration, but the real hassle is for the kid. Accustomed to peeing and pooping into a diaper, the anxiety of stepping out of the comfort zone and starting to use the loo might be overwhelming.
These 32 real-mom potty training tips are meant to help you potty train your toddler quick and easy, in only a few days.
1. Patience, Patience, Patience
Potty training isn’t easy and accidents happen. You’ll have to gather pee from the middle of the floor and your kid could use poo to create original wall art. But don’t let this discourage you. Take a breath, pour yourself a glass or two of wine, and hold your horses.
Remember that your mom had patience when she potty trained you; by losing your temper and yelling at your kids you’ll only discourage them to use the potty, which can result in a longer, harsher, and exhausting potty training experience for everyone involved.
2. Make Potty Training Fun
Most unsuccessful stories about teaching the toddler to use the loo happen because the child is frightened and doesn’t want to step out of the comfort zone. Turning potty training into a fun and surprising experience, however, can easily stimulate them to use the portable potty and subsequently the loo.
The easiest way to turn this into a fun experience is with reusable potty training stickers.
These blank stickers go on the bottom of a portable potty; substances in the stickers react with the pee and form an image, such as a butterfly, a train, a fire truck, or a flower.
Once you clean and dry the potty, the image disappears only to emerge again the next time your toddler is peeing in the potty.
The stickers last for up to six weeks, which should be enough time to train your kid to use the loo.
3. Communicate With The Child
Potties can easily intimidate or even frighten a child. That’s why it is important to talk to your toddler, explain what a portable potty is. Explain why she can’t use diapers forever. Ask her what are her fears and doubts.
You’ll be surprised to find out that your kid doesn’t use the potty for a very specific reason. And more often than not, the problem is simple to fix.
What you shouldn’t do is to force your child to use the loo without asking and answering all her doubts.
4. Use A Timer
You certainly have a timer in your kitchen. If you don’t, use an app. Regardless of what you use to track the time, use a timer that emits a clear sound when it’s time to use the potty.
Why? Because young kids love routine. A sleeping routine helps them soothe and fall asleep faster. A potty training routine reminds them to use the loo instead of the diaper.
When the timer goes off, just walk with the kid in the bathroom and encourage her to do the business. Your efforts might not only be successful but the kiddo will certainly get the idea of how things work in the grown-ups world.
Now, that’s not a nice tip but sometimes bribing comes in handy. And many real moms swear that bribing really works without important consequences in other fields.
An easy way to bribe your kid is with candies. For instance, give the child two candies if she uses the potty to pee. Three candies if she uses it for #2, and four candies if she wipes herself after using the potty. Obviously, you don’t really have to use candies – whatever you use the concept is the same. Bribe, bribe, bribe.
6. Set Examples
Children learn how to behave by imitating their parents’ behavior. So, use yourself as an example for your kid. Here, it is essential for the moms to set examples for their girls while the dads will have to step in to teach the boys how to use the potty.
Literally, just take the kid with you in the bathroom when you have to go and show how adults deal with the business.
Buying the child grown-up underwear can also boost motivation, as the kid will identify easier with the mom or dad.
7. Invest In A Toddler Urinal
Teaching a girl how to pee in a potty is usually a mess-free process. Things are slightly different with the boys, especially if the kid wants to pee standing up, just like his dad. But you can minimize messes by investing in a toddler urinal.
These potties are fun to use. Equipped with spinners, targets, and other fun games, toddler urinals teach the kid how to aim. Yes, it could take time to achieve the desired effect, but it’s well worth the effort.
8. Express Satisfaction
Another thing that could motivate your kid to use the potty is your happiness. Don’t be afraid to praise your little one every time she uses the potty. Also, don’t be afraid to show sadness when she uses the diaper or worse, the floor.
9. Inoffensive Lies
While training a toddler to pee in a potty is fairly easy, things are harder with the #2, and it’s easy to understand why. To be honest, this potty training part is crappy for everyone involved, kid included. And he might just be grossed out by the smell, look, and consistency of the poo.
If you’ve tried everything and your child still refuses to do #2 in the potty, a mom from Pennsylvania suggests using inoffensive lies to determine your little one to use the loo.
For instance, she told her kid that poop goes out to the sea when flushed, where it turns into fish food. Now, before being outraged by the idea… have you ever told your kid Santa Claus exists? If yes, just use an inoffensive lie this time too.
10. Set Up A Routine
I already mentioned the importance of a routine, but setting a timer is hardly enough. Just establish a strong routine; for instance, start with a potty pee first thing in the morning, before you go out, and before bath time.
During the rest of the day, just use the timer to remind you and the child when it’s time to go.
11. Figure Out The Fears
According to specialists, some kids are afraid to use the potty because they believe #2 is literally a part of themselves, and are frightened to watch it flush away.
The easiest thing to overcome this fear is by explaining to your kid how things work. A child anatomy book can certainly help explain the route of the food and the various processes that interest the bowel. More often than not, this simple trick can determine the kid to ditch the diaper.
12. Find The Right Rewards
Not all kids can be bribed with candies. Some are more interested in other things, such as toys. For a successful potty training, just learn the preferences of your child – or propose different rewards until you find one that works.
13. Ditch The Diapers
Nothing feels weirder on the skin that a pair of soaked or soiled underwear. And I promise your child won’t like the feeling. So, a great way to potty training is to ditch the diapers altogether.
This is one of the most efficient, but also one of the harshest, methods to use. Prepare to deal with big messes and a fussy child every time she wets herself. Yet, now it’s the time to remember tip number one. So, just arm yourself with patience and use normal underwear instead of a diaper.
14. Start From A Familiar Location
Most moms are tempted to place the potty directly into the bathroom. Yet, this environment is new to the child. And new equals intimidating.
A better way to start potty training is from a familiar location, such as the living room or even the nursery.
Move the potty closer and closer to the bathroom as the days pass until you reach your final destination. At this stage, you can introduce the kid to the toilet.
15. On The Road Tricks
Using public restrooms is often intimidating even for adults, especially when #2 is involved. But for young kids who just got familiar with the potty, using a public restroom can be a reason of stress. Deal with it by limiting the distractions.
For instance, if the restroom has an auto-flushing function, just cover the sensor with a post-it note. Using a removable seat is also a great way to bring some familiarity into the foreign environment.
16. Pimp Up That Potty
Potties are typically attractive enough to draw the interest of the little one, but you can always use some pimping up to make it even more attractive. Place stickers on the exterior of the potty and invest in a target for boy training.
It is also important to make the potty appealing by talking to the kid. If she doesn’t want to use it, just tell her you’d love to see her in diapers forever; sometimes, the toddler will start using the potty just to do the opposite of what you say.
17. Skip Training Pants
Training pants, as their name says, are designed to help the kid learn how to use the potty. But sometimes they are just confusing the child and could have the opposite effect. There is an easy way to avoid this, skip the training pants altogether.
Training pants are similar to big-boys underwear but are lined with a waterproof layer that keeps leaks inside until the child is changed.
While this sounds awesome in terms of keeping your house clean, it could be an awful idea in terms of potty training outcome. Most kids don’t see a difference between the training pants and the diapers, and they will just go into the pants. Avoid this by dressing your kid in traditional underwear as soon as you start potty training.
18. Buy Attractive Underwear
And underwear it is. But which? Moms suggest investing in attractive underwear. Pick garments featuring your kid’s favorite characters or cute patterns she loves. This will determine her to avoid wetting the panties to make them last for long.
19. Set Goals
Setting goals can also help. For instance, set the goal to start using the big toilet – and not the potty – until the last stash of diapers runs out. Or until your child turns three if the birthday is on its way.
Most kids have a competitive nature and setting goals stimulates. Fix a reward if the goal is achieved within the stated terms to stimulate your kid even more.
20. Make It A Game
Potty training is crappy, but you can easily transform it into a fun game. Invest in two or three different potties and place them in different rooms. For instance, place one in the living room, one in the nursery, and one in the bathroom.
Set the timer and every time it goes off let the child pick which potty to use. It’s not only the model and the color to stimulate the kid, but also the possibility to choose the favorite environment.
21. Teach The Boys To Sit Down
Potty training a boy is way messier than potty training a girl due to obvious reasons. But things can get way better if you teach your toddler to sit down while doing his #1.
In fact, it is a common misconception that men have to pee while standing. In many cultures, especially in Europe, parents teach the boys to pee sitting down. This not only helps potty training, but it will keep your bathroom cleaner in the long run.
22. Late Night Checks
If bedwetting is a frequent issue, get used to waking up your child for late night checks. A trip to the loo in the middle of the night is better than an ugly and smelly stain on the mattress.
23. Let Them See The Mess
A quick way to teach your kid why potty is better is by making them see the mess in a diaper. Toddlers can poop quite a lot and the size of their business can be impressive. So, just tell the kid why it’s better for it to end up in the loo than in a tiny diaper.
If they are still not convinced, encourage your toddler to wipe herself after going #2 in a diaper. I guarantee a rapid potty training.
24. Think Outside The Box
Potty training involves a potty. Most parents think of it as a portable potty, but sometimes letting your kid go straight onto the big toilet could be a better idea. This is particularly helpful if the child is not really interested in portable potties.
To help the kid feel secure, one mom suggests placing the kid on the toilet seated backward. In this way, the child will feel secure and potty training will be a breeze.
25. Keep The Water Running
The sound of running water can encourage the kids to do their business on the potty or on the loo. The best way to start this routine is by putting the kid on the potty while preparing his bath. Once he learned to associate the sound of water with the potty, start running the water even when you’re not preparing the bath, such as early in the morning or throughout the day.
26. Teach By Example
This time, teaching by example doesn’t involve you. It involves all animals instead. If the kid is afraid to use the potty, teach him that all animals do their business in more or less the same way. If you have pets, that’s even better.
Show the kid the garden and explain that his furry friend is doing its business on the grass. Or show him the cat’s litter.
Explain that yellow snow in the winter is the result of a pet urinating on it. By understanding the thing is natural, your kid will have all the reasons to start using the bathroom.
27. Use A Child Sized Toilet
This is a straightforward suggestion. Kids can be intimidated by the big toilet bowl and may feel like they are falling into it. Fortunately, there are many child-sized toilets to use, including removable seats which give comfort to the little one.
28. Start At The Right Age
Potty training won’t work if you start too soon because your kid might not be able to control his sphincters. The ideal age to start potty training is between two and three years old.
Usually, you’ll know when to start because the kid will start mentioning having to do his business before going into the diaper. Some kids could even show an interest in starting to use the toilet on his own, especially if he sees you or the dad using the toilet.
29. Color The Water
A nice trick to motivate a child to use the loo is by allowing your toddler to choose the color of the water in the bowl.
Invest in food dye of all possible colors and let the kid pick one each time she uses the loo. After she’s done her business, just flush and add a few drops of dye in the bowl. Easy, and fortunately for us parents, kids get all excited about trivial things.
30. Track The Progress
To accelerate the process, track the progress of your child and write it down. Make a schedule and set up goals with your kid. Stick the schedule in the kid’s bedroom and mark each goal achieved within the estimated timeframe.
By tracking the progress, you’ll also be able to estimate how often your kid has to use the loo and set the timer accordingly.
31. Limit Access To Toilet Paper
This tip is related to potty training but is more of a money-saver. Don’t give your toddler full access to the toilet paper roll.
Limit its use or this potty training could cost you a fortune in terms of wasted toilet paper.
32. Read About It
Lastly, make potty training fun with toddler books. There are dozens to choose from, and these potty training stories are inspiring and educative at the same time.
Use just one book if the child expresses a preference or several books if she finds the same story boring. And don’t forget, perseverance is key to potty training success.