If you’re anything like me, you’ll think about potty training for quite awhile before you actually start, and by awhile, I mean months and months. I kept thinking that if we reached a certain milestone, we would then start the potty training process. I told myself, “she will be ready when she turns two,” “after thanksgiving we will start,” “after Christmas,” “after New Years for sure,” and lastly, “after our family is completely healthy.” Can you relate to this procrastination?
Others may continually ask you, “is your child potty trained yet?” They give you an expression like potty training just magically happens overnight. You know the expression I’m talking about. The one that says “my child has been potty trained for 32 months” and “I hope your kid is potty trained before third grade.”
Let me start by telling you, you’re doing a great job. By choosing to read this, shows that you have at least put forth some sort of effort on your part in preparing for potty training. I understand the reservation to get started because it is a huge commitment and you want to make sure your child is “ready.” Let me help you determine if your child is ready and provide you with some tools to help you prepare.
Here are five indicators that show your child may be ready for the potty training party:
1. Your child is showing interest in all things potty related. Whether that means playing potty with his or her fisher price little people, or asking questions when a family member goes to the bathroom.
2. Your child can verbalize words and communicate “I have to go potty” or “I went poo poo.”
3. Hearing “I went poo poo” or “my diaper is full” indicates that your child doesn’t like a dirty diaper.
4. If your child stops, squats, or hides in order to go the bathroom in his/her diaper. This clearly shows that they are aware of their urge to go pee pee or poo poo.
5. And last but not least, when your child can copy your habits (even with a little assistance) such as walking to the bathroom, closing the toilet lid, flushing the toilet, and stepping up on the stool to wash their hands.
Whether or not your child checks off zero of the indicators above or all five indicators, here are five things you can do with your child in preparation of potty training:
1. Get them excited and stay positive! Talk about the fun underwear he or she can pick out to wear and the fun prizes that he or she may receive.
2. Consider allowing your child to see a parent of the same sex go potty. This may help them to not be scared, familiarize themselves with the process, and encourages them that they can do it too.
3. Brace yourself for this one… Show them the pee pee or poo poo in the potty. Yep, that’s right, I said it. My husband is probably shaking his head at this one. But once they see that it’s normal for the pee pee and poo poo to go in the potty, they will want to be just like mommy or daddy.
4. Look at the calendar and choose a good starting date. Find a week where there is less on your schedule. This is important because you will need to dedicate a lot of time to work with them.
5. Demonstrate to them how you flush, wash your hands, and “be on your way” (for all the Daniel Tiger fans out there). As you do so, I highly encourage you to sing the Daniel Tiger potty songs with your children.
Here are a few of those tunes that will help. If you’re unfamiliar with the tune of the song, YouTube it… you will thank me later.
“When you have to go potty, stop, and go right away, flush and wash and be on your way”
“Go potty, go potty, go potty go, oh, why don’t you sit and try to go?”
“Do you have to go potty, maybe yes, maybe no, why don’t you sit and try to go?”
Enjoy getting those songs stuck in your head for the next 2-3 months.
Last thing on the agenda is shopping items to get when you are preparing for potty training:
1. Potty seat.
√ There are so many different potty training toilets, but I highly recommend the seat inserts for your potty because a) there is no clean up (hopefully), b) they get familiarized with “the big potty” and aren’t afraid of the transition from their tiny potty, and c) when you go other places, they will be used to a big potty. All it will take is a toilet seat liner/toilet paper and a parent to hold them over a big seat.
Here is the Summer Infant 2-in-1 Toilet Trainer that we have in our home, as well as the Munchkin Sturdy Potty Seat that we have purchased for our grandparent’s home at a great price of only $9.99. Side note: the Munchkin removable seat has an optional hook available for purchase in order to hang it when it’s not in use.
√ Make it a fun trip to the store, and allow your child to pick out their own underwear so that they are actually excited about wearing it.
3. Prizes or treats.
√ You can reward your child with a prize or treat if extra incentive is needed.
4. A potty training chart with stickers.
√ Because what kid doesn’t love stickers? You can easily purchase one from amazon or make one yourself. Here is one that we purchased for our home in preparation.
5. Coffee… for yourself.
√ Potty training may take a little extra time and energy, and nothing beats a hot cup of coffee (that doesn’t get cold) during their sweet, peaceful nap time.
Most importantly, remember that you will have easy days and challenging days. One of the most vital aspects of potty training is simply sticking with it, and who knows… You may just be impressed with how smooth things go. Maybe even better than expected!
Books to consider adding to your collection during potty training preparation:
- Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel (my personal favorite as I still have the girl version I read as a little child) and click here for the boy version.
- Everyone Poops (my husband’s personal favorite)
- Potty by Leslie Paticelli (we love all of Leslie Paticelli’s books)
- Potty Time! (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) by Scarlett Wing
If you have any questions related to potty training preparation, please comment below!
XO, KATLIN LINDSEY