Potty Training DOs and DON’Ts
Potty Training DOs and DON’Ts
Do you think your toddler might be ready to start using the potty? June is Potty Training Awareness Month so we asked our readers for their tips when it comes to potty training. Many of these seasoned moms have been through potty training of several children and can attest that every child is different. Don’t panic! Take a look through our tips and share your own stories with our readers to remind everyone that they are not alone in the potty struggle.
Potty Training DOs:
DO Follow Their Pace
The fact is, kids will potty train when they are ready and you can’t really push them into learning before their time. Follow your child’s pace and lower your expectations of when they “should” be potty training.
“Let them lead the way, don’t push them. This is not something you want a battle for control over.” Genevieve M.
DO Talk About the Potty
The more you talk about the potty, using the restroom, and bodily functions, the less mystery there is and the more comfortable your child will be in communicating when they have to go. Make sure your child knows the appropriate words to tell you what’s going on (whether you say “number one and number two” or more direct terms).
“Introduce them to the potty, read a few potty-related stories and books, and then back off and let them figure it out. When they are ready, they’ll let you know. Really.” Sarah S.
DO Use Tools and Props
There are many useful tips and tricks you can use to make potty training easier on both parent and child. Public restrooms and their many distractions, toilet paper shenanigans, and general lack of awareness can make using the bathroom a real pain. These tips from potty-savvy moms are real lifesavers.
“I carried sticky notes in my purse for automatic toilets in stores. Put it on the sensor before they sit down on the toilet so that it doesn’t flush under them. One of my kids had a major setback because one flushed under her and scared her.” Stacy C.
“We have a tape line to mark how much toilet paper to unroll at a time.” Terra J.
“A drop of dish soap in the potty and encouragement to make bubbles can help boys with aim.” Meg R.
DO Use Appropriate Rewards
While there’s research on either side of using food as a reward for young kids, a couple small tokens are probably worth the peace of mind. You can use individual candies or berries, stickers, or other rewards to help reinforce the results you want.
“My child got a jelly bean for each successful attempt. And mama got chocolate after having to clean up each unsuccessful attempt.” Marissa G.
“We started with M&Ms and a sticker chart, but I really just had to wait for her to be ready.” Andrea H.
“We didn’t do treats, but we sang a song and did a dance if they went.” Jessica R.
DO Prepare for Accidents
Even if your child is getting the hang of things, remember to pack a backup outfit and diapers in case of emergencies. Also, nighttime potty training can take a while longer than daytime training, so protect your child’s mattress with a waterproof pad!
Naturepedic has two 2-in-1 mattresses that are waterproof on one side (crib/toddler size and twin & up for big kids), which are great for the potty training transition years. When your child is fully trained, flip the mattress to its quilted side for a cozier sleep surface. And we always recommend our organic waterproof pads, made with soft organic cotton fabric and an ultra-thin waterproof barrier - it protects against leaks like a pro!
Potty Training DON’Ts:
DON’T Compare Notes
Potty training is different from child to child, even within the same family. It can be disheartening to know that your neighbor’s kid potty trained at age two and your four year old still isn’t there yet, or you might be frustrated your first child potty trained easily and your second is taking longer. Each child is different, and it’s all a variation of normal. Try not to worry!
“There is no ‘right way’ to potty train. Each kid is different and needs different tricks. Just because your neighbor’s kid trained one way, don’t let them tell you that YOU have to do it that way!” Katie C.
“My kids were completely different. My daughter got the hang of going potty during daytime by age two but took until age five to stop wetting the bed. My son wasn’t ready until almost three, but he stopped having accidents night and day at the same time, just a couple of days in.” Jennifer Z.
Punishing your child for accidents will set you back in your potty training journey. It’s hard to stay positive and keep a smile on your face when you’re cleaning dirty underwear for the hundredth time this week, but do your best to stay calm and not punish, demean, or yell at your learning child. It’s a process.
“Don’t punish for accidents or they’ll be even more afraid to go potty and will start hiding from you when they need to use the bathroom. Cleaning up messes isn’t fun, but if I ever got frustrated I’d go take a mommy time-out and come back with a smile to keep it positive.” Jennifer Z.
DON’T Potty Train
Say what? Yes, that’s right! Don’t stress about potty training your child or thinking you are solely responsible for teaching them how to use the toilet. If you model the behavior and answer their questions, they will get to it on their own. There are tips and tricks that help move things along, of course, but really it all boils down to your child being ready. And for many kids, that’s a pretty hands-off process!
“Don’t potty train. Let kiddo see YOU potty constantly. When our daughter wanted to use the potty, I let her. But I never made her do it or even encouraged her. I cheered her when she used it. When she asked for underwear, we put underwear on. If she had an accident, I’d say ‘When you make a mess in life, you clean it up’ and give her what she needed to clean it up (with supervision and help of course). If she had a few accidents I’d say ‘Back to diapers today, we’ll try again tomorrow.’ One day we just never needed to go back to diapers.” Misty W.
“I don’t potty train. Besides children with developmental delays or medical reasons, how many kids in Pre-K do you see in diapers? Zero. They’ll do it when they’re ready.” Emily M.
“Follow the child. My son was trained early and people have asked me a hundred times how I did it. I didn’t, he did! I just followed his lead. He was two and a half and fully potty trained.” Sarah S.
“We had one summer with everyone home, and there were eight or nine adults in the house at any given time. We got to talking one day and realized that not one of us had changed a dirty diaper in a week. Then we all remembered seeing unflushed toilets all week. My daughter potty trained herself in secret!” Alx G.
Share Your Stories
We love sharing tips and tricks for families going through this tough process, so share your own stories, DOs, and DON’Ts for us!