I remember before I had kids and I would see people who had kids posting on Facebook about their kids pooping in the toilet. First of all, your kids aren’t going to see your congratulatory post on Facebook for them pooping in the potty. And second, WHO CARES?! From then on, I vowed I would NEVER be that mom who shared for all of social media, that my kid pooped on the potty.
But after having my own little guy and going through the hell that is potty training – yes I said hell – I totally understand what all the hubbub is about. So grab some wine, and maybe some notes, and let’s dive in.
There’s no way to tell if they’re ready
Let’s just get that out of the way now. I don’t care what anybody says – there’s no way to know. Even if they tell you themselves they wanna go on the potty, chances are that they don’t. They’re lying because kids are fun like that.
Pants off, potty central
Yep, take their pants and diapers off. Let them run free in a VERY closely monitored, small, enclosed area where they have easy access to the potty. Chances are you know when your little one has to go to the bathroom. Huddy used to like to hide behind the chair in our living room for a little privacy, or run to his room and shut the door.
Having the potty chair close by, in a small area, lets you monitor their body language and helps you both learn when they have to go, so they can get to the potty as fast and easy as possible.
Be prepared to not leave your house
A lot of resources say that if you’re going to take their pants off, be prepared to not leave your house for 3 days. This was true for us, but we were all also home on maternity leave after I’d had Harry and weren’t doing much going out anyway, so it worked out well.
The reason here is that you don’t want to A) put diapers back on them B) they’re not ready for underwear yet and C) you don’t want to have your kid pee all over the floor of some store because you had to go out for something.
Praise, praise and more praise
When your child does finally make it to the potty, you act like it is the biggest deal since sliced bread. Do a dance, sing a song, have a treat, and congratulate the hell out of your child. Tell them how proud you are of them and how BIG they are for going on the potty and not in their diaper or on the floor.
There will be pee (and likely poop) on your floor at some point
If you go the no-pants training method, be prepared for accidents. If you have hardwood floors where you can close your kiddo in while watching them, great! But chances are there will be an accident or two, and your reaction will set the tone for how your kid views potty training. Knowing that there will be accidents, can help you control your reaction.
It’s not good to get angry and punish your kiddo during this time, as they’re still trying to learn, and we want to encourage them, not punish them for being little and human.
Peeing and pooping are completely different things
Most kids will likely get going pee in the potty down way before they get down going poop. I don’t know why, but that’s just how it is. We tried everything to get Hud to poop in the potty. He would pee pretty well but would run and hide when it came time to poop on the potty.
You don’t want your kid to be scared of this, because they’ll end up holding it in and that’s a whole other mess you don’t want to get into. Just know that your kid will likely get down going pee in the potty long before they get down going poop in the potty.
They will regress
It’s inevitable and I don’t know why, but they will regress. You’ll have an amazing streak where you think you’ve hit the potty training jackpot, only to have your child slowly revert back to their old ways.
Don’t push it during this time. Just let it be. The more you stress over it and get upset about it, the longer they’ll want to stay in diapers.
Make sure everyone is on the same page
If your kid goes to daycare or is watched by someone other than you and your significant other throughout the day, make sure that you all are on the same page with potty training.
Most daycares are great about making sure the kids are going every 30 or so minutes when they’re first starting to potty train. But ensuring that everyone taking care of your kid has the same game plan in terms of your potty training schedule, will help them learn consistently how this is supposed to go.
Pull-ups or diapers at bed is expected
There were times when Huddy would wake up from a night’s sleep with a bone-dry diaper, and we praised him and high-fived and gave him treats. There were other days where we leave him in his underwear and he’d wet the bed.
We figured we were tired of waking up in the middle of the night and changing sheets, so we put pull-ups on at night. But as soon as he wakes up in the morning, we either took them off and put un big boy underwear or took them off and let him run naked.
What works for others may not work for your kid
Every kid is different, and what worked for your brother’s kids, or your best friend’s kids, may not work for yours. And that’s ok. It takes trial and error and trial and error, and just when you think they’ve gotten the hang of it, they’ll go regressing and life will be in disarray.
Keep trying different things – whether it’s candy or special treats for going, or stickers in a book – find what incentivizes your little one and roll with that. And know that it can take a very long time for them to fully get the hang of it.
So, my advice to parents entering the potty training world for the first time, don’t give up. Just keep at it, keep trying new ways to entice them, challenge them and reward them. Go easy on them and yourself. It truly is a learning experience for the entire family!
Written By: Abby