Potty training tips

So it's time???

 Time to say good by to diapers??

 Or maybe it's not time yet but you want to be prepared for when the time comes. I have successfully potty trained my 4 children, some with much less stress than others. But when it came 'time' to potty train my 4th and last baby I realized that with all 4 babies the stages we hit were all very much alike! So if your a first time mom or even a mom that wants to make potty training less of a struggle this time, please have a read and feel free to add in the comments what were some things that worked for you and what didn't. This way moms can gather a whole bunch of tips all at one place!
I did have a bit of an attachment to my cloth diapering habit and, ummm... didn't act on Hadassah's 'Ready to train' cues as early as I probably should have! :)
Because cloth diapered babies are just so stinkin cute!

My Potty Training Outline
  • Potty training starts much earlier than most moms think. It's not just a 'Now we're going to potty train' kind of thing. It starts as soon as your baby toddles with you into the bathroom when you 'Go'. yes! that's right. You let that baby toddle with you to the bathroom and tell them exactly what you are doing. "mommy's going potty'. "Listen, mama is peeing". "now we wash our hands." This isn't exactly 'Potty Training' but it IS laying the ground work for it. You are getting your child familiar with all the lingo of potty trained toddlers.

  • Talk to them about what happened when you change their diaper. "Oh, your diaper is WET, Lets get you a DRY diaper!"   "That feels MUCH BETTER."  Try not to let your baby get used to the wet feeling. Changing them when they are wet especially after 12 mo of age is helpful. They need to learn that dry feels MUCH BETTER than wet.

  • Poop!! this one is easy if you are willing to do it! When your baby is a toddler, and you change a poopy diaper, have them follow you to the potty and watch as you dump the solids out of the diaper and into the potty all the while telling them, "This is poop, we will put it in the potty and flush it. All better! Good Job!!"       Doing this only a few times will start that connection with 'this is where poop belongs'. You can do it Mama!!!  It doesn't have to be EVERY time.  I did this with my last 2 babies a lot (because I cloth diapered) and by 18 month both of them were successfully pooping in the potty 90% of the time! :)

This 'Pre-training' stage will start when your child is around 12-18 mo and continue until you see signs of the next stage. This will become a subconscious effort on your part over these month. It won't be EVERY time. Just TALK to them about whats happening and DON'T close the bathroom door unto their natural curiosity! :)

  • The next stage: this can happen anywhere from 18mo. to 3 yrs. It usually starts with your toddler bringing you a clean diaper when he needs to be changed. This Normally does NOT mean that they are ready to be potty trained. BUT it IS a normal and VERY healthy part of the journey!  This is also an important stage to change them As soon as they are wet so they don't get used to the 'wet feeling.' Continue to talk to them about the functions, "You are wet because you peed in your diaper." etc.

  • The next stage is when the toddler learns to 'hold' their pee or poop. (you CANNOT teach them to 'Hold it', it is developmental stage and they cannot 'Hold it' before that muscle/brain development has happened.)They will do this because they know they will feel wet or dirty when they 'let go'. You will know when this happens because you will come to change the toddler, say, after a nap or before going out, and their diaper will be DRY! :) THIS is a happy day!! :)  excitedly comment on the fact that they didn't wet the diaper and ask them if they would like to put their pee in the potty. (by this time these words, Pee, and potty are very familar and they will know EXACTLY what you are asking. Encourage them to sit on their little potty (preferably right close to yours) and try to pee while you sit and go yourself!! Yes!! You couldn't pee either if someone stood their waiting and staring at you! :) If it happens GREAT!! if not. no big deal! You'll just try again the next time the diaper is dry!

  • Start showing and talking to your toddler about underwear. show them how your (or a sibling's) underwear is DIFFERENT than diapers. Tell them that soon when they are a bit bigger they will wear them too and they will put their pee and poo in the potty and no longer in their diaper. Underwear should become a HUGE part of your bathroom conversation.

  • When your Child comes to you and asks to wear underwear, THEY ARE READY!! It's a GREAT day!!  Take them to the store, let them pick out the underwear (NOT TRAINING UNDERWEAR the point is to let the accident pee run right through the thin underwear down their legs so that they get a real good feel for what happens) all the while talking about how you can't pee or poop in underwear because it feels REAL yucky! Buy a couple pairs of legwarmers too and a pair or 2 of HaddyGrace shoes that will wash up perfectly, clear your calendar as much as you can for a few days to a week so that you can focus on the trainee as much as possible

  • On the DAY of first wearing under wear expect accidents. Take your child potty at least every 45min. More like every 15 min if they drink from their sippy all day. If the child has too many accidents take them more often. If the child has success make a big deal out of it!! If after a day or 2 the child even with lots of encouragment starts NOT wanting to go potty, It's ok, put the underwear away and back up to the previous step again! No big deal! :)

  • If you are having success, gradually let the time go longer. 1 hr maybe and if the toddler is still dry, Great!! they are definitely 'Holding it.' this is when you can start relaxing a bit and watch the clock. :) when the toddler comes to you and says 'I have to Pee!' that's even better!! any progress is cause for great celebration!!
your looking for less accidents and more success as the week progresses. after a week you should be able to look back and see that the toddler has made progress. Do not switch back and forth from underwear to diapers (except for night time) this is confusing. When you go out just plan an hourly stop and take a change of clothes or 2.

If after a week there is NO progress the child isn't ready. NO big deal!! take comfort in the fact that there is a reason diaper sizes quite at a certain weight! Kids don't need them anymore! :) Your child won't be the exception! :)

The independent stage: Most toddlers go through a 'I can do it MYSELF' or 'You can't MAKE me stage.' If they choose to make pottying a part of this establishing Independence stage, Don't fight it! YOU cannot MAKE a child Pee! So don't turn it into a battle! just put them in diapers and go back to the pre under wearstage until they are ready again! And THEY will be! :)


Things that are detrimental to Potty trainees:
Sippy cups

Please feel free to add your tips in the comments! I would love to hear them!!

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  1. What a great post Ruthann!!! Its going to be my go to post for potty training for sure! Yep bookmarking it right now;-)

  2. You are sooo wise - saving this for Baby Jude when we get to that point! :) Bless you RuthAnn! Lots of love!

  3. Awesome post! I had to learn some of these by trial and error, and some I didn't know like the sippy thing! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Great advice. I've potty trained 4 kids too and you are right on the money. Can't think of anything to add.

  5. thank you - your advice has calmed me down considerably as to letting them learn at their own pace and some great tips!! my son uses the potty consistently when he is half naked - however, when once we put underwear on him, he will go in his pants and doesn't seem to care just yet, occasionally he may say that he is wet but not consistently... any advice? i definitely don't want to force anything!! any pearls of wisdom will be appreciated!


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