Phew! We’ve just finished the majority of potty training. Our two-and-a-half-year-old is thankfully at the stage where she’s telling us that she needs a pee-pee or poo-poo. Sadly, the convenience of her going wherever and whenever has gone. Now it’s often a mad dash to the closest bathroom.
One of the biggest influences on how we did it was the Oh Crap, Potty Training book. I’m also going to give my wife all the credit as she read the book and boiled it down to these step-by-step points for me. Of course, there’s lots more handy tips and useful pointers in there.
Ready? Here we go.
- Commit to a date.
- Clear your schedule for a week. – Here’s a free, downloadable potty training chart to check off.
- Don’t talk about the potty until the start date. You can have it in the house so your child gets used to it. Our daughter would sit and do her business on it while still in a diaper. This made the transition easier, I think.
- First phase – have the toddler run around your house naked. Get them used to not wearing a diaper.
- When you see they need the potty, put them on it.
- Look for the visible queues as they won’t be able to use their words.
- Give them lots to drink so they get used to it by repetition.
- If there’s an accident, don’t say “oh that’s ok”. Tell them that next time, it goes on the potty
- Second phase – clothes but no underwear. Girls can wear a loose dress, Boys can wear loose shorts, but nothing tight like underwear as they may feel like they’re in a diaper and it’s safe to go.
- Learn the child’s routine and schedule. Every hour is pretty common.
- Third phase – leave the house for longer times.
- Before you leave and once you arrive at each location, try the potty.
- Whenever you visit a new place, find out where the potty is, and show them. This will help you both.
- Fourth phase – underwear.
- Let the child get used to, and help with pulling the underwear up and down
- Encourage the child to tell you when he/she needs to go to the potty and celebrate when there have been successful pee-pees and poo-poos.
Prompting but not over-pressure. Lots of kids don’t like to be told what to do. Remind him/her that the potty is there, as a throwaway prompt. This was useful when our daughter was doing poo-poos on the potty as it can be a little strange to do it on the potty.
Combine the potty as one of a list of things to do. For example, have cuddles, read a book, go to the potty, get dressed and go to the mall.
We didn’t use rewards that much, we relied on praise over everything. Having said that, we did use a few stickers or yogurt-covered raisins for poo-poos.
We’re still working through the two-weeks of sleep diapers before we take those away, but during the day, it’s underwear and regular potty breaks.
Here’s that weekly planner for you (download and print full size here).
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