Potty training, toilet learning, whatever you call it, it is dreaded by most. Totally understandable since no one wants a kid peeing in their house all day. It’s like having a puppy all over again, however this puppy doesn’t get their nose in the poop when they have an accident (very frowned upon).
So what made my experience not so bad? Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. “The variable isn’t in the method. The variable is in the child.” Every child is different and is going to toilet train at their own pace! Every child, however must always take off the diaper. This is a milestone just like learning to eat solid foods, learning to walk and learning to talk! Milestones such as those are fun to watch because you are learning more and more about how your child learns, potty training should be no different.
My biggest pet peeve is when you tell someone you will be potty training and they respond by saying, “why don’t you wait until they are ready?” No one knows your child better than you do and if you think your child has the best potential to pee and poop in the toilet at the age of 3 or 4, than by all means, wait. I am telling you right now, children are much smarter than marinating in their own poop and pee for 3 years. I COMPLETELY understand not wanting to put one more thing on your plate when having a 2 year old (and an infant as well), but once you put your mind to it and make it a priority, than it WILL happen. Peter is 28 months (a little over 2 years old) and POTTY TRAINED! YAY! And he is because I expected this much of him and prepared him to succeed. It takes time, effort and accountability.
Before beginning your potty training journey talk to your child about what diapers are for and what the toilet is. Take them to the bathroom when you go and explain to them what is happening and say, someday you will pee and poop in the potty too! I started talking about the potty when Peter was about a year old (it’s never too early to expose them to eliminating in the toilet!). I would catch him pooping (in his diaper) and would sign “toilet.” Soon he began to make a connection with the sign and the action of pooping. It was not my intention to potty train Peter when he was 10 months old, however, it only helped him when it came time when he was 2.
Jamie maps out potty training in 4 steps, Clueless to I Peed to I’m Peeing to I have to go Pee. She says each segment can take roughly a day. Again, it depends on the child. Some kids will breeze through one segment but can stall out in another.
How Peter’s potty journey went…
Day 1: Take off the diaper and WATCH. Literally, you have one job for at least the first 2 or 3 days and that is to WATCH your toddler EVER. SINGLE. SECOND. Do not take your eyes off of him or her those first 2 days! No phone. No computer. No watching the movie your child is watching. YOU ARE WATCHING YOUR CHILD. This step is the most important because as soon as your child begins to pee, you gently say, “Oh, you are peeing (or pooping),” pick him up and take him to the potty. It is very important you do not act startled, yell, or panic. Do not say “it’s okay” because it’s not, but you are to let them recognize they are peeing. By the end of the first or second day, they should recognize the sensation of peeing and be on their way to I’m Peeing or I have to go Pee. Jamie does not like to put days with segments but it gives you an idea of where your child is moving, forward or back.
Nap time and Bedtime: We explained to Peter that diapers are only for sleep time. I put a diaper on him right before his nap and as soon as he wakes up. I ask Peter to help me take off his diaper when he wakes up so I don’t get a fight to leave it on. Same goes for night time and morning.
As soon as we felt Peter mastered I have to go Pee, which was around day 4, we put pants on him. Jamie highly suggests going commando for up to 3 weeks. Underwear feels too much like a diaper and they can regress. So, just pants it is! So far, while still keeping a close watch on him, he lets us know when he has to pee or poop so we can help him manipulate his pants quicker for him to eliminate in the potty. Don’t get me wrong, Peter has soaked through about 6 pairs of pants within the first 2 days of wearing pants because I wasn’t watching him close enough! Remember, this is still all so new, so don’t get ahead of yourself or don’t expect them to potty perfectly after mastering it naked!
Rewarding. Most likely, your child’s face will light up brighter than your Christmas tree when they eliminate in the potty those first few days. Peter’s reward was taking his waste to the big toilet, dumping it, flushing and waving bye-bye. All while grinning from ear to ear! There is nothing much more rewarding than that, for both of us!
This will be some of the most challenging days of parenting because staring at your child for a few days may start to make you feel a little crazy. That’s why you should indulge in some wine or a massive amount of chocolate at the end of the day. You deserve it! I seriously recommend buying Jamie’s book, its a PDF so you can start reading and mentally preparing ASAP. She has all the answers for any dilemma you may find yourself in, along with day-care, preschool, anything like that that seems to be haunting you about potty training.
Major props to those potty training your kids who are 2 or even younger! It will be SO worth it when you are done!
A few things you will need:
Wine: For yourself at the end of the day
Coffee: Hopefully brewed by the time pee pee pants wakes up
Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki.
Potty: Keep one in the space you hang out the most in the house. Always keep your toddler aware of where it is!
Travel potty: I keep this one in my car, it can also fit in my purse (I have a giant purse).