How we potty trained our toddler in less than two weeks
It took less than two weeks to fully potty train Preston.
I’m still in shock.
I’m sharing our tips & tricks with you not because I now feel like an expert or because this is some sort of magical way to potty train. I’m sharing in the hopes that at least one of you awesome people finds this helpful. Maybe you’re sitting at home reading this frustrated and feeling hopeless. Perhaps you’re sick of hearing about your friend’s child genius who started using the potty and reading the Wall Street Journal at 8 months. Maybe you’re sick of having nightmares about your son wearing an adult diaper to soccer practice at seven years old.
Hopefully this helps.
The anticipation and dread of potty training my son turned out to be much worse than the event itself. Preston had shown readiness from an extremely young age. I remember when he was about six months old and wearing cloth diapers he would let out a warning cry before he peed to let us know he would be needing a new diaper. It was pretty convenient. The signs continued and when he was 2.5 we decided to introduce him to the potty.
He didn’t like the Bjorn potty. We bought him a cool new Cars potty that made an engine sound when it flushed. Better but he still wasn’t ready to use it. We put him in underwear – he wasn’t ready. We tried pull-ups – he said they were diapers.
He wasn’t ready. I consulted with the wise women of the internet (you guys) via Twitter and most moms said he was still young and to wait it out.
No pressure and no rush.
However when Preston mentioned a new toy or happened to catch a commercial I made a huge production out of telling him that he could have whatever he wanted when he began using the potty. Judge if you must but I love toys and am not above bribery. He was going to get a new truck eventually so why not give him an incentive to sit on his potty? It works for adults. I know I was always pretty happy and motivated after receiving my annual bonus.
Two weeks ago Preston (who will be three next month) said “Mommy I am ready to use the potty and get a new garbage truck”. He sat down, did the deed, and asked for his truck. I changed him into underwear and texted my husband. As soon as my husband returned from work he lavished praise on Preston, put him in his car seat, and took him to Target for his truck.
We had a few accidents along the way including a massive amount of pee all over Finish Line so we had to regroup. We began taking Preston’s potty everywhere with us since he was reluctant to use the toilet in the beginning stages. We made sure that we always had extra underwear, shoes, socks, and clothes after the epic sneaker store pee. We became very mindful of when Preston was drinking fluid so that if he became too immersed in an activity we reminded or asked him about using the potty.
After a week and a half he was accident free but still not using the toilet. I could’ve taken it slow here but cleaning out the potty was just as bad as changing diapers. Ew. I reminded Preston that using the toilet is an excellent way to earn yet another toy. This time he wanted a cement mixer. He wasn’t ready because he felt he would “fall in and go down the pike (pipe)”. I didn’t rush things.
Last Saturday we headed to Barnes & Noble to check out some books. Preston had to poop. *Insert terrified Veronica face* We talked and I assured him that he would not fall in and that he could hold my hand the entire time. I reminded him how awesome cement mixers were and told him that as soon as he finished we would leave and get one.
Boom. Fully potty trained.
We got the cement mixer and he’s been using the big toilet for everything ever since. The only accidents he has had at night were my fault for giving him milk too late. He usually calls me in the middle of the night if he wants to use the toilet (why? I don’t know it’s right next to his room but I’m happy to help).
It feels great to have accomplished tear and stress free potty training. I read tons of blog posts and books and obsessed for months. None of it was helpful. Listening to my son, following his cues, and catering to his materialist tendencies (who doesn’t like toys though! I play with those trucks all the time) were key.
- Find what motivates your child and gently dangle that carrot. “Oh, that Superman action figure does look really nice. When you’re ready to use your potty I’ll make sure we buy you one. Or two!”.
- Bring the potty everywhere. Toilets and urinals are intimidating and staying home all day while potty training isn’t very fun. Don’t be embarrassed. My husband carried that Cars potty with pride all over the place. He even set it up in the back of our SUV with a makeshift baby blanket curtain to give Preston privacy. It works.
- Lavish your child with praise.
- Cool underwear helps. Preston went nuts for his Thomas the Train prints.
- Keep an eye on your child’s drinking schedule and remind him or her to use the potty often – every half hour is a good starting point. Eventually they get so sick of hearing you they’ll do it on their own just to get away from you.
- Maintain your composure, don’t give up, and keep calm.
- Keep a bag stocked with paper towels, baby wipes, underwear, socks, shoes, and two extra changes of clothes with you.
I truly hope this helps someone. If you know anyone who is approaching potty training time please share this post with them and if you have anything to add please leave a note in the comments below.
All kids are different and I’ve got another to train soon. I’ll happily take all the advice I can get.