Welcome to the wonderful, overwhelming, and exciting world of potty training. It's a party all parents get to attend so let's commiserate together and make it better. After going through countless diapers, potty meltdowns, and big wins, there are a few things I learned along the way.
I knew my daughter was ready when she wanted to sit on the potty. Once she had that first success she was completely hooked. She was also dressing herself in the morning and showing inner independance when it came to making decisions. It's like a little switch went off and she was determined to transition into those big girl pants. Every kid hits this point at a different age, but when it happens you'll know it's time to get started.
Starting with trainers, like Pampers Easy Ups training pants, are a big help with this transition. And making sure to have extras everywhere (in the car, in my bag, in the bathroom) helped, too. My little one knew where they were stashed so she could easily pull on a new one when needed.
I remember one time we were at the grocery store and my tot was happily enjoying some grab-food-from the shelves time when she got that look on her face. She started grabbing at her pants and I whisked her away in search of the bathroom, leaving my full shopping cart and bag where it was. She was so determined and focused, which left me feeling so happy for her! We made it just in time and returned to our cart, which was being guarded by a fellow mom. Everyone cheered and clapped — her smile was priceless.
What's the best way to achieve potty training success? Here's my check list:
- Stick with it! Start a routine and stay consistent. This way your little one starts training her brain and body to hit the potty. I found heading to the bathroom every 30-minutes was a good start and then weaned it down to a couple times a day. Eventually, I stopped asking if she needed to go and we were there.
- Stay positive: Find ways to celebrate wins, even when they aren't regular. Some days are going to be better than others, but it's so important to stay positive and avoid any shaming or frustrating language. There might be days that seem like all you're doing is hanging in the potty with your little one, but she's going to get it!
- Be prepared: Make sure to have wipes, extra clothes, and training pants so you have everything you need when out of the house. And it helps to know where the bathrooms are located at your regular spots.
- Slow down on liquids at night: Even if you aren't night training, slow down on liquids three hours before bedtime. This way your little one has a better chance of waking up dry in the mornings, which is a great way to start the day.
- Make it fun: Heap on the praise, make a star chart, or start a potty book club. Whatever you can find that turns using the bathroom into something fun instead of a chore will help make potty training a positive experience.
I know you're going to get frustrated. I know at times you're going to think your child is the only one having a challenging time. I want you to look into her little face and be proud of what she's accomplishing. I want you to hold her hand and let her know she's doing a good job. This is a big deal for little ones, plus an important part of childhood development. Just like every other stage of her life, it will be over before you know it.
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With time and encouragement, every kid makes it through the process and reaches success — and every parent survives. Here, our guide to potty training.