Potty training is daunting! Some kids show you they are ready and others don’t but are still capable. When’s the best time to potty train? Where do you start? We will take you step by step on what to do and what to expect!
When do I know my child is ready?
Usually around the age of 2-2.5 years old, children are capable of being potty trained. The number one thing your child must be able to do is communicate that they need to use the restroom. This can be verbal, signing, motioning, sounds, behaviors, etc. If they can communicate to you that they want a toy or food, they can communicate they have to use the bathroom!
Some children may show signs earlier such as:
- Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper
- Hiding while going to the bathroom
- Showing interest in others using the bathroom
- Having a dry diaper for a longer time than usual
- Having predictable bowel movements
- Understanding bathroom lingo – “poo poo” and “pee pee”
- Asking you to change a dirty or wet diaper
- Able to perform simple undressing
**If your child is not showing these signs, they are still capable of learning!
What do I need to get started?
We suggest training in underpants. Buy something fun and something that interests your child. You will need about 20 pairs – trust me! Many poopy ones will be tossed and accidents will happen throughout the day. These thick and absorbent undies are perfect for training. Pull-ups can be confusing and delay the process! You CAN use pull-ups for naps and nighttime if you wish or these bedwetting underwear for girls or boys.
A toilet seat adapter or two
Using an adapter to a regular toilet will help normalize the situation. In my experience, some children become afraid of the regular toilet, so it’s best to use the regular toilet from the beginning. If you have multi levels or commonly use two+ bathrooms, I suggest having one on each. I like this one because it has a ladder which lets the child climb up on his/her own!
An few extra fitted sheets
You’ll be doing a lot of laundry!
A reward system
This can be candy, granola bars, stickers, small toys, play dough…anything that will demonstrate to your child that they are doing something GREAT! We used this magnetic reward potty chart!!
A positive attitude!
YOUR CHILD WILL FEED OFF OF YOU! Do not get discouraged, do not show disappointment. Do not show frustration. This can backfire. We want the toilet to be POSITIVE and every time an accident happens, we DO NOT make the child feel bad. We REWARD the times it goes well – overly so.
Click here to see my video of the poo poo on the potty song and dance we do! We encourage you to do it too!
Other items you’ll need:
- Flushable wipes
- A weeman (potty training urinal for boys)
- A portable urinal for boys or for girls / portable seat or portable potty (and disposable covers for when you’re out without the seat!)
- Soft close toilet seat
- Waterproof mattress pad for crib or twin, full, and queen bed.
- Liquids – encourage drinking! A new water bottle may be fun too.
- You can pick any liquid that your toddler will drink.
- A few BIG rewards for when you’re really proud
How do I start?
We encourage you to pick a potty training method that sounds like a good fit for your family. This can vary even between children!
A 3-4 Day Method
There are many variations of this method but the gist is the same – dedicating a weekend to only potty training. The key is to not take your eyes off of the child and learn their potty cues and create new habits! Varying level of clothing is encouraged depending on the method. The pros are this is a quick and effective way to potty train! But it does require some planning and dedicating an entire weekend to the matter.
Examples: “Oh Crap!”
Child Led Method
Letting your child be in control a bit more is an alternative method. Some children, especially if they have older siblings, may catch on much more easily. The pros are that your child will feel in control and there is little pressure on the child. The cons – it will probably be a longer process to completely train.
BUMBLEBABY TIPS FOR POTTY TRAINING:
- Put away your device. I mean it. It’s so easy to get distracted and you WILL miss signs that your little one is subtly telling you that they need to go to the bathroom.
- Stay attached to your little one. Follow them everywhere. It will be exhausting. But it will work!
- ASK, ASK, ASK!
ALL DAY: repeat “Tell me when you have to go pee pee or poo poo” (or whatever words you choose to use). Literally every 10 seconds.
The “Tell me when” part is key – this makes the toddler feel that THEY are in control – they are the ones who are controlling their body and gives them the independence they need.
Click here to see my video of how to ask.
- Keep your child dressed the entire time in a t-shirt and undies. We do not want naked – the underwear will get wet and dirty and your child will not like it. This helps them learn.
- You will carry your child to the toilet when they are having an accident.
If even a drop gets in the potty, sing! POO POO ON THE POTTY! Make a huge deal! Clap! Hug! REWARD! Call loved ones and talk allll about it!
- Don’t make the accidents a big deal. Let it go!
We want to reinforce positive actions and ignore the accidents. Toddlers are sensitive and making a big deal about accidents can backfire!
Have you seen our potty training favorites in our Amazon store? Bumblebaby amazon store
Looking for more information? Try the Potty by Design course from Moms on Call. Use code BUMBLEBABY.
Have more questions? Schedule a text or video chat consult with Kate, Lauren or Natalie (NICU RNs) and they can help answer any questions that you have!
Other helpful blog posts:
- How to know your baby is ready for 1 nap per day
- When to transition to a toddler bed
- 5 things most parents don’t know about car seat safety
- Items to leave at grandparents’, nanny share or second caregiver’s house
- How to travel with kids
- 10 common illnesses babies + kids get
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider. Bumblebaby makes a small commission on some of the items listed above