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Potty Training 101: Tips To Get You Through

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photo via BabyBjorn

Ahh, potty training. It can be an intimidating journey. You’re either counting down the days until your last diaper run, in the midst of unsuccessful attempts on the pot, or completely avoiding the big elephant in the room and are postponing the potty seat introduction until you’re ready. Not to worry, even though toilet training may seem impossible, we guarantee your child won’t be walking down the aisle in a diaper. Still need some encouragement? Here are our top tips on how to get started…

Look for signs that your child is ready: If your toddler is showing an interest in using the toilet—for example, she wants to come into the bathroom with you, help flush, is staying dry during naps, is asking for frequent diaper changes, or announcing when she has to go—it may be a good time to think about the transition.

Patience vs. pressure: It’s important to make the introduction to ditching diapers a positive experience. Patience is your best friend while your toddler is tackling the toilet. He will have accidents, and that’s okay. It is also common for kids to show a strong interest in the potty one day, and then lose interest another. Potty training takes time and we as parents need to make sure we aren’t pressuring our trainees to rush through the learning process.

Bribes: We fully support small bribes to help encourage potty-time success. Mini M&M’s or Dum Dums work well.

Let them watch: You can easily explain how to go to the bathroom, but kids learn best by what they see. Show them how it’s done.

Target practice: Boys need help with their aim. Throw some Cheerios in the toilet for target practice.

Rewards and praise: Kids love games, so why not make the potty training experience into one? Special sticker charts are a great way for little kids to get excited and to keep track of their progress. After twenty stickers or so, it’s time for a trip to the store for some special underpants. Or, keep a little basket of trinket toys on hand for a successful number two.

Let them be naked: Most toddlers love running around in the buff as it is, but spending the day clothes-free can make those urgent potty sprints easier for your bathroom newbie.

Potty time books and videos: Purchase a few new books that are for potty time only. Read your trainee stories while they’re sitting to encourage him to “go.” Also, when off the pot, we also recommend the “Once Upon A Potty” video (they have one for boys and one for girls) to help educate and encourage your little.

Be prepared for accidents: Accidents will happen, so be prepared. Maybe your training toddler has a special seat as opposed to sitting on your beloved upholstered couch for a couple of days. Make sure you sit with her so she doesn’t feel alienated. It’s also a good idea to roll up rugs and tuck them away in the closet until potty training is done. If you have wood floors or tile, you’re golden, but those who have carpet should think about laying down towels over a waterproof mat for playtime, just incase.

Have a potty party: Sing songs, wear party hats, and celebrate after each successful pee and poo!

Pull-ups: Oftentimes Pull-ups are a great assistant to training because they can easily be pulled up and down for potty breaks and are a excellent alternative to diapers during naps or through the night. Just be careful that your potty trainer doesn’t start relying on them and using them as a diaper replacement.

Set a timer: Having a hard time getting your toddler to stay put? Try setting an egg timer, have a little countdown, and reward him for making it to the buzzer.

The potty itself: There are all sorts of potty seats and accessories on the market to help aid in potty training. All you really need is a good potty or potty seat to get started. We recommend the BabyBjorn Potty Chair and the BabyBjorn Toilet Trainer. We prefer this brand because the products are sturdy and great quality, but any potty will do. It may be fun for your toddler to go to the store with you and pick out her own special seat to help build excitement.

Be consistent: Most importantly, your child needs consistency and support from mom and dad. Potty training will happen—for some in as little as a couple of days, for others it could take months. Just have patience and try to enjoy this milestone in your child’s life. Good luck!

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