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I potty-trained my 2.6-year-old in 3 days. I didn’t think it could be done. I was the biggest skeptic, the biggest critic, the biggest eye-roller at this “method”. I researched and read blogs. I checked out reviews and asked veteran mommas. The only common piece of advice that I came across was that you and your child BOTH have to be ready. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and some kids might try going to kindergarten in a a diaper if you don’t nudge them in the direction of the potty, but most kids should develop a “restroom readiness” at some point, and when they do, jump on it!
So when my daughter came and told me she wanted to sit on the potty I’d bought seven months before, I figured this must be “the ready” everyone was talking about. We then proceeded to tailgate potty-training. I specifically recall a mad dash through the house gathering all the supplies and shouting, “Wait! Let me get the stickers!” I made a chart, located the stickers and prizes, filled up her new super-special-Paw-Patrol-with-bendy-straw cup with festive juice (Powerade), and we staged a sit in. We made plans not to have any plans and decided to forego pants, too. She just wore her also previously purchased big girl underwear around the house.
She drank juice to her little heart’s desire, had a few accidents the first day, and then pretty much peed in the potty like a champ after that. I would say that all the positive reinforcement is vital. Any negative remarks or exasperated sighs if they pee on the floor would only succeed in making them feel pressured or frustrated. When accidents did occur, I just said, “That’s alright. Accidents happen. Let’s try to go in the potty next time.” We tried to watch any type of character potty episodes: Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, Pinkfong on Youtube. I let her get 5 board books from the dollar store that specifically stay in the bathroom, and that sparked a little interest in trying because she only got to look at those books while she was in there.
Showing her how to potty (i.e. me sitting on the toilet) at the same time seemed to further develop the connection. Although she would often try to close the lid on my back and prance around singing how I looked like a toilet turtle, but that’s just a merry little yarn! I also made up some ridiculous story about how whenever we pee or poo in the potty, we “feed” the plants. (Our home is on a septic system, so it is not entirely outside the realm of truth!) She ate that story up and told everyone that she loved feeding the plants.
Pooping in the potty took a few extra days and pep talks. We had to discuss how most people try not to poo in the bathtub, even if it is relaxing in there. We ended up using M&Ms as an additional motivation technique also. One for trying; two for peeing; three for pooping in the potty. (Disclaimer: It took us almost a month to wean her off this system. Who wouldn’t want candy every trip to the loo?!) Also, I feel it important to mention to maybe buy extra candy just in case your significant other is not aware of the system and eats the entire jar of “potty candy” one night. His justification was that he was already potty trained and needed to make up for lost time.
We didn’t ever use pull-ups (although I’ve had friends that do use them for night time and long car trips). My daughter said they were too noisy like a diaper. There were a couple of night time incidents, but we were prepared. Towels under her fitted sheet as well as using puppy pee pads worked well. You can check out our full preparation checklist for ideas. Being prepared was a major component of success for us!
My little dear quickly filled her potty chart (our free chart download is below) once she got wind of the “rules”, graduated, celebrated with unlimited frozen yogurt and toppings, and she hasn’t looked back since.
So for the fellow skeptics and eye-rollers, it can be done. I, too, tried to rush and try to train early, but she just was not ready on my time table. What toddler is really? Listen to yourself. Listen to the veterans. Listen to your kid. And a little prayer for deliverance from diapers can’t do any harm either.
With spirit & sass,