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Before we started serious potty training, I had browsed through articles and Pinterest boards, knowing that the time was coming. I had a vague idea of what sort of items I needed, but I so wish that I had printed out a shopping checklist in order to not waste a moment when that “time” arrived. (You can read about our toilet training tales here.) After scrambling around making sure we were ready for the duration, I came up with this checklist to make it easier for when I have to do this again.
#Potty: Get a quality potty seat. A little bum is going to be using it A LOT. We actually have 3 different potty seats that are used for different purposes. For in-home use, we have the Summer Infant Lil Loo potty. I like a two piece for easy cleaning, a higher lip/front for less splash, and a backrest. You should definitely consider keeping a potty in your vehicle for on-the-go situations, and we have the Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus. (I recently wrote an Ode to this potty!) We’ve worked this one hard, people. Lastly, we keep a foldable seat in our diaper bag just in case.
#Chart: Creating an easy-to-read chart that a toddler can understand is key. We designed a pretty simple block by block potty chart that was Candy Land-esque. It had prize blocks about every 5th block to maintain interest and to keep the potty party going. The end goal was picked by my toddler: a trip to our favorite frozen yogurt place with a disclaimer of unlimited toppings. You can download our chart for free if you want!
#Prizes: (& stickers!) I let my little dear pick these out. We got about 5-6 small prizes (little toys, bubbles, games, coloring books, whatever works) at the Dollar Tree. She picked out stickers that we placed on each block every time she used the potty!
#Underwear: My child also picked these out. I’ve found that when she is “involved” in part of decision-making…or at least thinks she is…things go much smoother. Plus, this new chapter is just exciting with all new “big girl” things. We ended up with some type of character print underwear.
#Cup & Favorite Drink: We got a super special, over-the-top, character print drinking cup with a silly straw and to be honest, I really hate cleaning this thing, but it totally contributed to the potty excitement. She only got to drink out of this cup if she was going to use the potty. We also let her pick out something special to drink that she wouldn’t normally be allowed to have; I think it was some type of sport drink.
#ToddlerWipes: Now these are not absolutely crucial to the success rate, but I thought they definitely deserved a spot on the checklist. The flushable toddler wipes that come in a 3 pack are actually cheaper than regular grownup flushable wipes. These were so handy! We actually started keeping a pack in the diaper bag, too.
#BedtimePrep: Going into the first night of potty training was nerve-racking. I did not want to be waking up at 3 am to change wet sheets. We prepped her bed by putting down puppy pee pads under her bottom and then a towel on top of that. We also laid out an extra sheet set next to the bed just in case.
There are other things that you might think of that you could use or add to the checklist. We had a stack of towels ready to go for any accidents (she actually only had a couple!). Call it bribery, but tiny tot also got an M&M for a successful potty time. We also bought a pack of pull ups with the intention of using them as “sleeping underwear”, but my toddler never used them. She said they were too noisy like a diaper. That worked for me! Our local library had Daniel Tiger and Sesame Street dvds with a potty time theme that seemed to spark the potty conversation, too.
I really hope that you find these lists useful. Potty training takes a lot of patience and reassurance, fist-pumping every time there’s a little pee in that tiny toilet, and all around tailgating in your bathroom. I often joke that I never got more laundry done than in those first few weeks of running to the bathroom every hour and that we really needed to bring a portable dvd player in there. So copy the list, check it twice. And don’t give up. They’ll get the hang of it, and so will you.
With spirit & sass,