Every stage that my kids go through I catch myself thinking, “this is the cutest age!” Then they get a little older, learn new things and suddenly I’m thinking that now is the cutest age—except when it comes to potty training. Potty training my girls was an ugly affair often resulting in frustration and tears (mine) for months until something finally clicked and they got it. My problem (I later realized) was because I started them way too young and they simply weren’t ready. Because every child learns differently we aren’t going to let you make the same mistake I did by telling you exactly HOW to toilet train your child. Instead we will just give you a few quick hints and tips that may help you get the big-kid-underwear success you are looking for.
Potty Training Books/Dolls: Some kids are hands on learners. If your child is one of them, it may help read them potty books before training. Then allow them to teach the act to a drink-and-wet potty doll. This will help them process the act and motivate them to try it themselves so they can demonstrate for their pupil.
Bribery—For some kids, bribery just works. Whether you use m&m’s, a sticker chart, or dollar store toys, giving your child an instant reward for using the potty is a great motivator.
Keep Juice on hand—Even if you usually don’t give your child juice, if you can break this rule just for the first few days of training, the benefits are priceless. Your child is not likely to ask for water to drink every half hour, but they would ask for their favorite sweet beverage. The more they drink, the more they need to go potty. The more they need to go potty, the more training opportunities you have.
Your Other Children—Whether older or younger, your other kids are a great tool in potty training. If you are using bribes, don’t forget to reward your older children for using the potty too. Positive reinforcement works even when your child sees someone else getting the reward. Also, younger diapered siblings can be beneficial. When my daughter was 2.5 and had been going #1 on the potty for months, but refused to do #2 we took our then 3 month old infant, emptied the contents of her diaper in the toilet, and held her over it. My husband and I just started applauding the baby for going on the potty and when my daughter heard the fuss and came to investigate she was completely silent. Less than an hour later, she went #2 on the potty. She never had another accident.
Go Child Size—Kids like things their size and “just for them”. It’s more fun (and sometimes more convenient) to use a child’s portable potty, special child wet wipes, character foamy soaps, or colorful step stools up to the regular potty.
Try the Schedule—ask every 20 minutes if they need to go. Or if they will let you, just take them to go. Better yet, get them a potty watch that reminds them to go at set intervals.