I’m not sure about you guys, but for our family, it feels like there’s no such thing as the perfect time to begin huge transitions like potty training. Even when we try to create the ideal schedule, it has so much more to do with whether or not our little ones are ready themselves.
The truth is that Owen has been showing some of the signs that he’s ready to start potty training for a while now. He keeps his diaper dry for an extended period, occasionally tells us or even hides when he’s peeing or pooping and when his diaper is wet and often pulls on it to let us know he needs a change. That said, it doesn’t seem like he’s 100% ready to start potty training. We’re working on getting him comfortable with the process and decided to introduce the potty with ease so that once he takes interest we can begin from a comfortable place.
Here are five easy steps to start potty training boys and girls:
Purchase a Few Potty Training-Focused Books
Owen is all about Elmo these days and is obsessed with having us read to him. So the first step and very organic progression into potty training was to pick up some toddler books that focused on just that. This way Owen is familiar with the language around potty training and can understand that even his favorite characters use the toilet.
Introduce the Potty in a Very Natural Way
Owen is at an age where he’s excited to help open boxes and mail, so when his potty chair and toddler step stool arrived he was over the moon. He helped me unpack the box and was so interested to see how his new “seat” and stool fit into our bathroom. We’ve had it in the bathroom the last couple weeks so that he has become very comfortable seeing it nearby during bathtime. While separate potty chairs work well for some families, also consider potty seats that go on top of your toilet. When paired with a stool, this can be an effective way to potty train and which method you choose will depend on your child’s preferences, space constraints and more.
Create a Bathroom Routine
Each morning and night we’ve been doing our best to use the step stool for both teeth brushing and washing his hands. We’ve also been encouraging him to sit on the potty chair without a diaper at least once a day, and have been very open about showing him how we use the toilet as well. This potty training step is important. By ritualizing the bathroom process, when the training really begins your toddler’s seat won’t be foreign and he or she will understand how and why we all use the toilet.
Manage Your Expectations as a Parent
It can be so easy to get caught up in what you’re supposed to be doing as a parent, especially with big transitions like potty training, but the truth is that every kid is different and might require different steps and a different pace. Potty training isn’t one size fits all and by removing expectations this whole process will be more enjoyable for the entire family. When you really think about it, as your little one approaches this milestone, this should be an exciting time, not one filled with stress and pressure!
Develop a Loose Plan
Getting on the same page with your spouse about big transitions in your little one’s life is crucial—this includes as you introduced solid foods, moved from bottle to sippy cup, and now how you plan to handle rewards during potty training. Of course not everything will go the way you plan, but finding a true incentive you know your child will respond to and a method that works for your family is key. We always remind ourselves that we are in fact on the same team and that our little boy will use the potty when he’s ready.
For seasoned parents, what has worked for you? We’re there any particular methods or easy steps that helped your kids enjoy a comfortable potty training process?
Photography by Amy Frances Photography.