Potty training. It’s a stage I’ve pretty much dreaded since becoming a mom. Yes, in the early days it felt like there was a never ending amount of diaper changes. And then just when the amount of diaper changes a day could be counted on one hand, we had another baby and then we were going through diapers in record high numbers. But I really didn’t mind! I did have some worries about my child never being allowed into school because he wasn’t toilet trained, but I still thought the transition from diapers to underwear sounded overwhelming. I knew that there were likely going to be accidents to clean, that long car rides would probably get longer and that wet sheets would need to be changed in the middle of the night. With two under two that all sounded very daunting and I was determined to wait until the last possible second.
This all changed for me when a potty training expert guest spoke at my mom group. Her method sounded full proof, and best of all she spelled out everything we’d need to make it a success (see below for my list of must haves), without using bribes or rewards. Perfect! At least I might be able to avoid any sugar related temper tantrums or weird associations developing between pooping and getting treats. From that talk I also experienced a significant mindset shift as to why potty-training is so much more than just an unfortunate transition every parent must go through with their child. This was actually an opportunity to help my child achieve a pretty epic milestone of independence. I realized that my child was probably ready to be rid of his diapers long before I recognized that he was. I started to look forward to helping him achieve this developmental milestone and build up his self-esteem and confidence in himself rather than simply dread the inconvenience.
Shortly after my son turned two and a half we decided to ditch the diapers one day. He ran around naked and happy and every time he needed to go, he actually told us!! This was definitely a benefit to waiting until this age. If your child can’t communicate verbally you’ll need to be much more observant to look for their physical cues that “something” is coming. Some children exhibit the signs of readiness for potty training much sooner. Generally somewhere in the window of 18 - 34 months is prime time, waiting beyond this window can present other challenges like power struggles. For us, one of the most obvious signs our son displayed was the instinctual desire to seek privacy for using his diaper and
So the daytime was going great, but evenings were a bit of a different story. My little guy still seemed to like the comfort and routine of wearing a diaper to bed. While I don’t think this jived with the philosophy of the book (I really can’t claim to have read it cover to cover!) we went ahead and allowed the night time diapers for a little while but I wasn’t exactly sure whether we were moving forwards or backwards. Right around this time, I learned Pampers was launching their newly redesigned Easy Ups training pants. Duh!!! Training pants exist for just this reason. We were sent a surprise pack for him to unbox (see the video here) and he was pretty excited to have something that looked and felt a lot more like underwear than a diaper. The Easy Ups were breathable yet still absorbent enough to make sure there is no leakage day or night. The Thomas design sold him on wearing them right away! Because training pants fit like underwear and are different enough from a diaper he was able to make the distinction that he was not to “go” in his easy ups, but I had the peace of mind that we were protected in the event of any accidents or leaks at night.
I’m proud to say that within just a few weeks my son was fully potty trained! I learned a lot along the way and now feel confident guiding other parents through the process. Accidents are still to be expected here and there. Toddlers get distracted, overly excited, or upset and can lose track of their bodily sensations. With our little guy he can get so immersed playing that getting him to stop and take a pee break isn’t always happening. But we’re a work in progress, just like everything is when it comes to parenting. Don’t get discouraged and give up if your child reverts. Life transitions, like starting preschool, or a new sibling can often lead to some form of regression. Just stay consistent and be patient both with yourself and your little ones. You’ll all be glad you did!
My Must Haves for Successful Potty training
Book “Oh Crap Potty Training”, by Jan Glowicki. There are tons of potty training books out there, I picked this one based on the potty training expert I met and because I loved the idea of no bribes. Whatever method you choose, the bottom line is to be consistent.
Potties - Having one potty per floor is a great idea when starting out. My faves are the simply designed potties like the Baby Bjorn and Ikea. They are compact, easy to clean, don’t have any fancy bells and whistles and the basin easily separates from the base for cleaning.
The Potette - this is a travel potty that serves a dual purpose of being both a child friendly toilet seat and a fold out mini potty for on the go (like the park) and you can purchase disposable liners.
Squatty Potty - this helps put the body in the proper position for elimination by helping to relax the bowels and reduce straining. Great for adults too!
Pampers Easy Ups - Super comfortable training pants in fun, child friendly designs help to make the transition from diapers to underwear seamless. They are softer than diapers, pull up and down easily (and can be ripped off at the side as well in a hurry) and are super absorbent to protect against leaks. Click here to see Hunter's Unboxing Surprise!
Seat cover - when your little one is ready to sit on the big seat I love the Ikea seat cover, and it looks and feels the same as their potty so it’s a more familiar feeling.
Pad of sticky notes - this is a tip borrowed from the potty training expert I met. Use these to cover the automatic flushers in public restrooms. The last thing a new potty trainer needs is to feel like they might get sucked down the toilet bowl with an unexpected flush as loud as a jet engine
Changes of clothes & extra underwear - don’t leave home without them!
Dry Seat for the car seat. Our car seat brand offers an insert to protect from accidents and spills. Let me tell you if you’ve ever had to remove the fabric cover of your car seat you know you’ll probably never want to do it again or at least avoid it at all possible costs!!
Doctor Jackie's Blog
A place for me to share my own experiences as an ND & Mom, things I find interesting in the world of wellness & medicine, share recipes, health tips and home/DIY self care ideas. Between 2012 & 2016 I got married, moved twice and had two kids! But I'm back and have SO much to share with you now. Becoming a mom has completely changed my world and my practice. Stay tuned for lots more from me :)