Potty Training 101

Potty-training can be stressful for both parents and children, especially when forced. If I have not learned anything else from my potty training experience, I have learned to take heed to the signs and personalities of my children. As parents, we sometimes feel that when we are ready for something to happen, our children are to follow suit. If you are walking into this experience with that attitude I guarantee it will be a nightmare. Luckily, if you are new to this potty-training thing, parents like myself are here to help make this process easier for you. If you are a vet, well everyone needs a refresher from time to time.

“Unique & Different ”
If you are a parent with multiple children, I’m sure that you understand that every child is unique in their own way, and have their own personality. Some things we can deem as age appropriate but as my grandfather would say, “at some point we have to call a spade a spade!” According to the University of Michigan’s Health Department, most American children have full control of their bladder between 24-36 months of age.


While this may be true for some, it’s definitely not true for all. I say, pay attention to the signs that your child is giving. Are they removing their diaper/pull-up on their own? Are they taking an interest in sitting on the potty or wanting to flush? Can he/she clearly communicate the need to go potty? Basic motor skills such as communication and being able to acknowledge the need to use the restroom are things that will be needed in order to move forward with this process. If your child has not shown any sign of these basic skills, they may not be as ready as you think.

Have some fun with it!
How can we forget about little Ginnah Wright and her mom’s infamous “Pee Pee in the Potty” jingle. That story was one that inspired me when helping my sister with potty-training my two year old niece. Knowing that my niece can never resist a good song and a chance to dance around, I thought this potty song would be a great tool to aid her into potty-training. It always helps when you are able to incorporate your child’s interest. Think about what gets your child excited and use those things to motivate both you and your toddler.


It’s also a good idea to make it a family affair for everyone! Creating a song or dance, racing to see who can get to the potty first, creating potty charts or promoting rewards for successful potty trips are all great ways to make it fun and interesting. Being rewarded is huge for children between the ages of 2 to 4. Showing them love even when mistakes are made allows them to see that no matter what happened the fact that you tried is still a win. With my son there were many attempts made to get him to the potty, but he could not quite make it in time. Even though this was not the outcome we would have wanted, just a simple comforting hug was a big enough reward for him. He was happy just to know that we were still proud. To follow that up, we would have a quick bath time party to celebrate the attempt. You can never lose when there’s fun involved!

Stay consistent, you’ve got this fam!
From home to grandma and grandpa’s house, everything must stay consistent. This will be a key component in being successful. Some say that it takes 21 days to form a good habit and others say it takes up to 66 days. No matter how long it may take, you both must stay the course. Try building a flexible routine that would work at both private and public places. Be sure to have everyone who’s closely involved in your child’s life be on board with this routine and your training methods. Keep extra changing clothes and wipes with you at all times in case of an accident. Be sure to communicate that accidents happen and that’s ok.


The main goal is to stay on track and pick up where you left off. There will be times when you are close to accepting the fact that your child may wear pull ups until grade school and that’s okay too. All that matters is that you are taking the necessary steps towards the end goal. Every child moves at their own pace and even though our adult nerves cannot fully understand this, we must continue to support our children’s efforts. Remember potty training is a marathon not a race. Keeping this at the forefront of your mind will help reduce the stress that you or your child may experience.

All the things…
One thing I found to be very convenient while potty training is having a potty training seat that I could take anywhere. This has saved me several times from having to break our routine. Another gem that I recommend is plastic undies, yep that’s right. Sometimes you have to take it old school and pull out grandma’s secrets to get the job done. I’m not quite sure if they still have these around but they come in handy when accidents happen in public. It is a 75% chance that your child will stay dry. If this is not something you can find, training underpants work just as well. They are padded and comfortable, just like a pull up but they will definitely alert your child in a different way when they are wet. My daughter never liked the feeling of something wet sitting on her bottom so she learned how to get to the potty fast. Give it a try, you never know what reaction you will get.
Whatever methods you decide on just remember these three things, be patient for your sanity’s sake, laugh a lot and finish strong!


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