I'm not a mommy blogger and being a mom is not what I regularly write about here. But, the truth is, I am a mom and this topic of potty training has consumed A LOT of my time lately. Remember this scene, we've been at it for a while now. Yes, we are definitely potty training. So, if you aren't the mom of a toddler, please just check out Olivia's cute little legs and come back for my usual topics tomorrow.
You know, my first two where both potty trained by the time they were 2, through the night and everything. I really thought I was such a great parent until I had Olivia. This kid is a tough cookie. And as we approach 3 years old, I'm really wanting some potty success now more then ever.
I don't think there is a magic system or a secret to potty training your kiddos. It's really just a lot of work. And every kid is different, so don't beat yourself up. But, I'll share with you what I think works. It's just my 2 cents worth on potty training. I'm definitely not an expert, but I am a mom of three kids.
Here's 5 tips that you might find helpful:
1. Be Consistent - This is the hardest one. But, you have to be consistent about using the potty regularly. This is easier at home, but you've got to be ready to see the inside of every Target, McDonald's and Mall bathroom. It's not convenient or fun, but you got to take them often. I love the Pull-Ups Time to Potty App on my iphone that gives a reminder of when to visit the potty.
2. Make it fun - You've got to be positive and up beat. Kids are so good at reading your attitude and feeding off it. If you are frustrated or anxious, they know. They are so stinkin smart. Make potty time fun with songs, stories, even an iphone game if you need to. Just smile and think happy thoughts.
3. Have the right tools - I've listed a few of our favorites in the image below. Underwear are a must. It's the best way for kids to feel when they go. Candy can be a reward, as far as I'm concerned. We have a jar in the bathroom and just one sweat can be a nice treat. You can find other rewards, but kids do like candy. A potty seat is a must, you don't want them to be afraid to go. They need to feel secure, I love this folding one, I keep it in the diaper bag and it goes everywhere with us. At home a stool is good to have. You want them doing it all by themselves. You don't want to be lifting them up of the potty everytime they go, they need some independence. And Pull-Ups are a lifesaver. They go on and off like underwear, but you don't have to panic through nap times and bed time.
4. Promise a Pony - Well, maybe not a pony, but the reward has got to be worth it. Not everyone is ok with candy for their kids. I think a little doesn't hurt, so Olivia got one M and M/Skittle like candy if she would pee on the potty. I'm a teacher, this might be called positive reinforcement or an incentive, I call it bribery. I WANT her to go potty and maybe I am bribing just a bit. :) But, when it came to pooping, stickers and candy just wasn't enough. I made BIG promises, like toys and even a trip to the Mall to ride the little train there. The reward had to be worth it to her. I only made promises that I could and wanted to keep. But, a couple $5 toys and 30 mins at the Mall was totally doable for me if we could be on the road to pooping in the pot. Figure out what your kid LOVES and use that to your advantage, maybe it's as simple as a little TV time. Each kids is different.
5. Grow up kid - no more babies, no more baby talk. Use the big boy, big girl card as often as possible. Catch them doing things independently and tell them "You're so big, you can .......". They will love hearing it. Then when it comes time for the potty, you can say, "I know you're a big kid because you ........, so let's be big and use the potty".
I hope this helps and good luck my friends. May the odds always be in your favor. (Sorry for so many Olivia pics, but I think she's pretty cute and the Grandmas are going to be really happy that I posted so many).