When I look back at my thoughts of potty training before starting, I was overwhelmed and dreading it a lot. So many parents had told us horrible stories of their little ones picking up their poop and wiping it on the wall.. To say we were worried is an understatement. But now that we have a potty trained little 3.5 year old things are much easier!! I am not posting this in any way to say that the way we trained is the best way or the only way you should do it, simply just that it is what worked for us, and it may be helpful for you.
First things First here are some signs your child may be displaying if they are ready to start potty training:
- they will wake up from naps/night-time with a dry bum
- They may start telling you when they have gone to the washroom and need to be changed.
- they show interest in others having to use the washroom
- They may try to remove a wet or dirty diaper.
- They hide to go to the washroom.
Supplies we used that were helpful:
- Mattress protector – I suggest 2-3 minimum and ensure they say waterproof!
- A toddler toilet seat to cover your current toilet seat ( this is also a great portable option), or the mini toilet ( you can also skip this option and I will tell you another trick that works really great and can be used on any toilet!)
- Incentive – we chose to use stickers of his favorite characters as well as skittles.
- Big Kid underwear, we got two options, ones that look like daddy which Pearce still prefers from Tumble and Roar and paw patrol ones from Amazon.
- Cleaning supplies, if you have carpet you may want to make sure you have a spot cleaner, or just lots of paper towel because we all know accidents happen!
Conversations to have before starting:
- Speak to all care givers involved in raising your child and ensure you are all on the same page using the same methods. (For myself this meant getting my husband, daycare provider and my mom and sister whom also watch him all on the same page)
- Have a conversation with your toddler and show them all the items you have purchased and show them the method in which they will be rewarded – if you chose to train them with a reward system. Gain their buy in! If your toddler seems unsure, do not push them, they may simply not be ready, try again in a few weeks
Our Potty Training Journey
We presented the items to Pearce and told him about going pee in the potty. We discussed how this was the next phase for him, that he was a big boy and that he was now going to use the big boy potty like mommy and daddy. For the first bit we used a little ikea potty or else sat him backwards on our large bathroom toilet, which is the easiest in my opinion as it can be used universal. We would put him in pants with no underwear and ask him about going to the bathroom. We started this journey in June so it was warm outside and we spent a lot of time outside. We allowed Pearce to pee outside but he would not receive a reward or sticker if it was not on the potty. When Pearce would go poop on the potty we would ask him to touch his toes and wipe, sometimes he wished to be alone during the pooping time and he would call us for wipes. For the first two months Pearce would be pull up free from Morning to Bed time except for long car rides. Which he often asked for us to pull over and let him pee even with his pull up on.
The reward system we decided to use was a Potty Training Chart – Pearce is a very visual child who loves doing arts and crafts, so we picked out stickers from his favorite tv shows and movies and I made a pee chart which allowed him to receive $1 for the dollar store every 10 pees and every 3 poops he got $2. Once he would receive his money I would take him to the dollar store and allow him to pick out his item. He also got 1 skittle for each pee or poop. We hung the chart up in our bathroom and it was used as a visual learner for Pearce.
After Pearce was going to the bathroom during the day for about 2 months he was very good at going pee but we developed an issue with pooping on the potty. I spoke to a few moms about it and because I was 7 months pregnant I wanted to ensure that Pearce didn’t revert back to diapers when the baby was born as we had read a lot about this. My husband and I decided that we would commit to no pull up at night at this point. Before we could start this with Pearce he asked us to wear his underwear to bed one night and so we told him if we did that we had to wake him up to go pee – he said this was okay. So we put him to bed that night with his under wear at 7pm. My husband woke him at 12 am, and I did a 2 am and 4 am pee if he didn’t pee at the 2 am. There were nights accidents happened – of course. But once we did this his confidence was very good and he was ready for this stage as well. After 3 weeks we moved 2 wakes 12 am 3 am. Then 3 weeks after that we woke him 1 time at night which was 2 am. After a week of us waking him once at night he started to wake up on his own and still currently does.
Waking Pearce in the beginning meant carrying a very tired little boy to the washroom where often he was half asleep. He would go pee and then we would take him back to bed. He never struggled to get back to bed.
After Pearce was fully potty trained we let him start to stand up to go pee. We wanted him to first learn how to go on the potty before focusing on aiming into the potty. Now that he is a little older and is potty trained we have taught him to stand up and aim into the bowl and make sure that he is watching to ensure the pee always goes into the bowl. Of course this is just the way we chose to do it – in no way do we think our way is perfect but sometimes hearing another’s journey helps to just get you started!
Regression While expecting
My husband and I had heard from so many people who this happens. It is one reason we committed so strongly to waking him at bed time to go pee. Brooks is now 4 months old and we haven’t noticed any regression.
Little Tips and Tricks
- Little trick I learned was to buy 2 waterproof mattress protectors and make the bed like this: Mattress/Mattress protector/ Sheet/Mattress protector/ Sheet – Doing this allows you to just strip one layer of sheets and mattress protector at night-time so that it’s not a big ordeal if there is an accidents
- Boys point your penis downwards.
- Rather than doing the dollar store you could make a treasure chest of dollar store little finds and let them go into the treasure chest after so many pees or poops
- A decision my husband made was to invest in a child toilet seat, because we have so many friends with toddlers and were pregnant again and both absolutely hate when our child pooped in the ikea portable potty this was awesome. These tend to be a little bit of an investment but Pearce loves it and feels a lot more comfortable on this as the seats that could be sat on top of our regular seat always made him uncomfortable as it would move a lot. Here is one I found on amazon, they are very easy to install.
- Another option is to put your child on the seat backwards – its universal
- If you are training your little one to go poo using a portable potty use a coffee filter it makes clean up just a little easier
- Never get angry or upset if your child has an accident you never want to create a negative situation around potty training.
- Potty training in the summer is also very helpful as your child can run around outside naked or just in undies!
Tips from the Readers : I asked on my instagram for you to give me some tips that helped you with Potty Training and Here they are!
- Don’t Force or Rush it – they will go when they are ready
- Aim for cheerios In the toilet to fix any little boys bad aim
- Add blue food coloring to the toilet and tell them it magically turns green when they pee
- Portable potty in the car
- Keep outings short or to a minimum
- Puppy pee pads on car seats
- Bumbo potty seat was recommended
- Introduce the potty at a young age
In honor of potty training we teamed up with Tumble and Roar and gave away 2 pairs of boxers to a lucky winner in Ontario