We did it! No more diapers! Okay, well no more diapers for our 2 year old WOOOO! I have been asked by a ton of people how we potty trained Felipa and I have finally written this all out for you.
I will first begin with this: Be ready to chase your kid around all day asking them if they have to pee or poo. Have all of the lysol wipes, towels and cleaning supplies ready because there are going to be a ton of accidents. And lastly, be prepared to throw all of your expectations out the window.
We were really lucky that Felipa picked this up so quickly, and that might not be your reality, but keep at it and eventually your kid will also be diaper free!
I also did not read any book in particular. I skimmed through a couple of articles and a few books that people had lent me, but who has time to read cover to cover? So I enlisted in some friends and family that have been through this before and we decided trial and error was going to be our way!
How did we know she was ready?
There are a few tell tale signs for kids when they are ready to lose the diaper for good. Here is a list of professional opinions, as well as our personal experience:
- They can verbalize that they don’t want a diaper anymore
- They are pulling at their wet diaper
- They are hiding when they pee or poo
- They have a dry diaper for a longer than normal period of time
- They are waking up from their naps or in the morning with a dry diaper
- They watch you go and try to mimic you
- They understand potty lingo, like “pee” and “poo”
- They can pull up and down their own pants
Felipa pretty much checked off every box on this list, so we knew it was time to just take the plunge. With covid, it was easy since we are home anyways — so if you are also debating whether or not to give this a go, then I would have to say, now is a great time!
What kind of supplies will you need?
Before you get started with potty training, make sure that you are well-equipped at home. We have a physical potty and also a toddler seat attachment with a stepping stool for the adult sized toilet. Here are some affordable potty training supplies you can get from Amazon:
An easy to clean Potty Chair is key for everyday use.
Your kid is going to use the potty up to 20 times a day, between pee and poo, so make sure you invest in something that is easy to clean! This Fisher Price Potty Chair is easy to clean and very affordable at $15.
Alternatively, you can grab a Potty Training Toilet Seat with a Step Stool built right in.
These are great because your child is already used to using the “big toilet” and the transition should be pretty easy once they’re big enough to use it on their own. Also, another PLUS, is you can easily just flush their stuff. No additional clean up as with a traditional potty chair. This one is a bit on the pricier side at $43.99, but it does include the step stool so your child can be a bit more independent from the start!
If you are looking for a more affordable option for your toilet seat, than the Fisher Price Perfect Potty Ring is a great alternative.
This potty ring comes in just under $20 and has small handles for your child to hold on to. You may need to purchase a step stool, or just pick them up every time they need to go.
OK! Now that we have supplies out of the way, here are the steps we used to Potty Train our toddler in 36 hours!
The Potty Introduction
Okay so we didn’t make a big deal out of the potty. We left it in the living room. It was there a good 3-4 weeks before we actually started the training. We would point it out, and say things like “okay Felipa, if you have to pee, you can go on the potty”. This was met with “NO, pee in diaper”.
We left it alone and just let her know that it was there if she wanted to. Very neutral faces, not excitement or disappointment. This was key in the way we wanted her to choose the potty on her own and I feel like a factor into why we had success in such little time.
We also normalized the bathroom experience. I would take her into the bathroom with me and explain what I was doing. I let her flush and then we would wash our hands together. Eventually, she started to ask about her potty.
She started by peeing in her diaper on the potty (on her own). And then one day she asked for the diaper off and that’s how we started to full potty train her.
Make a Clean Break!
We decided not to use pull ups or any aids. We just went straight underwear and pants. I figure if she could just master it without any additional blocks then it would be easier in the long run.
So, what does that look like? Well, you take your kids diaper off and then plan on chasing them around your house for the next few days! We made sure to let Felipa know that she was no longer getting a diaper and that if she had to pee she needed to use the potty and to ask for help.
We also bribed her. Listen, if you’re not into bribing your kid to pee on a potty then STOP READING NOW. You are not going to like what I have to say next.
No Bribe is Too Big!
For us, bribery worked like a charm! Now, this method may not be for you or your family style, so skip this section and move on to the next. For those of you that bribery is not beneath you…keep reading.
We had a simple equation, each pee equaled 2 m&m’s and each poo got 4 m&m’s. There was no reward for accidents, but also no scolding, only neutral faces and an additional explanation as to why we don’t pee or poo on the floor.
We explained to her: if you want chocolate, you need to pee on the potty. If you want chocolate, you need to poop on the potty. It worked. She would go, and ask immediately for chocolate and we gave it to her.
Now you might think that your kid will expect chocolate every time they use the bathroom but this too was easy to stop. We just stopped saying that she was getting chocolate and would distract her with a new activity or toy and she eventually just stopped asking for chocolate. Yup. That simple.
What DOESN’T work: giving your child the chocolate when they don’t pee or poo on the toilet. No matter how big the tantrum, you need to stick it through and don’t give in. This is really important if you are using and external reward system.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Flood your kid with liquids. All of the liquids. Their favourite juice, milk, water, whatever they will drink a ton of! For us, that was a cross between milk in the mornings and then very watered down juice for the rest of the day.
You literally need to keep their bladder full and then watch. Like a stalker. Every move, every fidget, every leg cross. Soon you will know exactly the moment they have to pee. You also need to keep asking them questions:
Do you have to pee?
Are you sure you don’t have to pee?
Would you like to try and use your potty?
Let Mommy/Daddy know when you need to pee, please.
Once they tell you yes, or you “just know”, then bring them to the potty and have them sit there. I wouldn’t leave them too long because they can get quite comfy and you want the toilet to be a place of utility, not comfort. If they don’t go after a few minutes, just simply say “okay we’ll try again soon” and then more liquids, watch and wait.
If you truly want this to work, then YOU need to be committed. No work emails, No instagram, No facebook, No phone calls, No tv, No movies, you get the picture. This is so important. You really need to pay attention to your child and their cues. It will be worth it, I promise!
Applaud, Cheer + Reward!
Once your kid has used the potty, you need to be ready to party like it’s Canada Day! Get the sparklers out, pump up the music and make all of the fuss because they need to know that this is a GOOD THING!
We definitely high fived, clapped, gave out m&m’s and made sure everyone at home was in on it. My dad (we’re staying with my parents during covid) would even clap and say good job from a completely different room in the house!
Let me be clear. This has to happen EVERY. TIME. Yes, EVERY TIME! We still applaud her, to a lesser degree and it’s been 2 months…..
Bye Bye Poo Poo! Bye Bye Pee Pee!
Have your child help when cleaning up. If you are using the actual toilet, then let them flush. If you are using a traditional potty, then empty the waste into the toilet and let them bid farewell to their pee and poop. Just make sure to explain that only pee and poo go in the toilet!
That’s It! That’s the magical formula!
Normalize the Potty + No aids + Bribery + Stalking
+ No Distractions + Rewards=
Potty Trained Child and Happy Parents!
Okay, so it’s not actually that simple but it could be, if you lower your expectations. All kids are going to have accidents, even months down the line. So what do we do when that happens?!
In the 36 hours of training that we did, there were probably about 9 accidents, so we were 50% successful with potty usage in day one. By half way through day 2, there just were no more accidents. I was paranoid every day for about 2 more weeks that she was just going to pee or poo on the floor and it just never happened!
We’re about 2 months into potty training and she has had about 5 accidents to date. So what did we do when that happens?
- REMAIN CALM: Do not be upset. Do not yell. This could actually affect the way they view the bathroom experience. We simply ask why she peed on the floor and then explain that she needs to use the potty.
- Bring them to the potty immediately. If you catch them right at the beginning, pick them up and run (carefully of course).
- Restart the training. Not completely, but you will need to remind your child a little more frequently the day it happens so that they get back to going on their own.
Things we learned:
- We do not miss changing a toddler’s diaper AT ALL!
- Cleaning a potty chair sucks, but it’s better than a diaper.
- I am not beneath bribery.
- Accidents happen and that’s okay!
- Consistency is key! We would not have been successful if everyone was not on the same page.
- Toddlers do not like change, but with structure and guidance and cheering them on – anything is possible.
I hope this was helpful and encouraging and made potty training seem like an easy task to tackle. If you have any more tips/tricks/advice for other parents then please leave them in the comments so we can all benefit!
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