We started potty training our daughter two months after her second birthday, our really good friends started with their daughter around the same time and recommended the timing to us. There had been a lot of signs of ‘readiness’, however, I really don’t think there is ever the ‘perfect’ time to start potty training. The process was a lot harder for me than her, I had a completely wrong expectation of the process. My takeaways looking back are:
1. Potty training is a JOURNEY, I’m not sure who these magicians are that say you can do it in 3 days but… no, just no. Expect, a month of gradual improvement, regressions and just be patient! I wouldn’t say our daughter fully ‘got it’ for about 2 months. In the 6 months since then there have been regression phases where she will just pee her pants or forget to go potty. Expect it and you will be a lot less frustrated.
2. It’s messy in the beginning. Just mentally prepare yourself for mess. There will be poop on your floors, on clothing and for sure your hands. You will feel like there are poop particles on every surface of your house. Breathe. It’s not forever. I’d say the messy phase was the worst in the first month.
3. We put our daughter in diapers for nap and night time still. We take her right before she goes to sleep and she doesn’t always pee during nap but I read that holding while sleeping is a body developmental stage. She’s not waking up with dry diapers yet.
4. Try your best not to nag. It’s so hard when you first start but teach them what to do and then try your hardest to let them tell you. We definitely messed up on this one in the beginning and it backfired majorly. We were constantly asking her if she needed to go and it definitely set us back, she just was over it! Eventually we laid off and let her tell us, I also started to set a timer for every hour and then very matter-of-factly would announce that the alarm meant it was time to try on the potty. Gradually, we increased the time in between and now 6 months later she is the one who tells us when she has to go. Patience mama!
5. They tend to do better out and about than at home. For some reason, it seemed like our daughter held it a lot while she was out and about, she also seemed more willing to use the potty when we were out, I think because she enjoyed the experience of public toilets (that makes one of us). At home however, accidents were more frequent. Still not sure why this was a thing in the beginning but it’s something to note.
Potty Training Items To Buy
- A step stool that is tall enough to reach the sink! We cycled through a couple step stools that were too short. Hand hygiene is an essential element of the whole process! It’s a lot more frustrating if you’re trying to balance your toddler on your knee to reach the sink. I am obsessed with the IKEA BOLMEN step stool. Do yourself a favor and get one for each bathroom. They are sturdy and only $8!
- Mini potty. In the beginning, I would recommend starting out with a little potty. Time is not working on your side when they are learning how to go and something low to the ground and easily accessible is just what you need. The other great part about these little potty’s is that you can move them to whatever room you are in. LIFE HACK: always put a little bit of toilet paper in the bottom of the potty so that if they poop it doesn’t stick and you can just dump it straight into the toilet! We used the Summer Infant potty but I’ve linked other options (one, two and three) that would work just as well.
- Eventually, the whole dumping pee and poo into the potty after every visit will start to get reaaal old and your LO will be more interested in doing it all by themselves. Enter the potty ladder. This thing is awesome, basically just a ladder with handles and potty seat that rests on the real deal. Our daughter started using this about 1.5 months after she started and while it does slow down the process (climbing up, turning around, pulling down pants, sitting down) she loved the independence. This is what we use to this day and she can do it all ‘by my, myself’ as she likes to say. Again, I would recommend working up to the ladder and not starting with it.
- But, what do you do when you’re on the go?! Well my friends, let me tell you about one of my FAVORITE items. The OXO 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel, this thing is life changing. I have avoided so many public restrooms because of this miracle. It’s basically a little travel potty. I keep it in the back of my trunk (I have an SUV) and if my daughter needs to go, she’ll just go in the back of my car. It uses removable bags (order separately), so once they are done you just remove the bag and throw it away. I myself have even used it in an emergency and am glad to report it fits adult booties, if you must. The legs also flip flat, to be used as a travel potty seat over public toilets but I would much rather my daughter just go in the back of my car.
If you are about to dive into potty training for the first time, you can do it! Remember to see it as a process and give it time. You’ll be on the other side before you know it, trying to remember what the days of diapers were like again.
That’s it and that’s all folks! I so hope this is helpful and if you do try out any of these items because of this post please let me know what you think!