How to Prepare for Potty Training. 5 tips to read BEFORE you start potty training your toddler
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There are two words in the English language that are guaranteed to make any parent with a baby or toddler cringe. Two words that when you bring them up in playgroup, all the moms audibly groan a little bit. POTTY TRAINING.
I am here to tell you that those two words don’t actually have to be as bad as they sound! No really, potty training doesn’t have to be the hardest thing you and your toddler have done yet.
Last year I was contacted by Elizabeth Pantley, author of bestselling “No-Cry Solution” series. She has written books on lots of great parenting topics like sleeping, napping, discipline, picky eating, and yes, potty training. She asked me if I would like to review one of her books, and since we were planning on potty training Little J soon, I knew that was the one I wanted to pick.
In “The No-Cry Potty Training Solution,” Pantley talks a lot about the pre-potty training stage, and I think that has been a huge help to Little J and has helped us know what we will be in for and be ready for it. I plan on posting a more formal review of “The No-Cry Potty Training Solution” once Little J is officially potty trained, but for now, I thought it would be helpful to talk about the importance of pre-potty training!
Pre-potty training is perhaps the most important part of potty training. If you do it right, your child will be ready to go, know what to do, and feel comfortable doing it. I don’t want to give away all of the amazing suggestions Pantley provides, but I want to talk about a few that really helped us.
1. Read about potty training before you start. I think a lot of parents probably start, get frustrated, and then go back and read tips. But if you read about potty training before you start, you are going to be prepared! And I suggest reading a lot of different things. Pantley talks about how every child is different, so what works great for one toddler might be a disaster for another. So read about lots of different strategies, and you will be all set.
2. Be patient. Potty training doesn’t happen overnight. Yes, there are some stories of kids who take one day to potty train, but that is super rare. Pantley mentions that it takes most children 3-12 months after potty training begins to be daytime potty trained. So one huge thing that will help you be successful is to work on being patient. If you can’t be patient in normal situations, then you are going to have a hard time when your child pees on the floor for the fourth time in a day. Work on patience, and know that it is going to take a while and I promise you will get through it!
3. Come up with a plan. Have lots of options ready. Part of why reading about potty training is important is because then you will have a good idea of lots of different ways to help your child with potty training. Decide if you want to do pull-ups or undies first, if you want to use a reward system, if you want to want to ride “the potty train” every time you go to the bathroom. Some things are going to work, and some things aren’t. And if you have a lot of options ready, you won’t be stalled or get hung up in the middle of potty training when something you had planned doesn’t work. So figure out what your plan is and make sure you have lots of backup options ready, too.
4. Learn about the potty. Talk about it, read about it, and show your toddler the potty. If you are comfortable, let your child watch you. This may be weird but Little J loves watching me flush the toilet. He says, “Flush it?!” and gets a big smile on his little face. You will definitely be talking about potty training all day long. But getting your toddler familiar with the words you are going to use and helping him understand that everyone uses the potty will really help once you start. If you familiarize your child with the potty, he isn’t going to be scared of it and it will be a lot more comfortable for him to start potty training.
5. Teach your child to follow directions and foster independence. Potty training is pretty much about following directions and being independent. So if your toddler won’t listen to a thing you say or if he needs you to do simple things for him, potty training may be a lot harder. So before you start, work on getting your toddler to do easy things like take his plate to the table or throw away a dirty tissue. And try to have them put their pants or shoes on by themselves. Simple things like that make potty training a lot easier. Which is something I never would’ve thought of, but Pantley talks about a few things like this and that’s part of why I love the book.
After you do these things, you still may not be ready for potty training. Just because you really want to potty train your child does not mean that he is ready. In “The No-Cry Potty Training Solution” there is an amazing quiz with 22 questions to see if you are both ready for potty training. I actually took the quiz twice because the first time, I realized that since we were moving in a few weeks, it probably wasn’t the best time to start. I know it’s going to take a lot of work to get Little J officially potty trained, but I am excited for the day we will only have one in diapers!
Have you started potty training your toddler yet? What tips do you have that helped you start off on the right foot? Let me know!