The Lowdown on Potty Training | Tuesdays with Jacob

The Lowdown on Potty Training

August 25, 2016

If there's anything I've learned from potty training the last two week (yes, it took us longer than 3 days and that's ok) it's that there are a million opinions out there on the right way to do it. Every kid is different, so you have to find what works best for your family. Here's what worked for us:

1. Fun underwear with loved characters: To get Jacob excited about potty training we picked out underwear with his very favorite characters - Mickey and Thomas, and then encouraged him to not get them wet or dirty. 

2. A little potty: Our large potty ended up being too tall for Jacob to get up onto independently, even with a step stool, so we stuck with a little potty. We let him pick which one he wanted off the rack at Target and he picked out this little frog one. It ended up working really well because we could just keep it in whatever room we were in and not worry about racing to the bathroom. 

3. M & Ms: Jacob rarely gets candy so M&Ms were a fun treat ONLY for when he successfully went on the potty. He loved them so much that he started bringing over the potty to show us, when he started going without us. He wanted to make sure he got his M&Ms. 

4. Lots of water: You want them to drink as much as possible so that they will have to go potty as much as possible. Every time they go is another opportunity to teach them that it goes in the potty and to reinforce with praise and treats if they successfully go. 

5. Salty snacks: Jacob isn't a super heavy drinker on his own, so we pulled out lots of his favorite salty snacks - goldfish, pretzels, popcorn, etc. to encourage him to drink more water. 

6. Anti-bacterial wipes: there were of course accidents in the beginning. We are lucky to have tile floors so we kept a pack of anti-bacterial wipes on hand at all times to quickly clean up after any accidents.

I truly believe we were so successful because Jacob was ready. Parents can be as ready as they want, but if the kiddo isn't, you aren't going to get anywhere. Our parenting style has always been to let Jacob lead and tell or show us what he's ready for and potty training was no different. Jacob started to tell us when he was wet or dirty, and would try to take his diaper off to get away from the messy feeling. He'd often come over to us saying "messy" or "yucky" and we'd know he'd be ready for a change. He also started going for long periods of time (sometimes several hours) with a dry diaper. This let us know he was starting to gain some bladder control.

So right before (and I mean, the three days RIGHT BEFORE) school started, I bit the bullet. Here's what it looked like for us:

Day 1 - 5: We kept the small potty in the living room and we stayed in there ourselves almost the whole day. We kept out lots of salty snacks and a whole plethora of water bottles to encourage lots of drinking. There were accidents. Often he'd get out just a little bit of pee, say "uh-oh" and then do the rest on the potty. We praised him like fools, jumping up and down, singing, cheering every time he successfully got something in the potty, and of course we gave him his M&M. We put a diaper on him at naptime and bedtime only, since bladder control at night can take much longer.

Day 6: Jacob goes to daycare once a week, and of course, he can't go naked there. This was his first day actually wearing underwear. We had tried it the first day and it didn't go well since by the time he realized he was going, he was already soaked and done. So needless to say I was super nervous about how he would do at daycare in his underwear. Turns out he did just great. Our daycare has the same little potty we use at home and she was more than willing to give him his M&M while he went. He had only one pee accident all day, during lunch. He also rode home from daycare in his underwear and kept them dry. That was his first time in the car in underwear, though it's a pretty short drive.

Day 7-10: We let Jacob wear his underwear around the house since he was starting to get a better feel for when he was going to have to go. We watched him carefully and when he started dancing around or grabbing at himself, we put him on the potty. There were a few accidents, but for the most part he did great. Somewhere during these few days he started telling us he needed to go and we would help him sit down on his little potty.

Day 11: Somewhere around Day 11 Jacob started going over and sitting on the potty by himself to go. If we weren't in the room he would then pick up the potty and bring it over to us and show us. At this point we considered him pretty much potty trained since he was having almost no accidents and wearing his underwear full time.

Day 16: We took Jacob for his first outing in his big boy underwear. We kept things simple, going out for breakfast and coffee. Since we have the little potty we took it with us in the car. We waited until he went at home and then loaded up the car and left. When we arrived at the restaurant we let Jacob try to go in the potty in the car just in case before we went in, and then we let him try again before we started the drive home. He didn't go either time, but he kept himself dry and clean and then went once we got home. Success!!

So all in all, I'd say it took us a good two weeks to feel comfortable saying that he was really, fully trained. But we couldn't be prouder.

If you have any questions, or any tips of your own, I'd love to hear it, leave me a comment below!

Here's a handy pin!

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