Potty Training 101 (PART 2)
Updated: Feb 13
Potty training can be difficult for working moms because in order to be successful you need consistency and that’s just not how our day to day schedules work. Working moms may find it difficult to have a few days in a row spent in their homes for the potty training process. What worked for Sonny didn’t work for Remi and what worked for us wont work for others. As Amanda previously stated in our post Potty Training 101, we are not experts on potty training. By writing these pieces and sharing our experience we hope to share some tips and tricks that you can use as takeaways that worked for us!
A perk to working in higher education is that most institutions are closed from Christmas to New Years. This winter break was the perfect opportunity for consistent time spent at home needed to tackle potty training. Remi is 2.5 and although a few of her friends including Sonny are potty trained, we had failed at attempts before. Timing is everything when it comes to potty training and your kid needs to be ready for it to work. We were at the point where Remi began to tell me she peed or pooped and this was my tell all sign to start!
Day one tested my patience the most. You have to find your groove with the training process and see what works for them. It had been suggested to begin the process by putting them on the potty every 30 to 40 minutes to encourage them to go. By the next day (day 2) Remi was telling me when she had to use the potty and a majority of the time I found her timing to be spot on. I would still ask her in between the long stretches to make sure she was aware and conscious of her body. When starting out kids can become easily distracted so the reminders and check-ins are important. Fun fact: I had no clue how often kids go to the bathroom...maybe it was the changing of diapers that threw me off but I found myself asking her every 15 minutes if she had to go. Remi kept yelling no and when she finally said I go pee pee and ran to the potty...I finally "got it" and stopped nagging her about it. An hour or two would go by and she wouldn't pee, other times she would pee every 30 minutes.
I began introducing potty books into our bedtime routine. We read every night so this was an easy and subtle way to start a push for potty training. Some of our favorites included the Daniel Tiger Potty Time book and the Elmo P is for Potty book. Remi was able to get the concept and see some of her favorite characters go through the motions of using the potty, flushing and washing their hands. The books will even share lessons like how it is important to stop playing to use the potty to avoid an accident.
We had purchased a potty with a step ladder which sits on a normal toliet. This was placed in one of the bathrooms and we purchased a toddler floor potty for another bathroom. During this training session, Remi gravitated toward the floor potty. It helped with independence and confidence for her to use it by herself. I decided to keep the toddler potty in the bathroom. During previous attempts I would have them available in the living room or her play room and that never worked for us. This time Remi was associating using the potty with going in the bathroom just like mom and dad. This worked for us!
LET’S TALK OTHER OPTIONS TO NAKED POTTY TRAINING
Let me first begin by saying I have heard wonderful things about naked potty training. I would say 99% of the time when a parent would tell me about their potty training experience, it included naked potty training. "Basically you let your kid walk around naked while you watched them like a hawk and try to get them on a toilet before they have an accident." (PT101) It totally worked for Sonny and he was potty trained before two years old. This method did NOT work for us. Besides the fact that it is winter and walking around without pants can be a bit chilly and uncomfortable, the previous times we had attempted Remi would have accidents so I decided to shake things up a bit and we ordered about 25 pairs of her favorite character undies. Since Remi is really into characters right now we bought some Minnie Mouse, Frozen and Disney Princess cotton potty training undies. She was SO excited to wear them and when she had her first accident on the first day she was devastated that she had gotten her purple Elsa undies wet. This was our game changer, from that moment on we had just two accidents in the next five days. She made sure to go to the potty and not in her new undies. By day three she was asking to put her pants on over her undies.
Remi loves toys and stickers but they did nothing to encourage her to use the potty. Honestly she could cared less about the sticker chart I tried to use and simply played with a new toy for about 20 seconds before she was over it. The only thing that worked for us.... “You get candy if you go on the potty!!" I stocked up on mini m&ms and had a container of smarties for her choosing once she would go on the potty. She is totally her father’s daughter and chose the food rewards instead of the toys. We placed the treats on a shelf she could access when she was done using the potty, she also felt independent to pick her candy of choice. We only used this reward method of the first five days and after that Remi did not expect a treat or candy in return for using the potty. Special shoutout to snapchat for their filters, we spent a few hours that week on the bathroom floor, waiting to go and playing with filters on my phone!
About 5 months ago Remi grew out of naps so this was one less hurdle for us to tackle during the potty training process. As we stated before, kids naturally will grow out of urinating in their sleep but it doesn't happen right away. Until that time you need a backup. At bedtime we put a diaper and pull ups on her which she now knows as her "sleepy pants" - totally stole the term from Amanda :). I thought this would be confusing for her and throw a wrench in our potty training plans but it didn't. She was able to understand the difference quickly. Once we wake each morning we throw out the diaper/pullup and put on some big girl undies. I always make sure to reiterative that she needs to go pee pee in the potty.
BACK TO WORK
Consistency is key so when we had to go back to work and our normal schedules I wanted to make sure Remi felt just as comfortable when she was at my parents or when she visits my MILs house. The great thing about a toddler potty is most are compact and travel easily, I didn't want to pack up the potty each day and opted to purchase the same item for everyone's home. I wanted the potty to be recognizable for Remi and a comfortable space when she visits until we gain more experience in this realm. The transition was positive and I even received a few facetime calls during work to let me know she had gone on the potty. Before we travel anywhere in the car I always ask her if she needs to go and I make sure to pack a number of undies and change of clothes in her bag each day.
Kudos if you made it through and found some takeaways for your potty training journey! Our first piece Potty Training 101 shares a different method and some great resources and research to add on the topic! We can't stress how important it is to take your time. When your child is ready the process is much smoother! As Amanda said, this is just another milestone that your kid will figure out in there own time with your support!