A couple of people asked me for toilet/potty training tips. Trust me, I am no expert. I stumble my way through this process, and it's always in hindsight that I go - dang I should have done this, I should have seen that coming and so on.
I'm no pro-pottytrainer.
But my tips are as follows, for anyone who wants to play along with the PottyMouthMama's Potty Training Academy.
1. Wait for Summer. Or at least until the weather is warmer. It's miserable training in Winter. Summer you can get nuded up (well, I leave that to the smalls), and it's not so uncomfortable if accidents happen.
2. Ask them if they need to go to the toilet. Look for visual cues. If you're in tune with your small, you might be surprised with what cues they give that they need to visit the AWESOME POTTY!
3. Undies! Get them to choose some cute undies, or I buy the 10 pack from Target. They're cute, they're cheap, and if there are any epic accidents, it's no big dealio to toss them if you can't face washing them (been there, eeeeep! For some reason a poo in undies is worse than poo in a nappy. Go figure.).
4. Be prepared for accidents. They do happen. And it's no biggie. And don't make the mistake of making a big deal about it. Clean it up and continue on your merry way.
5. Make it fun! Going to the toilet is FUN! Who doesn't love going to the toilet??! Be excited when they do well! Show that you're pleased. Small fry love to please! They love you to praise them and feel proud of them! (Who doesn't?) PRAISE! PRAISE! PRAISE! It's the best thing you'll walk away from this lesson with!
6. Make a star chart. Don't spend any money on a start chart. Grab a texta, a sheet of paper, some sticker stars, or hearts or whatever it is your little person digs, and chart their success. I always have say 3-5 stars and then they get a surprise. Not a big surprise. Like a sheet of their own stickers, or a Freddo Frog, or a Matchbox car, or a hi-bouncer. Something that they're going to dig! And make sure you tell them that it's for being so AWESOME! (You can say all you like about positive reinforcement, but it works for me!)
7. If they're not ready, no biggie. In my small career as a Potty Trainer, I have stopped and started the process a number of times. If they're not ready, if it's not clicking - no biggie! Take a break from the Potty Training Academy for a couple of weeks, or even a month, and try again later. Kids learn so quickly, and removing the pressure makes a big difference. You won't feel so angsty, and trust me, they pick up on that!
8. And in hindsight, invest in either a good seat that sits straight on the toilet - as well as a step (or some are all one thing which is pretty tricky) to make them feel safe, or a potty that doesn't mean spillage and slipping and sliding all over the floor. I used a cheap potty both times, and it worked, but it also meant extra cleaning. HMPH! But if you can't squeeze your budget any more for a fancy pants potty - don't worry about it, just keep the Pine O Clean handy.
9. Books! You can pick up some cute books about potty training - either visit a bookstore, trawl online or check out your local library. If kids read about, often they can imagine themselves in that situation. Here are some links to books we like in our household:
- Who's In The Loo? Jeanne Willis & Adrian Reynolds
- On Your Potty! Virginia Miller
- Everyone Poops Taro Gomi
- Big Boys Use The Potty!
- The No Cry Potty Training Solution Elizabeth Pantley (Adult reading)
11. And as for age, it really is whenever you feel they are ready. As I said, I tried a few different times with both my kids. We stopped and started and did it at our own leisure. Don't feel pressured if your child is not ready.
And remember. PottyMouthMama is no expert!