If everyone involved is ready for potty training, make sure you have supplies ready. Here is a list of supplies to have:
• Stickers for rewards
• Chart (if your toddler likes to post and show off the stickers)
• Potty seat with attachment for big potty
• Training underwear/pants
• Plastic covers over the underwear (about three or four) Lessens the mess on your furniture, carpet or floor if an accident happens
• Extra change of clothes
• Loose fitting pants or shorts (so your toddler can pull up and down)
• Books to read
• Flushable wipes (regular wipes will clog your toilet)
• Large zip lock bags
• Disposable gloves
• Cleaners for flooring (Find a good carpet cleaner that sanitizes and deodorizes and/or a good floor cleaner that is meant specific for your type of flooring)
• Cleaners specific for your couch or furniture
In my child care program, I have my potty seat attached to the big potty. I make sure I have floor cleaner ready for messes (stored out of reach). If your toddler is in a child care program, I suggest talking to the child care provider about what signs of readiness your toddler has been showing so far. Ask about their potty training policy. Share with everyone involved if there is a particular phrase or word to say when your child goes to the potty. Here is the process I follow in my child care program during the 10 day trial period: (Your child care might have a different routine)
Iva’s routine for potty training (in her program):
Day 1 should start on a Monday or the first day of the week your toddler is normally in care or at home. If he is usually part-time in a child care program, you can either arrange a full week schedule at home with your toddler or arrange a full week schedule in child care during this potty training process. This suggested process can be done at home, or in his child care program. If a full week schedule is inconvenient, do the best you can.
When your toddler is ready to start his day on “Day 1” or when your toddler arrives at child care, you or your child care provider can change his outfit to get ready for potty training. I usually have him wear a t-shirt or a top with underwear, a plastic underwear cover and socks if it’s cold. The child care program might have a different policy for what he can wear during potty training. But when you are at home, you have the flexibility to let your toddler wear limited clothing.
For the first day, I suggest to take your toddler every 30 to 40 minutes (after he has eaten or drank) to the potty using a word or phrase he is familiar with. In my child care program, I have a potty seat attachment on the toilet already to go. I help him up onto the seat. I offer books to look at. This helps him to relax, so if he needs to go pee or poops, it will come naturally. You can sit nearby for encouragement. I would only have him sit on the potty seat for up to 5 minutes. If he went pee or poops in the potty with dry underwear, you can give a sticker as a reward along with big praises. Let him pick out the sticker as the toddler age group is all about making her/her own choices. If nothing happened, I would still give a sticker and praise for the effort of trying. Your toddler might like the idea of keeping a little chart on the refrigerator to add stickers to.
If an accident happens, don’t make a big deal out of it. I repeat: Don’t make a big deal out of it. Try to keep this experience positive.
You can keep your own log. Write down what happened. What was successful and what wasn’t successful. Was there an accident? Did he pee in potty? What phrase or word did you use when walking to the potty? It’s a good idea to communicate with the others involved about how often you walked to the potty, how many accidents, what worked, and what didn’t work.
On day 2, you can decide if he can go longer periods between potty trips. If in day 1, he was dry and didn’t go very often on the potty or didn’t have very many accidents, then you might wait until every hour before you take him to the potty. Also, you can decide if it’s necessary to use a plastic underwear cover or not. The cover lessens the mess on your furniture, carpet or floor if an accident happens.
By day 3, you will generally know how often your toddler needs to go potty and what word or phrase works for him. Remember, if an accident happens, don’t make a big deal out of it. Try to keep this experience positive. Have him sit on the potty to see if he needs to go more while you quickly clean up the mess on the floor for sanitary purposes. This is especially if you have other little ones wondering around. You will need to clean his wet areas with flushable wipes and change him into a clean set of clothes. Disposable gloves are handy to have if you have a real mess to deal with. The soiled clothes can be placed in the laundry area. If your toddler is at grandma’s house or away from home, the care giver can keep the wet clothes in a large Ziploc bag and store it out of reach until your toddler goes home. These messy accidents do happen, but messes will be minimal as he gets use to his new routine and going potty.
By day 5, your toddler should be ready to wear pants, shorts, or a skirt with the underwear underneath with no more plastic cover.
By day 10 (or sometimes sooner), you and your child care provider can decide if your toddler is ready to continue with potty training. It could be that there were too many accidents, or more than one accident a day after a few days. It could be that everyone involved wasn’t ready. It could be that he was too fearful. If signs show that your toddler is not ready, it’s ok to hold off and go back to wearing diapers or pull-ups. You can wait until a month or two or when he shows signs of readiness. Don’t fret over this. The “trial” period is meant for trying and seeing if your toddler is ready.
If your toddler goes pass 10 days successfully with only a few accidents, AWESOME! You can now continue with the potty training. At this point you can encourage your toddler to tell you if he needs to go potty. This is a switch from you telling him that it’s time to go potty, to your toddler telling you when he needs to go. You can stretch the periods between potty trips up to two hours to see if he will tell you. By this time, after 10 days, usually toddlers start to recognize the feeling when they need to go potty. This might mean a few more accidents, but usually toddlers get tired of the accidents and eventually learn to pay attention to their bodily functions. Lots of times this means if he shouts out “potty” you will have to drop everything and run with him to the potty. Toddlers generally like to wait until the very last minute. You can continue with the stickers until he very rarely has accidents and he tells you when he has to go to the potty on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to take him to the potty before and after naptime, because by this time he is usually ready to nap without a diaper or pull-up. However, you will more likely need to continue with the diaper or pull-up overnight until you notice your child is dry when he wakes up in the morning on a regular basis.
Happy potty training . . . hope my suggestions will help minimize frustration and maximize success!