Big brother turned 3 a couple months ago and still had no interested in going on the potty. He completely avoided the bathroom, didn’t want to sit on any of the 4 potty seats we bought for him, nor showed signs of being able to recognize when he had the urge to go. I kept telling myself, “don’t worry, wait till he is ready.” Well, time seems to be flying by and we started having some legitimate reasons why we needed to start potty training. First of all, summer is approaching and the pool we use only allows diaper-free kids in the big pool. Big brother is getting a little too big for the baby pool. Second, he is starting a new school in Sept., and although they don’t require 3-year-olds to be potty trained, tuition is cheaper for potty-trained kids. Lastly, diapers aren’t getting any cheaper. Having two boys in diapers is really taking a toll on our bank account. So I thought I would give my guy a push in the right direction and see how it went. If it was too much for him, we would back off and try another time. Well, I am happy to say we are on day 5 of potty training and it is going extremely well! Very little accidents and lots of successes!! Here is what I’ve done to help my son feel comfortable making pee’s and poo’s on the potty. I hope some of these ideas will help you as well.
1. Make a Potty Chart. I initially set out to make a really elaborate potty chart with a huge grid with multiple rows. A row for things like “washing hands,” “flushing,” “Telling me he had to go pee,” “Wiping,” etc. Then I thought, this is too much. He can’t even read! So I kept it simple. He has one spot to put stickers when he goes peepee and one spot to put stickers when he goes poopy. Things like flushing and washing hands are a must anyway, so they are just part of the routine, not something that needs a sticker every time.
2. Buy fun underwear that they are excited to wear. Big brother is obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse right now so when I saw a package of Mickey Mouse underpants at Target, I snatched them up! When he saw his underwear had Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy on them, he was more than eager to put them on!
3. Celebrate with Stickers. I bought a 12 page packet of reward stickers with positive messages on each one. We keep them on the back of the toilet and every time he has a success, he gets to put a sticker on his chart. We make a big deal about this. Stickers are fun! Going potty is fun! Look, when Mommy goes potty she gets a sticker and when Daddy goes potty he gets a sticker too! Giving ourselves stickers has really enticed him to want to be like Mommy and Daddy and earn a sticker as well.
4. Potty Treats. I put a large bag of M&M’s into a clear canister and labeled it “Potty Treats.” The idea is that every time he goes pee or poo on the potty, he gets to pick one M&M to eat. I should have known my picky eater who has never been excited about sweet treats could care less about getting M&M’s. He is waaaayyy more excited about stickers and the treat jar is now being eaten by me and hubs. But I have a feeling that his might work well when little brother is ready to potty train.
5. Rewards. The reward system is not for everyone, but we decided that we were ok with giving our son a small prize every time he got 10 stickers on his potty chart. Prizes don’t have to be extravagant. Small toys you find in the quarter machines, chalk, puzzles, or a deck of Mickey Mouse themed playing cards (that was big brothers first prize!).
6. Do a potty dance! I don’t know the fancy footwork and lyrics to Huggies Potty Dance, but when I see pee’s or poo’s in the potty we make sure to celebrate with lots of clapping, singing, and dancing. We make up our own song and dance around the family room!
7. Constant Reminders. I noticed that when we are inside, he is really good about telling me he has to go potty. But the second we start playing outside, he has an accident. So I constantly ask him if he needs to go potty. And watch him like a hawk. He is slowly getting the hang of telling me when he has to go even when he is distracted by the game he is playing.
He has only had 5 accidents over the past 5 days AND has stayed dry at nap time! I guess he was ready, he just needed a little encouraging :o)
If you have any potty training tips, I would love to hear them! Feel free to comment below.