Looking back on my experience potty training there are definitely some things I wish I would have known before starting the process. As with most things in parenthood, there is little that can prepare you for how your child will react when you start potty training because every child is different. However, I find it helpful to read what other moms experienced to see how it *might* go for my little one. This post in my potty training guide is all about what I wish I would have known before potty training and the best tips and advice I could round up from other moms who have been through it.
Things I Wish I Knew Before Potty Training:
I assumed that as soon as we took Aiden’s pants and diaper off he would pee everywhere. This is what I have heard and seen so I thought that is just what happens. However, if you read my post on the first week of potty training you will know that it did not happen that way for us. I didn’t even consider the possibility that he wouldn’t want to go at all. My lesson from this would be to be prepared that your child might NOT pee all over the place and might even be afraid to use the potty. It’s new and different so if you have a cautious child, they might take some extra encouragement.
Another thing I wish I would have started right away is a reward chart. We did a sticker chart and it helped SO much with encouraging our little guy to use the potty. I created this Journey to Potty Training Station sticker chart which worked perfectly. You can sign up for my mailing list to have a printable version emailed to you (it won’t have Aiden’s name on it)!
We gave one sticker for pee and two for poop. Once he got to a clock he got a small treat. This worked really well for us for a few days. Once the sticker appeal wore off we moved on to giving small pieces of graham crackers whenever he successfully went to the bathroom or did not have an accident (for example if we were in the car or in a store).
In general I learned that making potty training as fun as stress-free as possible was the best strategy for us (much easier said than done). We read lots of books, sang lots of songs, we pretended with stuffed animals, and, of course, had plenty stickers. We came on way too strong in the beginning but once we started relaxing Aiden really started to make progress.
Another thing I didn’t consider which I would definitely change is making potty training part of a routine. Aiden likes having a routine so another thing that helped was adding potty time to his routine. In the beginning, we would have him sit on the potty every hour. He may not go but that was OK because he was getting used to sitting on the potty as part of his day.
As he got more comfortable sitting on the potty we spaced to every two hours. Next, we sat him on the potty just after he woke up in the morning or from a nap, before we went out, once we got back, and before bed. By this point, we were able to identify his “pee dance” if he had to go in between. We would also have him help his stuffed animals “go potty” so that he had some control over the situation.
Potty Training Tips & Advice From Moms Who Have Been There:
As I mentioned all little ones are different and no two will have the exact same potty training experience. I rounded up some of my favorite moms to share their best tips for potty training! Hopefully, this gives you an idea of how different potty training can be for all moms and some ideas and encouragement to get you through if you have a tough time! I also linked to a potty training post on their blog if they have one for more details!
Try not to ask your little one if they need to pee—let them tell you. It may take a few accidents, but they learn the cause + effect quickly without getting irritated by the nagging.
— Mandy, Momma Society
Don’t give up! It may not work at first but just keep trying. We used the Oh, Crap book as a guide and adapted it to our lifestyle and had our girl potty trained so quickly. It was amazing!
— Caitlin, The Mama Notes
Number one potty training tip = let daycare do it. I’m not kidding! My kid fights everything at home but is happy to comply with daycare teachers and potty with everyone else. *shrug*
— Julie, Fab Working Mom Life
My number one potty training tip is: to AVOID pull-ups (except when possibly leaving the house). Too many people end up switching from diapers to pull-ups and hope the transition will come to underwear. Unfortunately, pull-ups tend to feel too much like diapers and kiddos get far too comfortable using them for the same purpose. In order to encourage kiddos to use the potty, they need to not feel comfortable when they have an “accident”. Going straight from diapers to underwear will help them learn that they do NOT like the mess and speed up the entire potty training process far quicker.
— Lindsay, Simply September
My best potty training tips would be to use your instincts to recognize when your child is ready and stop using diapers entirely once you commit to potty training.
There are lots of checklists available online that tell you when your child is ready for potty training, my daughter checked all those boxes but it still didn’t work for us the first time because she wasn’t ready. The second time we tried it, I listened to my Mommy instincts. No one knows my daughter better than me. My gut told me it’s time to try again so we tried again and she was potty trained in 3 days.
When we stopped using diapers for my daughter entirely, she quickly understood that the pee and poop should go in the potty because nothing is going to catch it for her anymore. She wore a diaper in school in the middle of potty training but she got confused and stopped using the potty. As soon as the diaper was removed, she started using the potty again.
Belle, One Awesome Momma
My daughter was (still is) deathly afraid of the public toilets that automatically flush. We did 2 things. I have a younger daughter, so I always had diapers with me. The first few times I’d hold the diaper up to her so she could pee. Then we would toss it and keep moving. Second, we would use the garage sale dot stickers “magic stickers” to cover the “robot toilet’s eyes”. It works (Post-it Notes also work)! The toilet won’t flush until the sticker is removed.
Also, we teach them to potty standing on public toilets, in the beginning, to help when you are at a portapotty or just a gross bathroom and you don’t want to them to sit right on the seat.
— Chelsea, Binkies & Baubles
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Do you have advice for this potty training guide? Please share it in the comments below. I would love to hear your tips!
P.S. Love Aiden’s Peace Out Diapers shirt? It’s a Layla Bug Design original! You can request one here!
Check out these other posts in the potty training guide:
Potty Training Guide: How to Prepare for Potty Training
Potty Training Guide: The First Week
If you liked this potty training guide post check out How to improve toddler coordination and confidence and Tips for brushing toddler’s teeth.