Potty Training 101

For the last couple of months we've been talking to Caroline about fully transitioning to a "big girl," and in doing so this would mean potty training. For those parents that have not gone through it with any children yet, I hope these tips help make it not so dreaded and scary. I've been in your shoes, its not an easy task & certainly can get messy real quick.

Tip #1: Talk about "potty training" in advance.
I visited my local Barnes and Noble to pick out a potty book to read to my little one. Caroline and I sat in the children's section reading through the various books on this topic, goodness was I surprised by the variety on hand, they must have had at least twenty different versions. Our favorite, Big Girls Use the Potty, was the one we chose because of the explanations, pictures and it comes with a sticker chart. Caroline knew once school was out for Summer, the "diaper fairy" would be flying to our house to pickup her diapers for other little baby girls. We've use the term fairy for all things that need to weened off of or transitional stages, its always worked for us (paci fairy, crib fairy, bottle fairy, etc.)

Tip #2 Pick-out underwear & a potty.
Invite your child to go on a mommy date with you to pick out underwear and a toilet, if that's what your goal is. This go around, I opted for potty rings on all of our toilets, instead of the training plastic toilet. It made life simple, and my child familiar with a regular toilet, so it didn't seem intimidating if we needed to use a public restroom.

Tip #3 Determine a reward system.
This is up to the parent, for Caroline I used the sticker chart from the above book and candy. Each time she went in the toilet she got to add a star to her chart plus got three M&M's. Once she got twenty stars we took her to pick-out a $15 toy of her choice. On her chart we also added X's to symbolize the accidents in between. I think a consistent system is key to keep them focused and on task.

Potty Training 101:
Now, here is how we trained Caroline. I used the three day method again, it worked the first time so I used it again with Caroline. You can read more here. Be prepared to stay put for at least three days.
This method calls for your child to be unclothed, but I chose to keep Caroline in a t-shirt or comfy nightgown. I will say, training Caroline was way easier than Charlotte.
  • Day 1: as soon as she woke up I let her know the diaper fairy came overnight, left her rewards. Took off her diaper and let her know today was the day to start potty training. Every 30 minutes we went to the potty, even if she said she didn't have to go. Remember, consistency/repetition is key while training. Also, I kept pumping her with her favorite drinks, juicy fruits, popsicles etc. to keep her having to use the potty. This was the easiest day, seemed like a game to her & exciting. She only had one minor accident.
  • Day 2: the hardest day by far. lots of tears and refusing to use the potty plus two pee pee accidents.
  • Day 3: minimal tears, one accident and we broke the method and had to go out for an obligation plus dinner. It might have took some bribing, some tears and hours of constantly taking her to various public restrooms until she finally used one, hooray.
  • Notes: I cut off liquids by 7PM (bedtime is usually around 8PM), each night she wore a pull-up, also referred to as "night time undies" and she woke up dry every morning.
By the end of the fourth day, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and by the fifth day she was telling us when she needed to use the potty and was accident free. I know potty training can bring out all the emotions in your children as well as yourself, so make sure all are well rested, minimal distractions are present and you can pour in the time needed to properly train your little one.

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