This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
If I had to list out the top five things that have been the hardest during my (almost) five years of parenting they’d most definitely include POTTY TRAINING. Potty training is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Every ounce of your will is tested. You will learn things about yourself that you never even knew existed before you started potty training. You will literally question what you’re doing with your life and pray that there’s wine in the kitchen by the end of the day.
However, after potty training two boys before 2.5 years old I feel like the methods we’ve used are pretty successful. Before we set out to potty train our oldest I did some research and came across a really handy book that helped provide me with the foundation of where to begin and how to do it. When we potty trained our middle child, we took those same principles and tweaked them a bit to fit him and his personality.
I’ve been told over and over again that boys are so hard to PT and typically are harder to train than girls. So when we set out the first time with our oldest I wasn’t expecting great results. Turns out (in my opinion) if you have a good method and stick with it, your son or daughter will adapt and learn.
I put together a few tips that I think are super important when potty training to help if you’re on the horizon of PT soon.
FIVE SIMPLE TIPS FOR POTTY TRAINING FROM A THIRD TIME MOM
If you go into it expecting your child to fail, then it’s very likely they will. Believe in them and their capabilities. They are soooo much smarter than we think they are. They are able to adapt and change with the tide very easily if we let them. They’re resilient beings and honestly, us as adults could learn a thing or two from toddlers. Not only should you expect success, but set your child up for it too which leads me into my next tip….
Give Adequate Time + Attention
One of my biggest, most important tips is setting aside an appropriate amount of time for potty training. For us, the best amount of time was 3 to 4 FULL DAYS of being at home 24/7. Trust me, I know that sounds like a lot and hard. And it is! But I promise you those 3-4 days spent at home will warrant the best results. By the third or fourth day, your son or daughter will have likely gotten the concept and can be trusted to go out of the house for short lengths of time without any accidents.
Positive Reinforcement + Consistency
Our tried and true method has been to go straight from diapers into underwear. This is scary for most parents, but again I’ve now done this same method two times with two totallyyyyy different kids and had great results both times. Going right from diapers into underwear helps them to understand that there is no safety net anymore. They HAVE to use the bathroom on time or else they’ll get wet. Here’s a rundown of how days 1-2 should look like:
- Start the day by taking off the last diaper. Have them help you throw it away and throw away any remaining diapers you may have. This is both for you as the parent to not have any back up plan and also for the child to see that you’re all done with diapers.
- First pair of underwear goes on and carry on with your day. Have lots of their favorite drinks, snacks and activities to keep you both busy. If you have other children, see if you can find a sitter for at least the first couple days until your spouse or significant other is home to assist.
- You want to keep eyes on your child at ALL times. Never leave them alone. The moment you see them start to potty in their underwear walk them into the bathroom and begin to explain this is where we go potty. Keep it positive and uplifting! Whether you decide to use a small potty chair or not, make sure it STAYS in the bathroom! You don’t want to send mixed messages by them peeing in a potty chair in the living room or in the kitchen. You don’t pee there, so we don’t want them to either.
- Continue to walk them to the bathroom and set them on the potty when they start to pee. It might take an entire day before they realize that they need to go into the bathroom to pee. And that’s OK! And totally normal. It took my oldest son two entire days to even begin to grasp the concept. However, by the third day he had it!
- Positive reinforcement! Lots of praise and rewards for when they do get to the potty in time. And even when they don’t we do NOT want to be negative in any way. Do not let your frustration show through to them. This honestly was my biggest struggle! I knew my son knew what to do, but he just wasn’t doing it. However, I kept my cool and continued doing the same things over and over again.
Failure One Day Doesn’t Mean They’re Failing
Some kids catch on super fast. And some don’t. However, with consistency and adequate quality time your child will get it! If they have a rough first day, or second day — don’t give up on them! It doesn’t mean they’re failing. It just means they need a little more time.
Nighttime Potty Training Isn’t The End All Be All
My last and final tip — nighttime potty training isn’t as black and white as it may seem. You may assume if your child is potty trained then that means they also will be trained at night. But what if they pee at night?! Well, they probably will. And that’s OKAY! It doesn’t mean they aren’t potty trained. And here’s why.
For some kids, when they potty train they never have another accident again, day or night. But it’s not like that for everyone. My oldest son in particular has had an extremely difficult time training at night. He’s almost five years old and still wets the bed at night. And do you want to know why? Because their bladders aren’t fully developed yet AND he’s just a really really heavy sleeper! He’s simply incapable of waking up at night to go to the bathroom. It doesn’t mean he isn’t PT, it simply means he needs some help at night still.
A study showed that if both parents wet their beds after the age of 6, their child has about a 75 percent chance of doing the same; if only one parent wet the bed, the child has a 44 percent chance. The actual causes of bed-wetting are physical, which means your child has no control over them:
- He/She has a developmental lag. There are late walkers, late talkers—and late dry-nighters. And all eventually catch up.
- He/She may sometimes sleep so deeply that she fails to wake up when she needs to use the bathroom.
- He/She may have a small bladder that’s more easily overfilled.
And this is where Pull-Ups come in. Once I finally realized it wasn’t a training issue, but simply a body maturity issue, I gave up on trying to get him trained at night. Even with cutting liquids early, he will still wet himself at night (not a lot, but enough to wet the bed). So we have been using Pull-Ups for nearly three years for nighttime wetness until my son is able to hold his bladder overnight or wake up to go to the bathroom.
Pull-Ups offer leakage protection, the best absorbency, leg barriers which help prevent leaks — especially for overnight wetness. You can buy Pull-Ups on Amazon so you always have the training pant you need for your Big Kid. Save up to 20% and get free delivery when ordering through Subscribe & Save.
A couple additional tips…
Not every child is the same — even within your own family. We had to tweak things a bit for our middle son, but within 4 days he was potty trained using the same method. We also skipped the little potty seat for our middle son and used this seat from Amazon with our second son — it attaches right on your toilet and provides a training seat for their little bums until they are big enough or want to use the regular seat.