Me: “She is almost potty trained…no accidents at school”
Jason: “Awesome! Can’t wait ’til she’s done! We should have a diaper burning party”
My husband and I are dreaming about that not-so-distant day in the future when our household is diaper-free. Given the fact that my son was incredibly difficult to potty train, we’re both taken aback by how smoothly this particular road to diaper freedom has been.
A few months ago, she began asking to use the potty (do I get a parent-fail for not recognizing her signs of readiness?) and in the past few weeks, she has been making noticeable progress. Some parents swear their children potty trained in a weekend…or even a day. Oh how I wish our children trained that quickly, but it just wasn’t our experience. My son took months to fully potty train and while it seems like my daughter has taken an interest earlier and is catching on a bit quicker than my son, I know we still have some time before our household is 100% diaper free.
When my daughter began to express interest and subsequently began using the potty, I headed to the store with her to pick up some must-have items. There are many schools of thought surrounding potty training…some parents swear by “pull-ups”…others believe that underwear help accelerate the learning process. Some use potty chairs…others prefer to start children out with a regular toilet.
There is no lack of potty training resources online and in-stores, and if the process isn’t completely overwhelming, the sheer amount of information (which can be conflicting) is. Now that we’ve successfully potty trained my son, I feel like I’m better prepared to help my daughter be successful.
Because there are so many different potty training products, promising parents diaper freedom, I thought I’d share my must-have list of items we truly felt were effective:
1. A soft potty seat. Bonus points if that seat includes photos of Dora, Thomas, Belle or Woody (from Toy Story). Portable, soft, easy to clean, and affordable, this is my top recommendation for even the smallest of tots.
Some children are afraid of “grown-up” toilets and absolutely refuse to use them. In this instance, a small potty chair can be effective, as was the case with my son. But in general, I’ve found that these small potties are difficult and time-consuming to clean and there is still the hurdle of getting the child to use a grown-up toilet.
Traveling? Consider a Folding Travel Potty Seat that fits nicely into a diaper bag!
2. Training Pants (cloth and disposable) and big kid underwear…in your child’s favorite character, of course.
From our experience, a child needs to feel wet in order to learn when he/she needs to use the potty. Unfortunately, disposable diapers are typically highly absorbent, pulling that moisture away. My son didn’t mind being wet when he was learning and my daughter doesn’t always notice when she is wet with disposable training pants, so we reserve those for going out and stick to cloth training pants and underwear at home.
3. Stickers, treats, or other incentives.
My son took much more effort to motivate, and it wasn’t until we started a training chart that he actually began expressing interest. We kept a small basket of stickers and treats near the chart which served as a visual reminder to him and motivated him to continue trying to use the potty.
One of my favorite websites for information and product recommendations is Potty Training Concepts. It’s comprehensive and offers a wide variety of resources for different types of learners. We actually used some of their books and DVDs to introduce our children to the basic concepts before venturing down the path to diaper freedom.
How did you approach potty training with your child? Were there products or tools that made the process easier? I’d love to hear your suggestions as they may be helpful to other parents walking this path.