Miss 2 is officially toilet trained! Notice the excitement in my voice? That is because, as any parent knows, toilet training definitely isn't for the faint-hearted, or for those with a weak stomach. The biggest thing I have learned when it comes to potty training is that every child is different and they will all do it their own way. Keeping that in mind, I thought I'd share a few of my own potty training tips - simply a few little tricks that I found worked for us.
1. Start Early
I found with both my children that there is a big window of opportunity between 12-18 months where they became interested in the toilet. They see us using it and they want to try it and see what it is all about. They most likely won't completely toilet train at this young age, but it is a great time to introduce the potty and toilet and familiarise them with it. If you miss this window of opportunity (as I did with Mr H due to being pregnant and not having the energy to tackle potty training) then it can be a lot more difficult around the age of 2 when they start to develop little fears and aren't as open to trying new things. I obliged Miss 2's curiosity at the earlier age and she was always a lot more receptive to the idea of sitting on the potty.
2. Have Different Potty Options
There are so many different potty styles on the market today. Sometimes it is good to have a few options so you can see what best suits your child. Mr H went straight to the 'grown up' toilet with just the addition of a child's seat on top as he wasn't really interested in the potty. Miss 2 started off more interested in our toilet as she saw us all using it, but we hit a big plateau around the age of two when she started refusing to go, I finally realised that she preferred the smaller potty and that sealed the deal for us, she trained within three days.
3. Pick Your Method
If you google 'how to potty train' you'll realise that there are various methods. I've heard many good things about the Three Day Method, but both my children are quite strong willed and I wasn't sure it would work for them. I tried pull ups and training pants with Mr H, but with both children , it wasn't until I finally went for it and just put them in real underwear that they trained, and both pretty much within three days.
4. Bribery and Rewards
In my opinion? For potty training, use them. They work. You can quickly phase them out as they get better at it. You could try stickers, small toys, Lego pieces (this worked well for Miss 2 as she loved Lego and was building up a collection).
5. To 'Pull-Up' or not to 'Pull-Up'
To be honest, I didn't really find pull-ups or training style nappies that effective. They have their place and can be useful to wear while training because of the ease of pulling them up and down, however as far as letting the child know they are wet, I didn't find it made much difference than a normal nappy.
6. Night Time Training
Even though your child is ready and trained during the day, doesn't mean they are ready to make it throughout the night. I found that gradually they will keep their night nappies dry, or if you think they are capable, you can buy a few waterproof mattress protectors and go for it. We have some excellent mattress protectors like this one that are quilted on the top so the children can lay directly on them, it makes changing bedding throughout the night much easier as you can just whip off the protector and replace it with another.
7. No 2 Refusers
It happens. We had one and I know others. No matter how successful you are at training for No 1's, your sweet toddler refuses to do their No 2's in the potty. It's frustrating. Know that you're not alone. Persist, try different rewards/motivation (I had to resort to a small piece of chocolate as a reward in the end, terrible for my motherly conscience, but very effective at getting the job done when all else failed).
So there you have it. My top tips for potty training. Do you have any others? I'd love to hear them! Come on over to the facebook group and leave a comment!