Last week, I started officially potty training my son. Now, he had been wearing a pull-up and using the potty for several months. At his day care, during the school year, he would also go on the potty fairly consistently. We had even tried him wearing underpants once this spring. However, he only lasted about an hour (with a few potty trips) before an accident. He was mortified by, “My peepee so hot!” and he would not wear underpants again for awhile.
After letting it go for another couple months, (and after turning two and a half) we thought he was more ready. All we needed was to be super vigilant about it for a few days. In fact, I had heard 3 days is all it takes. 3 long days, but only 3! I could handle 3 days… maybe.
I had told myself that when summer came and I was home with the kids, that was the time. The first few weeks of summer involved quite a bit of traveling for our family, as well as conferences and meetings for me. When I looked at the calendar last week and saw that nothing was scheduled for me, I thought…
Potty Training Begins!
I always thought I would read up on all sorts of methods, possibly look up some apps to use to encourage him, and find multiple special treats or prizes as bribes. But let’s be real… when was I really going to do all that? And though I was doubtful it would only take a few days, I figured, might as well just start!
The night before, my husband and I both made a big deal about wearing underpants. We had been talking about underpants for weeks, so when I asked my son if he was ready to wear them again, he was actually excited. He went to bed saying “I wear underpants like a big boy!” This was a good sign!
After breakfast, I let him choose which pair of underwear he wanted. We are fully stocked with Disney’s Cars underwear, ready for anything! He put his little Elmo potty seat on the toilet, and we were set to go! Because I didn’t have much time to prepare anything fancy, I simply took a crayon and paper and made a chart with about 20 boxes. I also quickly pulled stickers out from my stash of scrapbooking supplies (it’s not like I’ve been scrapbooking recently…) and dug around in our candy bin for one small pack of M&Ms.
Here were our guidelines:
- Every time he went potty, he received a sticker for the chart
- If he also had dry pants when he went potty he got a single M&M
- Once he filled up the entire chart (20 times of going potty) he was able to pick a “special treat” from our candy bowl. The bowl contained things like mini Milky Ways, smarties, Hershey Kisses, etc.
- Naps and night time he would still wear a Pull-Up or diaper for now
The first day was definitely the longest. Pretty much every minute I would ask him if he had to go. Every 15-20 minutes I would take him. Obviously, he got sick of this interrupting play time, so there were several times I had to bribe him with the stickers and M&Ms. Most of the time this worked. He had one minor accident before lunch. I thought that would be the end of it, but he agreed to wear a new pair of underwear and continue on! By the afternoon, I was sick of being in the house on such a beautiful day. We ventured outside, only to make sure to come in every 20-25 minutes to go potty. He had one other accident that afternoon because he was playing hide and seek with daddy and got a little excited.
This day was a little easier. My husband was home to help a little more and we allowed my son to go closer to 30 minutes before trying to go. He did have one accident because he had to go #2 and is still very suspicious of doing this on the potty. He pretty much holds it in until a pullup or diaper is on. Oh well. For nap time though, he had a dry pull-up and woke up telling us he had to go potty! Success! By the afternoon, we were playing outside much more. I still constantly asked him if he needed to go, but let him have more of a say of when we took a potty break. Stickers and M&Ms still worked, but he was starting to forget about them. There were a few times he went and forgot about getting a sticker afterwards!
Our third day I let him direct when he needed to go (most of the time). I kept reminding him that we wanted dry underpants! He did great! Sometimes it was almost an hour before he said he had
to go. Other times, he had to go after 10 minutes. But he was directing, and we had no accidents! After dinner we even braved the store. He told me he had to go there, which was fine (but gross)!
Three days and I feel like we have a great head start on this potty thing. I know we aren’t completely free of problems, but so far so good! So what is my advice?
- Keep it simple. You don’t need a whole lot to make a 2 year old excited.
- Make sure to continually tell him or her how proud you are of what they are doing! My son LOVED hearing how he was being such a big boy.
- It’s ok to have setbacks, but keep encouraging!
Next step? Going number two on the potty…