I don’t claim to be a potty training messiah in any way, shape, or form. I do like to think that I have learned a few things after going through the process three times in the last five years. While things are still very fresh…and a little bit smelly in my head, I wanted to share some tips I developed after reflecting on three very different potty-training experiences.
First, I only ever read (or rather skimmed) one potty-training book, and I highly recommend it: Oh Crap! Potty Training. Second, each child is so different… some prefer the big potty and others the little potty, some prefer M&Ms as rewards and others money for their piggy bank, some can hold their pee forever and others have to pee every 20 minutes, some night train themselves and others need intervention, some tell you they have to potty and others have cues (like a potty dance)….need I go on? Without further ado I hope my recently acquired wisdom can help on your stinky journey!
Kim’s 5 Potty Training Tips
THE FIRST POOP IS THE MOST CRUCIAL:
If you engage your child in the 3+ day naked potty training method then you must watch them like a hawk and try your hardest to get that first naked poo on the potty. Trust me. Jamie Glowacki, the author of Oh Crap! Potty Training emphasizes ‘catching the first poop.’ The one child I did not stay on top of this with struggled grandly when it came to pooping on the potty. If this means walking around with the plastic little potty while following your training toddler until they make it… then do it! Our family has always used this Summer Infant potty. Now this in no way means that every poop thereafter will get on the potty, but I like to think that when that very first naked poo goes in the potty something clicks in their baby minds, ‘Ohhhhh, that is where the poop is meant to go now!’
Your child will have accidents and most likely many of them. The sooner you accept this fact the better. These could happen at very inconvenient times…like when you are pushing them in a cart at the grocery store, or in their Halloween costume. Just be prepared and there will be nothing to worry about. Since I don’t like to use pull-ups very often (just my own personal preference, you do you!) I found myself always packing a small towel, wipes, extra clothes and most importantly my Parker Baby Co. Wet Dry Bag on every outing during the beginning stages of potty training.
We have all heard of the array of bribes concocted to encourage kids to make it to the potty on time. I have found I like to bribe myself to keep from slapping a diaper back on that little booty. Sometimes these rewards are small…like a walk to the local cafe for a matcha latte and delicious coconut oatmeal cookie after a good morning of no accidents. Sometimes these rewards are much grander…like those expensive boots I’ve been coveting after night training one of my kiddos. It takes a lot of mental power to notice potty cues and to get little ones to the potty on time so pat yourself on the back and celebrate those little victories by treating yourself every so often!
Just as the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding used Windex on literally everything….I use distilled vinegar. When it comes to cleaning poop and pee off of anything you need a game plan. My plan consists of this: scrub off any remnants (I use an old kitchen scrubber), spray the soiled area with distilled vinegar, soak the garment in warm water mixed with distilled vinegar, then send it through the washer. I also use a combo distilled vinegar, water and an essential oil of choice for furniture, rugs and other things that can’t be tossed in the washer. Why distilled vinegar you ask? It is all natural and really cuts through the smell while sanitizing!
Water Proof Shoes:
When accidents happen they usually travel all the way down to the shoes. There are so many shoe options for kids that will make potty training much easier. Crocs, Natives, and Keens…just to mention a few. I am a big fan of spending most of the ‘naked days’ along with the weeks following in our backyard. Although your kid may have a naked booty, you want something on their feet! I have always tried my hardest to plan potty training during the warmer seasons and to finagle the naked time during a sunny forecast. Outside you also have the option of what we call ‘nature pees’ which works better with my boys than my daughter.
Whether you are potty training your first, second, third…etc. keep calm and carry A LOT of Clorox wipes. They will eventually get it I promise. As my mother-in-law says, 'You won't be sending them to college in a diaper!'