At the mere utterance of the phrase "potty training," many parents shudder with panic. Admittedly, it can be a gross and frustratingly long process for all involved. There is plenty of literature on the subject, most of which is "how to potty train in three days" or "how to potty train in these four steps," which is understandable. I mean, who wants to belabor the potty training ordeal? No one. Not all modern methods are surefire though, so thankfully there are some old school potty training tips that actually work.
With my kids, I mixed old school and new school methods for potty training. I introduced the potty around 18 months old, and we practiced a little bit each day. Then one weekend, we holed up in the house and let it rip. Each kid was basically naked for two days during our pseudo potty training boot camp. The kids were rewarded with goldfish or whatever yummy snack we had in the house. It worked, and I'd say by two months each one was completely accident-free.
I did all of my potty training without the help of modern inventions like kid toilets that sing when a kid pees, potty training apps, and transition underwear/pull up diapers. And you can too. Here are four tips for mamas that want to kick it old school when it comes to potty training.
1. Make Sure Your Kid Is Ready In The First Place
"I know parents are eager to ditch the diapers, but if you start potty training too early and kids are not ready, you will end up dragging out the process and everyone will be frustrated," Julie Young, a behavior analyst and mom of two boys tells Romper.
Each child is different and their readiness will vary, but there are some signs you can look for. If your child is walking, can pull their pants up or down, has predictable bowel movement times, and stays dry for two hours or more they're probably ready to potty train, according to Baby Center.
2. Familiarize Your Child With The Potty Before The "Real" Training
And by this, I mean all toilets. Familiarize your child with plastic floor potties, public toilets, toilets with step stools, child toilet seat inserts that rest on top of adult size porcelain thrones, try them all. That way, your kid won't grow accustomed to one type of toilet (thereby refusing to go on any others that don't look like it).
As recommended in Parents, it's best if your child practices sitting on a toilet before the "real" training kicks in. Additionally, to get your kid in the habit they should be instructed to sit on the potty first thing in the morning, before bath time, and before going to sleep.
3. Commit To The Training
"If you are going to take on potty training, make the commitment to stay home and get it done," Young says. She recommends making arrangements for siblings if needed, cancelling appointments, and turning off the cell phone. She thinks if parents 100 percent devote their time to training their kid, they can cut the process down to a few days.
4. Reward Your Child For Their Potty Successes
"A lot of parents shy away from praising and rewarding children when they successfully use the toilet, with many thinking that this is a fairly outdated potty training method which could lead to bad habits," Sam Williamson of nursery retailer, Precious Little One, tells Romper. "But we've found that this is a tried and tested way to encourage young children to use the potty regularly."
You can offer words of encouragement or go a step further with some goodies. Stickers, balloons, stamps on the hand, single M & M's, whatever you'd like are all good rewards or "potty prizes", as suggested in Parenting.
Williamson agrees, but notes one small and important distinction.
"The key to success with this tactic is to ensure that the rewards which you give are something that eventually the child can handle themselves i.e. putting a star on the chart," she says.
Whatever you methods or tips you use it's really important to remember that accidents are going to happen. There's no reason to freak out because your kid will eventually catch on. (I get it, often easier said than done). The key to potty training is simply diligence. If you can stick with it, you should have your babe jonesin' to use the john in no time.