5 Potty Training Must-Do’s Before You Start
1.) Set out potty training chairs early.
Put potty chairs out about the time that your baby can walk. Yes, really! If you have a large house, be sure to have two (in different rooms in the house or one upstairs/one downstairs). Let baby play with the chair, practice sitting, etc. so they satisfy their need to explore this new “toy” – let them explore, but never force them to use it for going potty early on!
Why: This helps potty chairs become a normal part of your child’s space and home early so it’s not such a big deal when they are ready to use one for it’s intended purpose – to sit and to pee!
2.) Notice when your child is going potty in their diaper.
Learn what expressions they use, if they pause before they pee in their diapers, if they hold themselves, if they find a place to hide to poop or pee…just observe everything they do and then check their diaper when you think they have peed or pooped. If they have, remember what they did right beforehand to learn their patterns AND write it down!
Why: Learning their cues gives you a good sense of how to potty train them. Instead of guessing when they need to go, you are learning their cues to anticipate when they are going potty (each child has different cues!).
For example, my son pauses and looks at me with a pretty stern face right before he pees in his diaper. On the other hand, he crouches and plays with a toy when he poops (sorry, son, the people need to know!). This all helps me anticipate when it’s going to happen, so I can say, “It looks like you are trying to do (x)…would you like to go to the potty?” which leads to me to my next tip…
3.) Tell them what you observe.
When you see those cues that they are peeing or pooping, ask them questions like, “I see you’re crouching. Is it time to poop?” or “Can you feel the pee pee coming right now?” Use whatever language you are comfortable with in your house.
Why: We want to start associating language with what their body is doing so that they can learn to act (go sit on the potty) when they are older. These verbal observations and discussions help kids learn that it’s okay for people to notice and to talk about them going potty, too. Hopefully, they’ll learn not to try and hide or walk away from you when they go potty as that can be a frustrating pattern.
4.) Role model.
Kids love to do what you do, especially when they are young, so invite them to go to the bathroom when you do. Say something like, “I’m off to use the potty now, do you want to join me?” You can invite them to sit while you go potty, but never force. They act of going to the potty with you and watching is enough for now.
Why: Watching you is a way for them to learn what to do!
5.) Practice pulling up clothes.
This is a tip that I learned from my daughter’s child care: while you are changing a child’s diaper, encourage them to help you pull up their shorts or pants after you change their diaper. They won’t be able to do it on their own yet because they don’t have the coordination or motor skills, but say something like, “Can you help me pull up your shorts?” or “Let’s pull up your shorts now that we are done changing you.” See if they can reach down towards their shorts and touch the fabric. Talk through how to pull them up as you do it for them like, “See, we are pulling your shorts up because we are done changing your diaper.”
Why: Verbalizing is a way to scaffold little ones towards doing it themselves so that THEY can do it instead of YOU reminding them all of the time.
Why this approach?
Because it teaches kids to potty train themselves!!
I am NOT the Mom that wants to remind my kids over and over to go to the bathroom. This approach may take longer, but kids learn to go on their own without help from me and that’s a win in my book!.
Need it to go Faster?
Then the book that my friend Becky wrote might be for you. Her approach to potty training in a weekend has worked for all four of her kids!
Check out this ebook to potty train in a weekend! (affiliate link)