Potty training can be a daunting and intimidating task for any parent. I have three kids and had already successfully potty trained two. However, when my youngest was starting to show some interest, I was in absolutely no rush to act on it.
Just over a month ago, I finally decided it was time to ditch the diapers. I documented our fairly quick journey over Instagram where my audience seemed to be in as much disbelief as I was at how quickly he caught on. I ended up with a full inbox of messages from moms seeking advice, some in tears about how frustrated they were and others wanting to know my big secret.
To be 100% honest, there was no big secret in our potty training journey. Instead, it was a series of sequential events that led to my son ditching his diapers for good.
The first? My son would ask to use the potty. This didn’t happen on a daily basis at all, and in fact, would happen at random parts of the day, days apart. During these times, he would rarely ever successfully go potty. Instead he would sit there for a few minutes, get up and flush.
Not too long after he started showing interest in the potty, our good friends at Bambo Nature sent us a pack of their pull-ups to try out. My little guy was very intrigued by them and seemed to like the idea of putting them on like underwear. Shortly after this, he noticed that his older cousin was wearing real underwear with “cool” super hero’s on them. I figured we would go ahead and get him a set of his own, so during our next shopping trip at Target, I let him choose his favorites. He would randomly decide he wanted to wear them on and off for the next couple weeks. I still wasn’t fully ready to devote my energy into potty training so I never pushed it, which meant he did have a few accidents during those early testing periods. And boy did he hate those accidents!
Finally, the time came when I decided that I was mentally ready to go all in.
MY PLAN OF ATTACK
I picked up a Paw Patrol toilet seat cover, got a couple more packs of “cool” underwear, as well as a family sized pack of M&M’s and planned on not leaving the house until we figured it out. Turns out, there was no reason to make myself a prisoner in my own home. This kid seemed to be made for potty training!
He absolutely loved the concept of getting paid in M&M’s for going potty on the toilet. I gave him 2 for a potty and promised 5 for a poop. I also gave his sister the same reward, which in turn seemed to help the process move along faster because she was constantly asking him, “Do you need to go potty?!”.
OUR 3-DAY POTTY TRAINING JOURNEY
We started on a Monday morning after he had already had a poop diaper. If I had learned anything from potty training my middle child, it was that pooping on the toilet was a scary thing for kids so I purposely waited. From 10am on, he wore underwear and had ZERO accidents! We even left the house twice for semi-quick errands (under an hour each time). I made sure to have him try to potty before we left each time and watched for any signals that might tell me he had to go while we were out. When it came time for bed, we switched out of the underwear into his big boy pull-ups.
My little man woke up dry which was a huge surprise to me! The day started off much like the first day, but this time, he did two small poops in the toilet! He later asked me for a diaper so I suspected he needed to let the rest out. I encouraged him to try using the potty and after a few denials, he reluctantly gave in and of course, felt much better. The 5 M&M’s sure helped too. Shortly after the above photo was taken, he did have an accident and was pretty upset about it. I did not want him to feel discouraged in any way, and explained to him that it was ok – sometimes accidents happen. That night he went to bed again with a pull-up.
This time he woke up in the middle of the night with a wet pull-up. I suspect the cup of water he had before bed was to blame and made the mental note to avoid them in the future (what am I, a rookie? I should have known better!). He had an excellent third day of no accidents and decided that he would no longer be wearing pull-ups to bed, because he was a big boy now!
From that night on, my little guy has been rocking his big boy underwear like a pro. He was a little disappointed to learn that he would not be getting M&M’s for life after every successful potty trip, but it didn’t take him off course in the end. In fact, just two short weeks after potty training commenced we did something others called crazy and took a family road trip to Disneyland! He did incredibly well for the drive and I’ll be sharing our road trip potty training survival tips on a future blog post for you all soon.
WHAT I LEARNED THE THIRD TIME AROUND
Potty training kids is not text book material. I have three children with three very different potty training stories. If you are feeling defeated in your potty training journey, perhaps your child isn’t quite ready yet, and that’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, take a break and try again at another time. There are so many different methods out there you can try, but my number one tip is to wait until your child is showing signs of readiness.
If you are struggling, check out my potty training Pinterest board where I have pinned some of my favorite tips!