As a mom of three young kids, I’m constantly surprised at how different each child is from the others. From the toys they like to play with and songs they like to sing to their temperaments and the foods they like, each of our children has been very different from the other two.
Because of that, I’m not sure why I thought potty training my younger daughter would be easy. I mean, I know what I was thinking – that I’d already gone through potty training before, so doing it with one more child would be a breeze. I thought I was practically a pro at potty training.
Our three kids are very sweet, very good children who want to make Mommy and Daddy happy, but there are three very different personalities in those little children.
So when I started training my younger daughter, it seemed like everything was different. Although we were at (or past) the age when she should start using the potty, she just wasn’t interested in potty training. She was showing a lot of signs of being ready, like showing more interest when others went to the bathroom and staying dry a lot longer during the day, but she didn’t want to actually sit in the potty.
There was a little bit of trial and error at first. Here is a short video from Dr. Heather Wittenberg that gives great advice on what we were going through. Dr. Wittenberg is a renowned child psychologist specializing in the development of babies and toddlers, and the author of Let’s Get This Potty Started!
After a bit of a bumpy start, we finally figured out what worked with her. Here are a few tips we found that made potty training easier:
1. Make it Fun – We printed out a reward chart to use each time my daughter used the potty. She earned a sticker for trying, and then earned small treats and prizes once she’d filled up each section of the chart. If you’re looking for a reward chart to use for your little one, the Pull-Ups® brand has a free printable chart that will allow your child to show off their potty successes.
2. Keep it interesting – We kept a basket of books and toys near my daughter’s potty. There were times at the beginning when we’d be in the bathroom for quite a while, so the books and activities kept my daughter interested in staying on the potty.
3. Their own potty – Our daughter was much more interested in sitting on the potty when she was able to choose her own potty seat. I’d tried several little potty seats that fit over the toilet, but the only potty she showed interest in was a small princess potty that sat on the floor.
4. Keep her drinking – We found that it helped our daughter to be able to try to use the potty more often, and therefore be successful more often, if she needed to go more often. Instead of giving her milk and water at meals and snacks, we kept sippy cups of water and juice around all day long. The more she drank, the sooner she’d be able to try again on the potty.
5. Make the change and stick to it– it can be confusing for a child to start potty training while still wearing diapers, or for them to switch back and forth between diapers and training pants. We switched to Pull-Ups® Training Pants and never looked back. My little girl knew that the Pull-Ups meant that she was a “big girl” and that she was wearing special big girl training pants instead of baby diapers.
One last tip – try not to worry. It seemed like we’d be doing well at potty training for a day or two and then my daughter would have an accident. I was worried that maybe she really wasn’t ready and wondered if we should stop and try again later. As it turns out, those accidents are just part of the process of learning. It’s important to be consistent and positive, and to just keep on trying, even when there are bumps in the road. Check out Dr. Heather Wittenberg explain why below.
If you’re wondering what potty training tricks will work with your child, be sure to take the Pull-Ups Potty Personality Quiz to find out if your child has a Puppy, Bear Cub, Turtle, Squirrel or Owl potty personality. You can find out what motivates your child and get specific tools and advice to help you partner with your child to be successful in potty training.