Potty training can be difficult.
Most of us want it to be a smooth and quick process, but in reality, it isn’t. There is no tried and true method to potty training and it’s not going to happen unless your toddler is ready.
There are a lot of different posts you’ll find on the internet that advertises ‘potty training in X amount of days‘ or ‘the fool-proof method to potty training.‘
I think those are a waste of time.
The reason behind this is that potty training your toddler is not going to happen unless they are ready! There’s no forcing a toddler to potty train.
So, here are my 5 tips to gently potty training your toddler.
1. Introduce the toilet
Toddlers tend to think that the toilet is not meant for them because they are only used to diapers. They may be a little fascinated by it when they’re young, but just because it’s this unknown thing.
However, the toilet shouldn’t be this weird seat that only big kids and adults sit on. It is good practice to introduce the toilet seat to toddlers once they become curious about it.
This helps them to feel more comfortable.
Toddlers are most curious about flushing in the early days. I have three boys so they honestly LOVE watching their business go swirling down the drain.
My toddler is no exception. I introduced the toilet to him by letting him flush the toilet after me and explaining to him what was going on.
I would say things like ‘This is where we go pee‘ and after flushing, I would say something similar explaining to him what was happening.
Often, the sound of the flush can be scary to toddlers so it’s a good idea to make sure to let them know that it’s not a scary noise, but instead the sound of the water.
Maybe even let them flush it themselves if they’re interested.
Talk to them about the potty as much as you can and let them explore not only the toilet, but the toilet paper, sink, and underpants.
2. Make it fun
Toddlers love to make things into a game. Potty training should be no exception.
This will be different for every toddler depending on what they like.
My toddler loves to listen to music, so my husband likes to make up silly songs with him to help him get relaxed and use the potty.
When my toddler is with me though he likes to fart. I know, typical boy stuff, but that’s what he likes to do and guess what? It helps him poop on the toilet!
Other ideas of fun on the potty are:
- a special toy
- Potty book
- Potty songs (Youtube or you singing)
- coloring book
- countdown game- how long they can sit on the potty
- sticker chart
- Hand games with gestures while sitting (Where is thumbkin, This little piggy, Itsy bitsy Spider, etc)
Anything to help them relax.
3. Let them lead
Your toddler is in charge. It’s hard to accept, but when it comes to potty training you have to let them take the reins.
Nothing will happen if they’re not ready and it’s not going to go any faster than the pace they set.
The best thing you can do is be there to encourage them. This can be difficult especially for us as adults.
I mean a lot of us can barely set time aside for ourselves, let alone 20 minutes to let our toddlers explore the toilet before they decide they want to sit on it for five seconds and then get up (and maybe repeat five more times).
But with potty training our toddlers, we really just have to be there with them and be their cheerleader.
4. Don’t make them feel bad
If they have an accident, it is VERY important that we don’t make them feel bad about it.
It happens. And it will happen while they are potty training and well after they’re potty trained.
The best thing that we can do is let them know that it’s okay. Because it is okay.
With gentle potty training, there’s no backward or forwards.
Just because they have a hard time with potty training one day, does not mean the next day will be the same.
We have to maintain this attitude so that they will too. They tune into our frustration and it can easily turn them off to potty training.
5. Let them join you
Okay, so just hear me out. How many of us learn best by watching something live or being hands-on? A lot of us.
It’s the same way with a toddler! If they can observe us and/or an older sibling going to the bathroom, they are more likely to be interested in going themselves.
This is because they are always wanting to do what others do. Monkey see, monkey do, right? There’s nothing wrong with this either!
I actually don’t mind my children in the bathroom. They follow me almost everywhere anyways. So, when they follow me into the bathroom I just let it be normal.
Although I am having to do things differently with my five-year-old because he’s very socially draining for me and the bathroom is one of the few times I don’t have to be too social.
. . . . .
Gently potty training your toddler should not be difficult.
If you follow these five tips, then potty training your toddler won’t feel like a task.
This is not a three-day method where you’ll be stuck at home with a toddler, painstakingly trying to get them to go to the bathroom instead of having an accident.
There are no timers (unless your toddler thinks this is fun then have at it!). There’s just following your toddlers lead and encouraging them.
Yes, this method may take longer than others. However, it will result in a less-stressed parent and a happy toddler who’s learning how to use the potty.
I’m Felicia and I write a blog called Bringing Up the Littles. I talk about all thing’s motherhood ranging from taking care of the kids to yourself and your relationship. I have four children 5 years old and younger with the youngest two being twins. You can find me on my blog as well as Facebook and Pinterest.