Potty training can be such a hard milestone to cross for both the child and the parent. You don’t know where to start and then once you get started, it doesn’t go as smoothly as you thought it would. In the past I’ve always kind of downplayed myself with my skills and abilities to potty train, but I am honestly some kind of a potty training badass. My oldest two potty trained at 17 and 19 months old. I’ve always thought I got lucky with easily trained kids, but along the way I’ve realized there are tons of factors that played into them both potty training so young. So today I want to share some of my potty training badass mastery skills with you. And hopefully get you a step ahead of the game!
Pro tip : it’s never too early to start potty training. If you start early there are a lot of benefits. I don’t mean start early by sitting your one year old on the potty and praying for the best, but I mean start early by teaching behaviors and using your words to describe diaper changes. I’ll get into detail a bit later.
Like I said before, I’ve always downplayed the fact that my kids potty trained so early. I mean, I wasn’t doing anything special and I didn’t force them to potty train, so I didn’t think I knew any master secret to potty training. But really, there were a lot of factors that led up to my kids being interested in going potty.
Side note – these results aren’t typical. I do highly recommend these tips and I believe any child can potty train early..but do not feel discouraged if your 17-19 month old isn’t ready yet. Take a step back and try again in a few months.
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My oldest wanted to be butt naked all the time.
Literally. As soon as he knew how to unclasp that diaper, it was naked nation from there.
When he started doing this around 19 months old I said, “ok, you can be butt naked…but you’re going to start using the big boy potty.”
And, just like that..almost overnight..he was potty trained.
I remember buying him a cute little mini potty thinking he’d sit down and try every time I went..I’d take the cute little pictures of him sitting on his potty reading a book..
but he was terrified of it.
Mom fail. I was like crap this is going to be hard. I continued for a few days trying to get him to use it but he just wasn’t interested. So then I decided to buy a cushion seat for the big potty and test it out.
That worked like a charm. He felt like a big boy and was using the exact same potty that I was, so it wasn’t foreign to him.
(FYI, little boys learn to potty train by sitting down first. You can’t train a toddler to aim while standing up. You’re in for a big mess if you try to go that route)
I remember the night of our very first day potty training (and the beginning his butt naked lifestyle), I went to put a pull up on him at bedtime. He SCREAMED.
Oh my gosh it was such a fight. So I said screw it, laid a towel down, and went to bed.
We are a cosleeping family, which you can read about here, so he was in our bed at the time. I was not looking forward to changing sheets in the middle of the night, but it was easier than dealing with the tantrum.
Well, instead of an accident, he woke up in the middle of the night, told me he had to potty, used the restroom, and then woke up completely dry the next morning.
EASY AS PIE.
From then on, he was a butt naked lougin’, boxer wearin’, potty trained 19 month old….who still used a pacifier.
My second child, who is a girl, happened to beat her brothers record and potty trained at 17 months old.
She did prefer to wear clothes, but absolutely hated being in a dirty diaper. As soon as she used it, she would take it off and want to be changed.
She was smart enough to do that, so I knew she was ready to start potty training.
She took a little bit longer to stay dry though. She never had a problem sitting on the potty and going, but a lot of accidents happened because she was always so busy playing and had a weaker bladder than my son did.
I had to make sure we took a potty break every hour and if I forgot, there was an accident.
Even once she stayed dry during the day, she still slept in pull-up. And actually still does to this day. She’s 4 and is still tiny enough to fit them so I save myself the clean up. She doesn’t always agree with me about it though, and sometimes throws a tantrum over it, which you can read more of here.
It definitely depends on the kid when it comes to night time. Some can stay dry overnight right off the bat, some can’t. Don’t blame the kid and think it’s something they can change because it’s not until their little bladder is strong enough. Most kids sleep way too hard to wake up in the middle of the night to go.
I know you’re thinking it sounds like I just began potty training one day and boom it worked.
But what I haven’t talked about is everything that led up to those first few days of legit potty training.
Well really it’s not a lot so I shouldn’t say “everything” but there are three specific things I find myself doing. I really believe these “things” helped our potty training process go a lot smoother. And I hope they help you too!
So let’s get started.
Bathroom trips with mom
This is unavoidable right?? Team never pee alone again mom gang.
Use these trips as learning opportunities. I always talk to my kids. I let them know what I’m doing in our terms. Kids catch on really quick to what teetee and poop means.
But not if you don’t talk to them about it.
So whenever I leave the room to go I say,
“Hang on baby(ies), mommy has to go potty.”
sure enough here follows the one year old – and usually 4 year old too…..and the 7 year old usually pops by with a question, I’ll say
“Mommy is going teetee real quick” or “mama’s gotta go poopoo.“
Super simple things that make a huge, huge difference in your child’s potty training journey.
Diaper change sessions = potty talk
Every time I change a diaper, I say things like “did you teetee? Ohhh you have a wet butt, you went teetee.”
The same thing with poop.
If you don’t talk to your kids and explain what they’re doing, or explain what you’re doing, it’ll take them longer to make that connection.
The more you talk to your kids the more they understand, and that’s on any subject.
Follow the poop cues
Most kids have a definite poop face, a hiding spot, or some other kind of sign that lets you know they’re going poop.
As they get older, once you notice that first cue, ask them if they want to go sit on the potty and try.
I knew that my kids hated being dirty so I would always say, “Do you want to go try on the potty so that your booty can stay clean? Come on let’s go poop in the potty so we can flush it away and keep you clean.”
It usually worked. Sometimes they would say no, sometimes they would say yes after I asked again, but not always.
I for sure believe that you should not force anything. If they say no, move on. The more you force them to do it, the more they will rebel and NOT do it.
Ahhh yes, rebellion starts at an early age. Welcome to parenthood.
But in all honesty, it’s only hard if you make it hard. Sometimes we just have to face the fact that our kid is just not ready. Don’t try to force something that isn’t. Be patient with your baby and yourself.
Yes I know diapers are expensive but so is stress in your household. Forcing your child to potty train comes with a cost.
Just keep asking, motivating, and talking about it..but never force it.
What about rewards?
I am totally not against bribery. I’m also totally for rewarding good actions.
A few ideas I’ve always liked are
- being butt naked (worked for my oldest)
- an M&M or other candy after each flush
- a potty training chart with a bigger reward after
- buying brand new big boy/girl underwear
- dance parties after each successful potty trip (these were HUGE in my house)
- calling grandma after each big day of successful potty trips
And obviously there are so many more ideas you can come up with that will work for your own family!
My #1 rule is to have fun with it and don’t make it a chore. They won’t be in diapers forever, I promise.
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