Painless potty training: readiness and chocolate
My two-and-a-half year old decided he was ready to be potty trained a few weeks ago. First he was curious to try the toilet, and would go on occasion. Then he started waking up in the mornings with a dry diaper. One morning, I convinced him to wear underpants to school, and that was basically that.
He was “ready.” I’d heard rumors about this phenomenon, but never experienced it with my daughters, both of whom were trained with considerable effort shortly after their third birthdays. But looking back, I wonder if maybe I wasn’t “ready” back then. Diapers are convenient. They’re an excellent insurance policy against soiled carpets/furniture/car seats/strollers. Having a kid in diapers means never having to frantically seek out the nearest public restroom when you’re out and about. As a first-, and even a second-time mom, the diapers gave me a sense of security I was loathe to give up.
This time was different. I’m “ready” to be done with diapers forever. So I was paying close attention this time around.
The first step was having the right tools on hand early on. The first time he looked remotely interested in the toilet, I brought home a Baby Bjorn Safe Step and Baby Bjorn Toilet Trainer — both absolute staples for potty training. Those lived in the bathroom for a few months before he showed any interest in trying them out, but when he was ready, I was ready, and the toilet training seat was familiar to him. (Personally, I’ve always preferred to skip the potty and go straight to the toilet, mostly because I’m squeamish about cleaning it out.)
Kids love encouragement but hate pressure. So step two was providing motivation without being overly pushy. We made a really big deal when he went on the potty. Like we’d won the lottery. He loved getting that reaction out of us, and most of the time that was all he needed. The rest of the time we used M&Ms:
One for sitting
Three for peeing
Ten for pooping
It’s a sliding scale though, and as he got more consistent, we backed off the bribery.
The process wasn’t without some speedbumps. We had a memorable evening when he removed his pull-up, pooped on the carpet, then tried to clean it up himself with foaming hand soap and a wash cloth.
You’re never “ready” for that.
What potty training tips and techniques worked for your family?