Earlier this year, after EV's two year pediatrician well visit, I began thinking about when it would be best to begin potty training but had made no official plans to begin. At some point shortly after, the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming increasingly more serious and all non-essential businesses were forced to close, meaning we would be spending a lot more time at home. I thought about it a little more and decided it could be a good time.
I was a little nervous to start because I hadn't really planned on starting so soon and didn’t feel completely prepared nor was I sure if she was ready. To be honest, the changing of her diapers didn’t really bother me since I am still completely in it with my son. I knew going into this there would be accidents, many unsuccessful trips to the potty, constant asking if we needed to go to the potty and slight tantrums…all of the above happened and more than once.
But I decided I would give it a go and over the weekend ordered a potty (this is the one we got from Little Owly), training underwear (which we used the first week), regular underwear, the book "Duck Goes Potty" and spoke to a few friends for advice and gather their experiences. I also purchased mini M&Ms (suggested by a friend) to give EV as a reward for successful potty trips including going in her potty and sometimes just for sitting on it. I knew this was going to be tough, time consuming and a commitment but I decided to go for it! I also knew I wanted to try to make this as least stressful for both myself and EV, I like to say it was more of a "relaxed" approach.
We placed her brand new potty "specially for her" in her bathroom (this is the one we used) and showed her how to sit in it and explained to her that she will now go pee and poop in the potty. I explained to her that she was a big girl and would begin wearing underwear too because she would no longer need a diaper. That morning all she wore was her training underwear (we chose these Peppa Pig ones here because she is very into Peppa right now) and a tee shirt. When I first asked EV to sit on the toilet she did not want to at all. She even began to cry. I explained to her again what we were doing and I showed her by also sitting on my potty. After a few minutes she wanted to sit on her potty too and we both sat for a bit to get her comfortable. I congratulated her for sitting on her big girl potty and asked her to let me know when she has to go potty. We did this a few times throughout the day and I constantly reminded her to let me know when she had to go potty. We also took trips to her potty about every 20 minutes. We also would rush to the potty when I noticed she was peeing. This was difficult at times because you have to constantly be watching your little one but I think it was a helpful step in her understanding.
The entire day was filled with accidents and we did not have any "successful" trips to the potty. I questioned if she was ready or not but decided it was still a successful day as we transitioned from not wanting to sit on the potty at all to going to the bathroom and at least sitting on it.
On the second day, we repeated the entire process except this time we had success and she went in her potty! It was very exciting for both of us, we even did a little song & dance and celebrated with mini M&Ms. She also helped me throw out the contents and flush the toilet, saying goodbye to her pee. When accidents happened we told EV it was OK, cleaned them up, changed our clothes and reminded her to next time please let us know when she had to go potty. EV also really began showing a liking to her potty. She liked that it was pink, currently her favorite color, its whale shape and holding the top it comes with. The day was spent in her training underwear and a tee shirt and again lots of asking if she had to go potty and unsuccessful trips to the potty. But I was not discouraged. On day 2 we had 3 successful trips and she even let me know on one of them herself she had to go.
Dress from Little Owly (find it here)
By the third day, there were many more successful trips to the potty including one with poop. This was a BIG deal! We continued with the praise, mini M&M reward and happy dance for each time she went in the potty. There were accidents but I could see we were heading in the right direction and think we both felt encouraged.
Each day she got better and in about two weeks there were few accidents and she was letting us know on her own when she had to go. We continued to be consistent with her by telling her to let us know when she has to go potty, asking her if she has to go as a reminder and of course by celebrating when she goes in the potty. She would even remind us about her mini M&Ms after successful trips to the potty but phased those out by week 3.
Currently, EV is letting us know when she has to go but of course we still remind her if we notice it has been a while since she last went. She has had very few accidents and is enjoying wearing her underwear. I do want to note that while some people remove the diapers completely when they begin potty training (even for bedtime and naps), I was not one of those people. We explained to EV that she has a nighttime underwear with Minnie (we use these Huggies Pull Ups) and she sleeps in the "special nighttime panties." The pull ups have been dry when she wakes up in the morning and we take her straight to the potty but the pull ups at night have been more for us incase there is an accident it will be quicker to clean up this way. We will eventually phase the night diaper out soon.
A few tips that worked for us:
- Positive reinforcement, celebrations and small rewards
- Reminding constantly to please let us know when she has to go potty
- Lots of patience
Remember you have to do what works for you and your little one, what worked for me may not work for everyone. Each child is different. I was fortunate because I think EV picked it up rather quickly and was ready. Because we did this during quarantine I feel it was probably easier because didn’t have to worry much about leaving the house. However, if we are driving somewhere that is farther than ten minutes I bring her potty, wipes, antibacterial and extra underwear just incase (fyi: we have had to pull over and go).
Would love to hear your potty training experiences in the comments below.