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13 Best Realistic Potty Training Tips + Our Story

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potty training tips

Are you looking for potty training tips? You’re in the right place. In this article, I am sharing my top potty training tips that helped us successfully potty train our 32 month-old.

Potty training has been very challenging for us, and I honestly thought we’d never make it. Why?

Because we’ve had three failed attempts before we finally succeeded with it – the 4th time was a big success!

In this article, I am sharing my realistic and top potty training tips. For your reference, I also added a potty training timeline. 

So what changed since last time? Keep on reading to find out.

Are you looking for a complete list of potty training essentials? Click here

Story Time

Our first attempt was soon after my son’s second birthday. He was due to start nursery in September, so I thought it would be best for potty training. I was concerned about nappy changes… I didn’t want him to get a sore bum because of his nappies. Does anyone else feel this?

Five days in and he still wouldn’t ask for the potty, he’d just do his business in his pants. I remember changing 5-8 pants a day. Therefore after seeing this pattern, I decided to give up and try again in a couple of months. He just wasn’t ready.

The potty sat in our living room for months; I guess I was hoping for a miracle. Of course, nothing happened.
A few months later, we tried again; the second and then the third time, but still, without success.

Over this period, we started looking at books about potty training too. And we even tried a sticker chart, but nothing appeared to be working.
Noticing all this, I just gave up. At this point, I didn’t want to put more pressure on my son.

My Best Potty Training Tips

Here’s how we approached potty training this time (4th time).

Now, with the pandemic, lockdown, and always being at home, we thought to try potty training once again. I wanted to take advantage of this situation. And because we don’t have to go to nursery or outside the house and we can focus our effort in achieving this huge milestone.

Therefore, without any preparations, we woke up one day (29th of March 2020) and decided to remove his nappy one morning.

1. Talk to your child

In our case, my son is a lot older now (nearly 32 months old), and his understanding is a lot better too. Therefore I explained what’s going on over the next few days.

I reassured him that he’s a big boy now, and he has to go to the toilet just as mommy and daddy do. I also mentioned that he doesn’t have a nappy anymore and that he must ask for potty.

To be honest, I did not expect him to be potty trained in 3 days as I saw almost everywhere online.

But because this was already our 4th attempt, I changed a few things and incorporated other things.

2. Consider using a timer

Alexa from Amazon was our best friend during toilet training. On day one, we put a timer every 30 minutes. Then it increased to 45 minutes. My son figured it out why Alexa was ringing, and he hated it.

He understood what comes next, and he’d make a huge scene. But it works!! Trust me! It’s the number one thing that made all the difference compared to the last times.

potty training tips

3. Sticker chart

You don’t even need a fancy one. We used a plain white paper with the title Potty Training on it.

Every time he went to the toilet, he’d get a sticker for his little chart. You should have seen his little face. He loved it!

We rewarded pee with one sticker and poo with two stickers. 🙂

I also wanted to mention a crucial thing – reward your child’s best behavior and success. Please don’t punish him by giving him a sad-faced sticker when he fails. I tend to see this quite a lot, and it’s not OK for the little ones. Who likes seeing their failures? No one! And kids are the same.

4. Praise, lots of it!

Please make sure you praise your child and be happy for their success. It boosts their confidence, and they’ll do it more.

5. Being consistent

I guess it refers more to us as parents.

Potty training is hard work, and it’s not easy to keep track, another reason why we incorporated the timer.

Every time it rang, we would pick my son up and then straight to the toilet. He screamed and cried a lot, but we kept going. Another thing we improved from last time.

6. Be Patience

This one goes hand in hand with staying consistent, but very important too.

7. Involve your partner too

It was great having my husband involved, and probably this has made an enormous difference. 

8. Toilet Busy Basket

You may be wondering what is it. That’s how I call our little basket filled with books and flashcards to keep my son entertained while on the toilet.

And it truly works! If you think about it, even us, as adults, go with a book or phone to keep us entertained in the bathroom. There’s no difference for our kids either; we want to distract them. The good news is that the littles can learn new things while sitting on the toilet.

9. Keeping the pants on

There are many potty training books that suggest leaving your child naked. I think it’s a good idea to keep them on for a couple of reasons:

  • it keeps them warm if you’re not potty training in the summer
  • the pants will absorb pee
  • you’ll have of a less mess to clean up in case of an accident.

10. No underwear

Having no underwear makes it a lot easier for both you and your child.

11. Observe your child

This time around, I was more around him and asked him quite often if he needed to use the toilet.

12. Offer plenty of fluids

If you potty train, you need to give your child plenty of drinks, so he has more opportunity to practice and go to the toilet. It seems evident at first, but not always 🙂

13. Stay indoors

Staying indoors was one of the main reasons why I thought to try potty training again. Since we are in lockdown, it’s a great opportunity. So if you have a child close to potty training age, it’s an excellent opportunity to try getting rid of nappies for good.

potty training tips

Our Toilet Training Timeline 

Day 1

He refused sitting on the potty and started crying when he saw it. That’s when we asked him if he wants to use the toilet instead. Therefore our potty training has quickly transformed into toilet training. I was thrilled, and I knew that we wouldn’t have to go through the potty-toilet transition. Woop Woop.

We put a timer every 30 minutes, and every time it rand, we’d go to the toilet together. We celebrated every success with a sticker.
He had 2-3 accidents throughout the day, which is a fantastic improvement from our previous attempts.

Day 2-3

Nothing much has changed. But my son started complaining and making a colossal scandal at every toilet run.

Probably because he didn’t need to go, therefore we noticed that we increased the time to 45 minutes.

Day 4

I think it was on day 4 when we decided to give him two stickers for number two (poo), which has made him happy.

It was also the first time when he asked to go to the toilet (just once). As you imagined, I was surprised but delighted.

Day 5

We increased the time again to one hour. Same scandal as before, but we didn’t “care”… I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the truth. We already started seeing results on day 4, so we knew we’re doing something right.

Day 5 was the day when he stopped having accidents, which is excellent news!

Day 6

Even though he doesn’t nap anymore, we had to put him down for a nap that day. So we put a nappy and put him in bed. It took him around 30-45 minutes to fall asleep (he fights it every time).

Four hours later, he woke up completely dry. I couldn’t believe it.

Day 7-9

No changes, we had a couple of accidents here and there, but nothing major.

Day 10

He woke up dry in the morning! Which is enormous, I am super proud of him.

We agreed from the very beginning that we’d focus on day potty training first, so we didn’t even push him whatsoever. It came as a bonus.

Day 11 

He started asking for the toilet now. No more accidents, except a few drops here and there.

Day 18

We showed him to pee while standing up, which has made it super fun, and things got more interesting. We even put a little chair in front of the toilet so he can stand up.

Day 24+ 

Fast forward to today (21-23 April 2020), less then a month later, my toddler started using the toilet on his own. He just shouts “peepee” and runs for it.

We did it! I am over the moon!

To summarize, here are my top potty training tips

  • Talk to your child and explain what is going to happen over the next period
  • Compare yourself to your child by mentioning that you don’t have a nappy and that you go to the toilet. It can be beneficial because kids tend to imitate our gestures and what adults do.
  • Be consistent and patient.
  • Incorporate a timer
  • Have a sticker chart
  • Create a Potty Busy Basket
  • Be consistent and involve your partner (if you can)
  • Praise, a lot of praise.
  • Let your child wear pants, but no underwear or pullups, let them feel everything.
  • Observe your child and ask if he needs to go to the potty/toilet

Don’t forget to check out my potty training essentials here.

Do you have other potty training tips? Please leave them in the comments.

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