Monday, September 22, 2014

Potty Training Tips from a Fourth Time Mom

Thank you to Pull-Ups for sponsoring today's post and helping me Potty Train with the Big Kid Academy.

My littlest munchkin is nearing his first birthday.  Along with all the other things that begin around 1 year (walking, talking, etc.), my "potty training" prep begins at that point, too.  You start potty training at 1 year old?!?  Well, no, not really, but we get some aspects of it rolling.

Levi is my 4th baby.  I have two boys and two girls.  And man, are they different!  But, one thing has been the same for us...the first three were all fully potty trained by age 2 (though one child took another 2 months to be night time potty trained).  I HOPE that little Levi, being our easiest baby thus far, will also potty train as easily as his older siblings.

I in no way consider myself any sort of "expert" on the topic of potty training, but I do have some potty training tips and advice that have worked for us:

#1: The Potty Chair is Your Friend

At one year of age, we put out the (totally clean) potty chair in our child's bedroom.  They don't use it, but they get to see it, touch it, stuff their animals in it, etc.  The reasoning behind it is that we don't want the potty chair to be some big, scary, new thing once it's time to learn how to use it.  We want it to be more of an old, familiar object.  They are free to play with it however they want, but we also show them how to help their dolls or animals go potty in it, which gives them a glimpse of what it's actually used for eventually.

#2: Older Siblings Make Great Cheerleaders

If you have older siblings, involve them in the process.  Allow them to help pick out the Pull-Ups, choose a spot for the potty chair, cheer for little brother when he pretends (or really does) to go potty on the chair, or pass out his reward for actually going potty in the chair.

#3: Make it Fun

Purchasing their favorite character Pull-Ups (and eventually their favorite character undies), is so motivating and fun for little ones.  My kids have always loved to pick out their favorites, and these Jake the Neverland Pirate ones are so cute.  Let it be their choice (or have an older sibling pick a favorite), and talk about their characters each time they put on their Pull-Ups.

Huggies Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy has some really great resources for making learning fun, too.  I especially love their "Potty Training Progress Chart" and their "Video Character Calls" to celebrate going on the potty.  Seriously, I wish I had some of these resources with my older kiddos!

Want to enroll and get access to all their great resources too?  Click HERE to enroll!

#4: Bribery is Your Friend

Some people don't use bribery with their children...I am not one of those people.  I am ALL for bribery, especially with potty training.  Here's what we've always done: potty in the toilet earns a jelly bean, poop earns a lollipop.  Now, it must be noted, that if your favorite candy is jelly beans, this may pose a problem for your waistline...ahem.  If that's the case, you may want to try something else.  Funny story: When our first born was potty training, she ended up blending "poop" with "lollipop" so that what she called her reward was a "lollipoop".  Which is especially cute until you're at the checkout line counter with all the fancy lollipops and she's yelling at the top of her lungs, "lollipoop! Lollipoop! Lollipoop!"

#5: Follow the Leader

Hint on this one: You are not the leader.  Your child is the leader.  Follow their lead, despite your own desires to rid yourself of the "diaper" budget category.  When you notice them asking questions about the potty, ask if they'd like to try.  When they start asking you to change their diaper, or telling you that they just went potty or poop in their diaper, they are ready.  Don't push too hard, but encourage them to regularly take a trip to the bathroom.  Starting before they are ready will just make it a long road to completion.

Bonus Tip:

While this one may seem a little odd, is has been a HUGE help to our children.  We always keep the potty chair (once they've progressed to actually using it) in the living room where we spend most of our time.  We have found that if the potty chair is always within sight, our children are more apt to initiate "trying" to go regularly.  Once they've gotten the hang of taking themselves regularly, it gets moved to the bathroom where normal humans go.

What are your best potty training tips? At what age do you begin the process of potty training? Don't forget to enroll in the Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy for more awesome tips, games, encouragement, and fun ways to celebrate your big kid!

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