by Sarah on 21. August 2012 in
It only takes a quick second on the internet and you will find that there are endless theories and methods when it comes to potty training. Overwhelming and intimidating, taking the plunge to potty train your child can be rough on a parent and child! If there is anything we have learned about potty training, it’s that: every child is different & every parent is different. You may have to experiment to decide which method is right for you and your child, so we suggest being open to your plan changing…be willing to adjust to unpredictable behaviors…and try not to put too much unnecessary pressure on yourself and your child.
We have also found that a universal key to potty training that everyone can benefit from is to BE PREPARED. You never know when your toddler may be ready to jump on the potty training train, and a teaching opportunity may present itself when you least expect it. So, if you feel like potty training may be around the near corner…we recommend preparing a few staples to have on hand so that you’ll be ready to concentrate your efforts on your learning child instead of on making a mad dash to the nearest store.
Here are our Essentials Items for Potty Training:
Kind of a no brainer…but we recommend buying more than you think you’ll need. Stock up on lots of underwear that your child will find cool and exciting to wear.
:: Easy On/Off Pants
You’re going to want to make sure you have a hefty supply of elastic waist pants/shorts that your child can pull on and off quickly by themselves. Again, you may be surprised how many you blast through in those first hours of training- so equip yourself with more than you think you’ll need.
:: Clean Up Supplies
Add plastic gloves, bleach, paper towels, and flushable wipes to your next shopping list, and you’ll be sure to be thankful you have them around when the potty training begins. For those soiled pieces of clothing…hand wash in 1 TBSP of chlorine bleach per every gallon of hot water, and then throw in the your next load of laundry.
:: Potty Chair/Potty Seat
There are a lot of great options out there when it comes to finding a kid-size potty. You can find stand-alone potty chairs—easy to move around, less intimidating than the regular toilet, and just your child’s size. You can also find soft potty seats that fit right on you regular toilet—these take up less space than a freestanding chair, can be effective with children who want to imitate their parents/siblings, and require little/no cleanup. We suggest investing in a convertible potty that includes both so that you can follow your child’s lead as to what they learn best with. We recommend the Kiddyloo Toilet Seat and the Arm & Hammer 3-in-1 Potty Seat by Munchkin.
:: Training Underwear
It’s not a bad idea to have a few pairs of disposable underwear (like Pull Ups) on hand, even if initially you feel like you’d rather not use them. You never know when, at the last late-night minute, you may decide to use them for naps/bedtime in the beginning stages of training.
:: Teaching Materials
There is a plethora of teaching materials out there when it comes to teaching your child about using the potty. We recommend picking up a couple of books or movies for your child to learn from and relate to throughout the process. We recommend the Once Upon a Potty Books and DVD for Boy and Girl, as well as Elmo’s Potty Time DVD.
One of our favorite potty-themed books is Time to Pee by Mo Willems.
Also, you may want to take a minute to browse some of the great apps available to help you through potty training. The Pull Ups iGo Potty app can be set to remind your child to go to the potty at regular intervals, and also has games, songs, and sticker charts to help motivate your child.
:: Waterproof Protectors
In addition to extra bed sheets, we suggest having some waterproof mattress protectors on hand. Also, there are other great protective products to help you through the transition of becoming fully potty trained. The Summer Infant Piddle Pad is a great solution for protecting your child’s car seat when you’re on the go.
:: Step Stool
If you don’t already have one in the bathroom for your child, you’ll want to grab a step stool for them to use for reaching the potty, as well as for washing their hands. We love the Ikea Forsiktig Children’s Stool…it’s the perfect stool for the perfect (cheap) price!
Incentives and motivators are not a one-size-fits-all aspect of potty training. This is one aspect where knowing your own child will have to come into play. Choosing treats, toys, or incentive charts that cater to your child’s individual interests and learning styles can provide just the boost you might need to hit the ground running with your potty training goals. Generally speaking, however, we recommend having three different groups of prizes that can be rewarded when your child reaches small milestones, medium milestones, as well as large ones.
Take a deep breath, and have confidence in yourself as a parent during this time. Remember that accidents happen to every child, and that you are not alone in this potty training circus! Your child will get it…they all do at some point!