Updated: May 12, 2021
Everyone has a different strategy for potty training. Every parent is different, every child is different, and I don't believe there is one sure fire way to get the job done. I am just starting to potty train my third boy, and I know potty training him will be different than it was with each of the others because he is his own person.
What is the same: The potty training essentials.
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Before I start potty training my kids, we talk about it A LOT! One good way to talk about it is by reading books about going potty. Of course, there are many choices with toddlers' favorite characters. Baby Dragon just got the Daniel Tiger book.
I'm sure many shows have episodes about using the toilet, but you know I think Daniel Tiger is best toddler show on television. Check out some clips below. Another really good potty training episode I know of is on Word Party which is on Netflix. Cocomelon also has a song too, I linked below.
Next, you need a potty. I started training my first son when he was 18 months old. Personally, I just felt the adult potty was too big for him to climb up and down on all day. I like to start my kids out with their own toilet if they are still small. Plus, getting something of their very own is exciting for them. (If you are training a 3.5 or 4 year old you can skip the mini potty and move on to a child's seat. Or, if you have a child who wants to use exactly what older family members are using.)
Another advantage of the small potty is that's in portable. You can bring to Grandma's house or your child could use it in a pinch in the back of the minivan.
If you have a boy YOU MUST get a potty with a SPLASH GUARD! And not just a small one, a BIG ONE. Otherwise, you will certainly have pee on the floor. You may anyways, but you want to take as many precautions as possible.
I find two options best. A potty with a character they like, or one that looks like a real potty which the child knows other family members use. Toilets that hold wipes are an awesome plus. Flushing sounds, also a hit.
LINERS and LYSOL
How you want to clean the potty is a personal decision. If you are squeamish, liner bags are the way to go. If you are concerned about pollution, they have biodegradable bags. Easy cleanup + good for the Earth is A-Okay in my book. And, whether you use Lysol, Clorox or an organic cleaner, have some handy at all times!
Now, once your child is getting bigger and more proficient on the potty chair (or if you skipped the potty chair,) they are ready for the big toilet. I highly recommend something like this. 1) Their butt isn't going to fall in. 2) It seems safer to me because there are handles, and they aren't going to fall off. 3) It seems cleaner because they aren't touching the actual toilet seat 3) There is a step for easier climbing, and they can stand on it while being wiped.
During potty training, public toilets can be an issue. I try to avoid taking my kids to public bathrooms at pretty much all costs. Short shopping trips are a must for me. But of course, if you go somewhere like Disneyland or Legoland, or take a day trip somewhere...it is going to happen. These disposable seat covers are so convenient and cover so much area! They also conveniently come in individual bags. I have seen some moms use portable foldable seats, but for me having to clean and transport them...not my thing. I also use these in hotel rooms.
I like to use M&Ms. I give my kids a treat every single time they go and those are small. Sometimes they might get a Hershey's Kiss. I know other moms who get toys from the dollar tree and have a little treasure box. And, of course, there are the potty charts! I think these are best used for kids 2.5 and older. I know our mickey mouse toilet chair came with one. I don't think my 2 year old would be very motivated by it yet, but I know it does work for some, especially when they get a BIG prize at the end like going to Target and picking out a toy or going to a special place like Disney World.
PULL UPS, TRAINING UNDERWEAR OR BIG KID UNDERWEAR
Again, this a personal decision. Some parents put their kids right in underwear from the start of potty training. You have to be very consistent for this method. I personally, am not a fan of the mess and do more of gradual training, so I start with pull ups. I actually haven't even purchased any for my son yet. We started just by having him try to go to the bathroom before his nighttime bath. Whatever method you choose, there are great products for it. And they can all be motivating to your child because they are something new and have fun characters!
**Bonus Buy. If you have a boy check out these dissolving, biodegradable toilet targets which help them learn to aim and focus on where the pee needs to go when they are standing up. You know, besides getting pee on the wall, the floor, the door...etc.
Happy Potty Training!