About to potty train your little one? Well, let me start off being super super REAL: it wasn’t easy!!! Seriously, being in quarantine + having my husband home with me to share the responsibilities of being on here non-stop for a week was a life-savor.
On my Instagram stories, I shared that I was going to start potty training my daughter Grace a week before she turned 2. I promised to write a post about what we did, what worked/didn’t work, + what we used.
So, here it is!
In this post I break down:
- Our initial expectations vs. how long it actually took
- The basics of what we did
- What each day of potty training looked like
- The products we used to potty train
Our initial expectations vs. how long it actually took
Like most parents, I immediately Googled “how to potty train a toddler fast” + read the blog posts/watched the YouTube videos. They made it sound so easy! Just 2-3 days + she would be a potty-trained pro. I am LAUGHING typing that right now.
Nope. Not for us! Maybe if you wait to potty train when they’re 3-4? Our daughter, Grace, was just shy of 2. I think every experience is different for each family, child, age, environment, etc. I am sharing this because I don’t want you to get your hopes up when you read/watch those posts, too!
Grace took 7 days of accidents before she got the hang of it. By day 8 she wasn’t having any accidents + went 2+ weeks before having her first one.
Basically, the blog posts + videos that had the most views for quick potty training all pretty much focused on the following:
- Staying quarantined for 2-3 days during potty training
- Keeping them without pants +/or with underwear on
- Pull-ups for sleeping
- Putting your toddler on the potty every 20 minutes
- Not shaming them for having accidents
- Rewarding them with snacks/treats when they went
Although we absolutely incorporated all of these [+ they helped!], it was just not realistic to do the trick in 2-3 days… especially at just 2 years old.
So, I am going to share the basics of what we did/what worked + what each of the 7 days of training looked like below.
The basics of what we did
- It took Grace 7 days of accidents before she was accident-free on day 8.
- We did this in 60-degree weather in May + trained her both indoors + in our backyard.
- My husband + I took 2-3 hour shifts with her throughout the day by day 2. Day 1 we got super burnt-out doing it non-stop together.
- We kept her in a t-shirt + underwear for the first two days. When outside, we put a dress on her or a 2-piece swimsuit. By day 3 we took off the undies + let her go commando since she had so many accidents + I couldn’t keep up with washing the undies.
- Outside we used this toddler potty since she couldn’t make it to our toilet in time to go when outside + she was wet from playing in the water, so it made it easier on us, too.
- Inside we used the regular toilet, this stepstool, + this toddler toilet insert 90% of the time. We brought the toddler potty inside + kept it in her playroom in case she couldn’t make it to the big potty [it came in handy a few times!].
- Next to her toddler potty we always kept this digital book she loved to read. It’s the only thing that kept her booty on that toilet for more than 5 seconds!
- Next to the big potty, we kept this bin full of tons of books. We bought her 8-10 new books to keep her interested enough to stay on the potty for 5+ minutes at a time! We still have them there + read to her a few times a day.
- We kept wipes, pull-ups for right before naps/bedtime, + extra undies [once we ended up putting her in them the last few days!] right on top of the toilet for easy reach.
- We kept reinforcing with lots of patience for her to tell us she had to go potty. Especially if she had an accident. We didn’t ignore the accident, but we would say, “We don’t pee-pee/poopie on the floor. Only in the potty. Say potty if you have to go. OK?“
- She sat on a thick towel when eating in her toddler chair or when on the couch watching TV in case she had an accident.
- Every time she woke up from sleeping we immediately put her on the big potty and read to her until she [hopefully] went. Also, potty right before nap/bedtime. Now it’s routine to do that every day.
- We gave her a special drawer for her undies that she can reach + pick out herself every morning in her dresser. We also keep extra in the bathroom.
- We used mini chocolate chips + little toddler crackers/cookies for reinforcement when she was successful. 1-2 teeny ones per successful pee/poop.
- Cut back to 1 bottle a day between breakfast/lunch. No liquids 30 min before nap + no liquids after dinner [about 1-2 hours before bed]. This really helped her not pee during nap/night time.
What each day of potty training looked like
- We put her on the potty every 20 minutes.
- We both potty trained her all day long.
- Kept her in undies [had accidents in them non-stop].
- Wouldn’t tell her to go potty at all + seemed stressed/confused — like us.
- Peed one time on the big potty, but she didn’t get excited or understood to repeat this behavior.
- We went to bed pretty sure we started potty training too early + were exhausted.
- We decided to take 2-3 hour shifts with her separately.
- We put her on the potty every 15 minutes instead of 20.
- We took off the underwear + left her commando with a shirt/dress all day.
- She peed 3-4 times on the toilet + started to get excited. Asked for her reward snacks.
- Peed once on the toddler potty.
- Held her poop all day.
- Still had lots of accidents.
- She pooped all over the house…. like 5 times. 2 times were on my feet as I raced her to the bathroom + I stepped in one.
- She peed all over the couch before I could take her off. I lost my mind.
- We started getting a bit more strict when she had accidents + told her it was “icky” to pee/poop on the floor or that babies did that. Against like every parenting book. But, it worked! It didn’t upset her. But, actually helped her understand not to do it. She would repeat “icky” + “potty” when I reinforced to go on the potty instead.
- We put her on the potty every 30 minutes.
- She successfully peed on the toilet 50-60% of the day.
- Pooped once at the end of the day in her toddler potty in her playroom + was really excited.
- She started saying “potty” when she got the urge to pee/poop!
- She had no poop accident these days + always made it to the potty. But, would have the urger for 30-100 minutes + ask to go on the potty non-stop because she was unsure when the poop would actually come out. We had patience… but, was so exhausted.
- Just a few pee accidents these days.
- We still would pick her up and run her to the potty to help her not miss the potty since she would say “potty” + pee within 10-20 seconds.
- We put underwear on her all day + shorts when she was outside [or a two-piece bathing suit].
- She had 1-2 pee accidents each of these days.
- Far fewer “false-alarms” when she would say “potty” but not actually go.
- We stopped picking her up + running her to the potty + would just tell her to run to the potty.
- We would make her set up her potty if it wasn’t on top of the toilet + let her walk up on the stool.
- Still no poop accidents.
- Day 7 was the last day of accidents for 14+ days. By day 8 we put regular clothes on her + pull-ups when we left the house [car/long walks].
The Products We Used
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