We celebrate all sorts of milestones as our babies grow — rolling over, pulling themselves up, even first teeth! But potty training causes more parents dread and fear, than celebration.
We started the process about three months ago, I would have started sooner, but the timing just “wasn’t right”. Ahem…please note, the timing is NEVER right, it should truly be when your child is ready, not you. But you live and you learn.
I read all sorts of blog posts, websites, even (half of) a book about it – and what I came up with is this: there are a million “right” ways to do it. So, I picked a combination of what I thought would work best for my family and went for it. Here are the three basic steps we went through:
Step 1: Naked Toddler Weekend
I decided to go with the strategy of staying home for two days straight and having my son go through the day naked from the waist down. This involved a little bit of planning to make sure that I had no appointments or errands that needed to be run. We “threw away” all his diapers so he saw that we were no longer using them. I covered the couch with heavy blankets and watched him like a hawk for signs that he was about to pee, or to try to catch him at the start of one. There were a few minor accidents, but I was pleasantly surprised when he would start to have an accident, stop mid-stream and say “Uhh-oh” then I would whisk him away to the potty. During nap times and bed time training pants were used (we love the Bamboo Nature training pants, completely non-toxic and hypo-allergenic, and they have a nifty breathable liner to help ensure little man stays dry). I also made sure to tell him that it was still ok to go pee-pee in them while he was sleeping, as to not counteract the ceremonial throwing away of the diapers earlier in the day!
Step 2: Week-long Commando
After the initial naked days, errands had to be run, and I had to get out of the house for my own sanity! So, we skipped underwear and training pants during the day and just went commando. I read that sometimes, underwear feels too similar to a diaper, which might undo whatever little progress was made. I packed two extra outfits, some pull ups, and his travel potty. We went on short trips and became very familiar with the bathrooms at all our stops. There were a few accidents along the way, but overall nothing too bad. However, I was super glad I packed the extra training pants after he had wet through his third set of pants for the day!
Step 3: Underwear for All
We introduced underwear a week and a half into the process. I was leery at first, but he seemed ready. At this point we were, and still are, doing training pants at nap times and bed time. Although as more time passes, I have found he often wakes up from a nap completely dry, and only slightly wet come mornings.
While these were the three major steps that worked for us, it is by no means the end all guide to potty training, do some research and figure out what will work best for your family — and as always, please share your own tips in the comments below!