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Family & Kids
*please note* these are just my opinions and suggestions. I am not a "professional". Also, please remember, all children are different. They develop at different rates and what works for one child may not work for another.
1. Don't push your child too hard. If you force potty training too much they will start to think of it as an unhappy situation. They may come to think of it as a chore. And let's be serious here, no kid likes the idea of a chore.
2. Throw that constant rewards system out the window. A "good job" or a high five does the trick. But I recommend easing out of it. For example, at first congratulate them anytime they successfully go. Then gradually down to just when they go without prompting. And at the beginning don't forget to tell your child "Good job. Thanks for trying." even if they don't go potty.
3. Have one big reward in the end. My youngest got to pick out two sets of panties. I explained to her that she didn't get to wear them though until she used the big girl potty and didn't go in her pull up. I put them in a dresser drawer where she would see them daily and another pair in the bathroom where she would be reminded that using the potty meant panties.
4. Take your child to the bathroom with you. You go first then offer "I'm done. Your turn to try." Or try putting a potty chair in front of or next to you and ask them to sit at the same time as you. My daughter didn't like the potty chair. She preferred using a step stool and sitting on the actual toilet. She also didn't like the toilet fittings so she sat on the normal toilet with me supporting her until she got used to maintaining her balance. Go with what your child prefers, but offer options.
5. Try a pull up free day. If you have a day or two that you aren't leaving the house try forgoing pull-ups and wearing underwear instead. Yes it could get messy. But at the beginning your child with have an occasional accident anyway, it'll just be a few more messes. I don't recommend the "naked method." Have them get dressed as normal but underwear instead. This shows that the pull-up is less bulky and since it's not soaking up the moisture they will realize it's uncomfortable to pee or poop in your pants, especially once you put a pull-up back on in a couple days.
6. When they are ready it will happen. My daughter, unbeknownst to me, got herself dressed with panties and no pull up. She had decided she was done with pull-ups. That day she had one accident. It was on her own terms which was all she needed. If your child does this, let them try it out. Don't discourage it unless they are still not using the potty at all.
7. Don't get upset when they have an accident. Your child is probably just as upset, if not more so, as you are. Tell them it's ok and that accidents happen, but that we need to try to go only in the potty.
8. You will find that a lot of the time your child will only pee OR poop in the potty first. They now have to concentrate more on what it feels like to have to pee or poop and they pick up in one sensation faster than the other. Once they have one down through, it shouldn't take long to get the other. Encourage a pull-up until they have both. Once one is mastered let them wear their underwear over their pull-up until they have both down though. Then they know they are making a step in the right direction.
9. Nighttime potty training is probably the hardest. Once we mastered daytime potty training I explained that once we didn't pee in our pull up at night we could wear panties to bed too. For this I did do a small rewards system, in the form of a calendar. We would put an X on the days we woke up wet and a star on the days we woke up dry. Once we had two full rows of stars we could stop pull-ups altogether. I would cut off drinks an hour - 2 hours before bedtime besides a sip when we brushed our teeth and then have her go potty right before bed
In summary, just be encouraging and patient. If your child is ready before they're two, great! If your child isn't ready until they're closer to four, so what!?! After four though, my personal recommendation would be talking to your child's pediatrician as there may be an underlying cause whether it be physical or mental. Don't get upset, expect accidents, and remember that THEY know when they are truly ready.
Thanks for reading and I hope some of you find this helpful. Any questions whether it be on this topic or another don't hesitate to ask.