Several months ago, when my little girl turned two, I thought I would be “creative” and throw in a little birthday gift to get her excited about potty training. She tore through the gift showing very little interest in the very cool potty seat, adorable personalized stool, precious panties and potty training book – only taking a moment to press the “flush” sound button on the book that I thought would be the answer to it all. I had absolutely no idea just how time consuming and frustrating the endeavor me and my child would endure together would be for both of us. It was at the point of frustration that I did much research in an attempt to find the “answer” to potty training! Once you assess your child’s readiness and you, as a parent, feel it’s time to kiss those diapers goodbye, you must then acquire the gear and come up with a game plan that both you and your toddler can live with.
Perfect Potty Gear is a must!! Although each child is different, each of them will need the basics to master the “art” of going to the potty.
1. A Potty Chair. Children love to mimic Mommy and Daddy, therefore, having their own little place to potty is perfect and fulfills their need to develop into “big” boys and girls. A potty chair should be chosen based on the child’s personality rather than your home decor. Three potty chairs that we love are:
Baby Bjorn Potty Chair: This chair is a favorite. It seems to be very comfortable for most children, boys and girls, and it comes in a number of colors that would match most personalities. This chair however, very basic and doesn’t have storage for books or other items to keep a child busy during potty time.
Fisher Price Cheer for Me Potty: This chair is adorable – perfect for the tot that loves to tinker. This potty has it all – it holds toilet paper, makes a flushing noise and congratulates baby for a job well done. The small seat also makes a transition to the big potty when your tot is ready to move to that stage.
Boon Potty Bench: The Boon Potty Bench is fun for kids and saves room in the bathroom. The Boon Potty Bench is a potty and bench all in one. It offers storage for small books or play items to be used during potty time. Our tester actually just loved to sit on it and play with her toys!
2. Training pants or cotton undies. You can find many training pants that offer different prints (Dora, Cars, Disney Princesses, Diego) to get your child excited about their new big kid undies. Training pants also offer different options to make the child more aware of their eliminations, such as the cold alert offered by Huggies. Many parents choose this option because of the protection offered when accidents do occur. Washable training pants, such as Kushies, are also available, which allow the child to experience the feeling of being wet rather than disguising the sensation by absorbing, as some disposable brands do – some parents find that when a child knows they are wet and are uncomfortable with the sensation, they potty train more quickly.
3. Flushable wipes. Flushable wipes are fabulous. These are perfect for teaching a small child proper wiping technique. Our two year old tester loved taking them from the dispenser, wiping and flushing. This is probably her favorite part of potty training! There are many brands available, we have tested Huggies and Kandoo, with both being equal in effectiveness.
4. Potty Training Books. A great tool for potty training – books! Kids love them and have more interest in them that in listening to an already frustrated mom begging them to use the potty. We really liked The Potty Book – For Girls or Boys by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, It’s Potty Time by Smart Kids Publishing (with flushing noise), and Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel. I encourage you to check out a number of books to find those that fit your child’s personality best – this is ALL about them.
Other Optional Gear: Fisher Price On the Go Potty is a lifesaver for us. Kid potty emergencies are going to come up – it’s part of the training process. A quick stop with this amazing potty and your on your way accident free. The Fisher Price On the Go Potty comes with it’s own carry bag and, if desperate as mom’s sometimes are, you can use a trash bag or even a grocery bag with napkins for absorbency. Some parents choose to purchase a doll for teaching potty training, we recommend the Once Upon a Potty Plush Doll Set. This plush doll corresponds with the previously recommended book and seems to peak a child’s interest in the pottying process.
Beyond the Gear. Now that you have found the perfect potty gear for you child, it’s time to come up with a game plan and tackle those diapers. I found in my research that there are so many ways to potty train, from “potty training naturally” to “let’s get this over in one day”! This is for each parent to sort through to ensure that you have picked a potty training plan just right for you and your tot. Here are a few that we found most helpful and interesting:
1. Time to Potty – Practice Makes Perfect. The “practice Makes Perfect” method is a basic method of toilet training that involves introducing you child to the potty and gradually teaching him/her to utilize the potty which is kept accessible to the child at all times. This method is one that basically moves at the child’s pace, and when the child uses the potty as instructed, their behavior is positively reinforced with a reward of some sort (stickers, candy, removable tattoos, small gifts).
2. Dr. Phil’s Potty Training Method – One Day Method. Dr. Phil’s method is based on the concept that the child will learn best by teaching and behavior is shaped by consequence. Basically this method utilizes a doll that wets, with your child giving liquids to the doll and then bringing the doll to the potty chair to “go potty.” The doll then receives a reward, a party, for going to the potty. The child will then work towards receiving their own potty party. This method does take a major amount of planning on the part of the potty training parent; however, in many children, this method leads to a potty trained child fairly quickly – within one day to two weeks for most. Parents can read more about Dr. Phil’s potty training method here.
3. Potty Train Naturally. The natural potty training process focuses on toilet training being a stress free learning process. The child basically learns at his/her own pace, with some of the variations of this method allowing for the child to go diaperless outside at certain times of the day to experience their eliminations, rather than ‘numbing’ the child with disposable diapers. The potty is also treated as a daily object in the life of the child, with the child being offered the potty if he/she wakes up with a dry diaper or allowing them to sit on the potty while they wait for their bath water to run. Potty cheers and songs are also recommended for times when the child wishes to sit on the potty.
4. The “$75 Method.” The “$75 method, as some call it, is a method that allows the baby to go without clothing or training diapers / undies for a time period, letting the child eliminate on themselves until such time as they realize that the potty is an easier option. Although considered simple, this method is messy – with the $75 being for carpet cleaning after the process is complete!
5. Booty Camp. The “Booty Camp” potty training method is a program that you purchase as a DVD package. This method was developed by Wendy Sweeney, a registered nurse with six children of her own. Ms. Sweeney offers a program that entails following a one day structured program, which involves salty foods, sweet drinks, a potty chair and rewards for positive reinforcement. Booty Camp does take some planning on the part of the potty training parent(s) and does require some reinforcement training. Parents can learn more about this method at Booty Camp.
Although the above methods only touch on a few potty training methods, there are many that can be found through research. You are sure to find a method that will get your tot on the pot and you out of the diaper aisle at the grocery store!
– Contributed by Kori