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One of the biggest milestones most toddler parents look forward to is the day they can say goodbye to diapers!
Diapers are expensive.
During the first few years of life, your baby uses 8-10 diapers per day. The average family spends about $1,000 per year on diapers!
For many parents, potty training toddlers cannot come soon enough. Learn how to potty train a toddler in just one weekend!
What Age Can You Start Potty Training Your Toddler?
Potty training is a stage that all toddlers go through when they’re ready. As much as we parents may be ready to get rid of diapers, it’s very important to make sure your child is ready as well.
If your toddler isn’t developmentally prepared for potty training, there will be a lot more resistance and frustration for both of you.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most toddlers begin to show signs of readiness around the age of 2. All toddlers develop along their own path and may reach this point at various ages.
As per the AAP, common signs of readiness are:
- Awareness of the need to go to the bathroom
- Interest in the toilet
- Imitation of adults using the bathroom
- Awareness of when they urinate or defecate
- Ability to pull clothes down.
Once you see some of these signs, it’s the perfect time to help ease them into potty training.
Follow these steps to make potty training a smooth transition and help prepare your toddler for the exciting days of undies.
How to Potty Train a Toddler in One Weekend
Read About Potty Training
The first step of preparing your little one for potty training is to start reading about it. When your child learns more about using the bathroom, it familiarizes them with the concept and makes it less scary.
Also, when toddlers read books about other kids using the bathroom, it plants a seed. It puts the idea in their mind that they too can use the toilet instead of needing diapers.
Our favorite potty training books are:
Get a Kid Toilet or Toilet Seat
Purchase your small toilet at the first signs of readiness and start “practicing”. Allow your toddler to practice sitting on the toilet seat fully clothed whenever they want.
This helps familiarize your toddler with the toilet and gets them comfortable. Let your toddler’s toys practice too! Anything that helps them feel comfortable and excited about the potty helps!
Most toddlers love to imitate their parents and follow them everywhere. Once you purchase your kid-sized toilet, allow your toddler to sit on theirs every time you go to the bathroom.
They will have fun imitating you and will get into the habit of stopping playing and going to the bathroom every few hours.
Pick Out “Big Kid Undies”
This was our toddler’s favorite step.
Once she showed us she was ready to try to use the potty, we told her she could pick out her own special undies. Try to find characters they love or anything your child would get excited about wearing.
If your toddler is small like ours, it’s a little more difficult to find underwear that will fit them. Our toddler was wearing size 3 diapers and these 2t undies fit her the best.
After the initial two days of potty training, I also love this training underwear for an extra layer of protection just in case of small accidents while out and about.
Make sure to make this step very exciting for your child as an extra incentive to start potty training. Involve them in the process and tell them they get to wear the underwear soon once they start using the potty.
Pick a Start Date
Once your child shows they’re ready to use the potty, it’s time to commit to a date to start.
Choose a date when you know you will be home for a few days. Make sure there are not any major transitions such as a new sibling’s arrival or new school year coming up.
Prepare your child a few days prior by reminding them that they will start to use the potty soon and they won’t wear any more diapers.
Make sure you pick a time that you can stay home for 2 days and wash many loads of laundry if needed.
I recommend skipping pull-ups and using underwear when you commit to potty training.
You don’t want to torture your child, but you do want them to feel uncomfortable when they have an accident. Pull-ups that are essentially diapers will hold all of the urine, so your child will not be aware they even had an accident.
If your child has an accident in underwear and pants they will be able to feel it. This helps encourage them to try harder next time to make it to the bathroom.
Also, since they feel it immediately, it helps them become more aware of when they go to the bathroom.
Using underwear will lead to more messes to clean up the first two days, but it is very worth it for successful potty training.
Start Potty Training Your Toddler
On the big day, wake up, have breakfast and go through their usual morning routine. Afterward, make the switch into underwear.
Once you put the underwear on, ask your toddler if they need to use the bathroom every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
They’ll most likely say no at first. If they haven’t tried after an hour, physically bring them to the bathroom and have them sit on the toilet.
Read a book and have them sit for at least 5 minutes if they haven’t gone yet. Sometimes, if they relax a little, it helps relax the bladder and they’ll go.
If your toddler
Keep going through this cycle all day during waking hours. Remind your toddler to try to go potty every 30 minutes and bring them to the bathroom every 1-2 hours.
They’ll most likely struggle in the beginning, but stick with it and keep trying.
Applaud Their Success
Potty training is a very big deal, so let your child know how proud you are. Clap, sing, dance, and have fun the first time they go on the toilet.
Tell them that Mom and Dad are so proud. The more you encourage your child and show them that they are doing well, the more they will want to continue.
Developmentally, toddlers are constantly seeking approval from their parents. This is the stage known as autonomy vs shame and doubt.
Be your child’s biggest cheerleader and let them know you are proud of their efforts!
Do Not Punish Accidents
During the first two days, your child will likely have many accidents. They spent the first 2-3 years of their lives going to the bathroom wherever and whenever they wanted.
Potty training is forcing them to break this habit as well as to stop playing or eating, ask for help, and get onto the toilet.
It may be frustrating to constantly clean up accidents, but your child is not doing this intentionally. Do not let your frustration show because they are watching and learning from you.
Again, your toddler seeks your approval and appraisal. If you put them down or make them feel ashamed, they may be more resistant to try again.
Stay positive and light and encourage them not to give up.
If your child is having a lot of accidents at first, it’s really important not to give up. If you put your child back in diapers, this confuses them and negates the training you’ve done so far.
As soon as a diaper is back on, you’re allowing them to go whenever they want again and not need to get up to go to the bathroom.
So to avoid this confusion, try your best to stick to the underwear once you start.
The only exception to this rule is at night time. If your child sleeps 12 hours, they most likely will not be able to make it through the night without an accident.
Overnight, we switched to these pull-ups. We call them “night time undies” and not diapers so our little one does not think she is back in diapers.
Other Tips for Potty Training Toddlers
Once your toddler starts to get the hang of using the toilet at home, you are on your way to success. During the first month, it is normal to have accidents in different settings, so always be prepared with extra clothes.
Also, if you plan to leave your house at all in the next year, you need a portable toilet seat.
This toilet seat has been a lifesaver for us!
Instead of trying to convince your toddler to use a large and dirty toilet seat, help them feel more comfortable with a portable toilet seat.
The seat folds up small so they fit perfectly into your purse or diaper bag. Also, these seats fit easily onto any public toilet and
Pro tip- these are also amazing for you if you have to use a dirty port-a-potty one day!
Tops Tips for Potty Training Toddlers
If your toddler doesn’t show signs of readiness yet, don’t give up. Potty training, like all childhood milestones, occurs at different times for every kid.
No two children are alike and no two children will go through the process at the same time. The most important points are to be consistent and never punish or scold them for accidents.
Your toddler wants your approval more than anything at this stage and can get discouraged very easily. Stay positive and hang in there! They will get through this soon enough!
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