Potty Training Boot Camp

So I finally bit the bullet this past week and potty trained Capri.  I have been putting this off because we've been out of town or have never had a week where we could be home and didn't have something going on.  So I finally decided this last week that I better do it now while we have this time before her baby brother arrives and I can focus all my attention entirely on her and get it done.  She is such a smart little cookie that I knew she could do it, it's actually been more of me not wanting to because of the convenience of diapers!  I mean I love how I can take her anywhere and not have to worry about having accidents or that she is great in the car driving and we can be out and about all day.  But it will be so nice to only buy diapers for one baby and I'm doing myself a favor in the end, right?!  I know I've heard so many things about the benefits of potty training like how much better it is for the environment than diapers and they are more prepared for school and taking lessons places that require them to be potty trained.  So I did lots of research before because I knew I needed a game plan of how to do this and I decided that I wanted to try the three-day intense method and just kick it off.  I wanted to share my experience here in case it might help any of you who are going through the same thing or have a little one that you will be potty training soon.  I know that every child is different and there are lots of different methods to doing things.  This is just our experience and what worked for me.

So first off, do your research and be prepared.  Then gather up all the items you will need.

potty training tips

| POTTY TRAINING EQUIPMENT |

toddler toilet [I got two so I could have one upstairs and one downstairs.  One is the simple white style from Baby Bjorn and the other one she picked out at the store so it's a pink Minnie Mouse potty that cheers for her every time she goes - and she loves it.  A tip that my sister in-law recommended to me.  And also keep a roll of toilet paper and a package of baby wipes next to the toilet for clean up.]

drinks [have lots of liquids on hand to get them to drink a lot so they'll keep going to the bathroom and learn quicker.  My little girl doesn't love juice so I just did water and milk and had a sippy cup of both by us the whole time.]

snacks [salty snacks help them drink more so be prepared with lots of different stuff, but also do all your grocery shopping and errands the week before because you won't be able to leave the house for a couple days and I wanted to be prepared with everything for the week.]

underwear [I let Capri pick out her underwear at the store to get her excited about it and I think this helped with the process because I told her the week before how we were having a "potty party" and starting next week she gets to wear her big girl panties.  She loves the Doc McStuffins show so these ones that she picked out have been a big hit with her.  I also got some pull-ups to use at nap time and bedtime with disney characters on them as well which she loves and I think the pull-ups are good because they pull them on like underwear and it doesn't confuse them like putting a diaper back on.]

training mats [I bought the package of potty training mats that are actually for dogs because they don't make them for kids but these are so great to have to put on their bed for sleeping so you aren't having to change the sheets twice a day and also put them on the floor in the area of your house where you'll be so that there is less clean up for you.  I put these all over our family room rug and even on the couch in case she sat on it, even though I tried to keep her off all the furniture.  The first day you will definitely need these everywhere, but the next days when there are less accidents you don't need them as much.]

toys [have a stack of books next to the potty for her to read while she's waiting to go and to keep her on the potty longer.  I also pulled out every toy into the main family room where we camped out while potty training and then on the last day I had a prize for her which was a new toy for doing a great job with potty training.  She got so excited about this and it was fun to have something new to play with the next day while at home.]

potty chart with stickers [you don't have to do this, but I think it helps encourage them and make them excited and proud of their accomplishments.  I made a chart on our fridge that Capri put a sticker on every time she went and then she could get a little treat after (like one M&M).  We would cheer for her and tell her how proud we are of her and she would run to get her sticker and put it on the chart.  It was so cute to see her so excited about accomplishing something, then it made her excited when she went on the potty.]


DAY ONE: POTTY TRAINING STARTS! THROW AWAY THEIR DIAPER AND KEEP THEM NAKED, ATLEAST WAIST DOWN.  STAY IN ONE AREA OF YOUR HOUSE AND SET A TIMER FOR EVERY FIVE MINUTES TO PUT THEM ON THE POTTY.

This was seriously one of the hardest parenting days ever for me.  I just think that potty-training is a hard thing no matter what, but I kept telling myself it's now or never so lets get this over with.  Just be prepared for a long hard day that will make you want to quit halfway through, but then all of a sudden something will click for them and you'll be so happy you want to cry.  I actually wanted to cry out of frustration this day and maybe because I'm also super pregnant and uncomfortable anyway that it was a lot to handle but don't worry if there are tears, just stick with it!  The first half of the day we celebrated the start of our "potty party" and got Capri in her new big girl panties with nothing else on and started our camp-out downstairs in the family room with all her toys and shows to entertain us.  After the first few accidents, I decided to keep her naked the rest of the time instead of keep putting new underwear on her like one program had suggested to do and I'm really happy I made that decision.  It was so much easier to tell when she had to go to the bathroom this way and she didn't want to have an accident when she was naked.  So after breakfast, play time, then lunch I was super ready for her nap and so frustrated because I wasn't expecting so many accidents and she wasn't going poop so I was nervous she was holding it in.  But after her nap, it really was a world of difference.  She started going in the potty and did great the rest of the day.  The goal of this day is to keep an eye on your child at all times and first sign that they have to go to the bathroom put them on the toilet right away.  I set a timer for every five minutes and asked her if she had to go potty then put her on the toilet.  And a big tip - don't get angry at accidents, just tell them that we go in the toilet and not on the floor but yelling can make them frustrated and set them back from even wanting to try anymore.  Make sure and celebrate every success of going potty on the toilet - cheer, clap, do a little dance, just let them know how great it is.

DAY TWO:  THE SCHEDULE IS THE SAME AS DAY ONE EXCEPT TRY AND SPEND ONE HOUR OUTSIDE WITHOUT ANY ACCIDENTS.  MAKE THEM GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE YOU GO OUTSIDE SO THEY LEARN THAT WE GO BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE.

This day was a complete difference from day one [maybe because I got more sleep the night before] but I woke up determined to tackle the next day and she did amazing without any accidents and we made it to the park to be outside for one hour in the afternoon as the program suggested.  I couldn't believe that she didn't have an accident at the park, but I brought a change of clothes just in case.  She was also holding it longer in between each time she went to the bathroom which is amazing from day one.  This day I set the timer for 15 minutes instead of five to ask her about going to the potty.  She started going to the bathroom once every hour.

DAY THREE:  KEEP GOING WITH THE PROGRAM EXCEPT TODAY TRY AND SPEND TWO HOURS OUTSIDE WITHOUT ANY ACCIDENTS.  THEY SHOULD BE GOING ON THE POTTY BY THIS DAY.

This day started out a little hard in the morning because she woke up earlier from being wet and didn't make it the potty in time but the rest of the morning she did great without any accidents and was going to the bathroom once every hour.  I set the timer for 20 minutes to ask her about going to the potty, but the main thing is watching them closely for signs of having to go.  After her nap, I waited until she went to the bathroom again before heading out to the park and this time our goal was to be gone for two hours outside of the house.  We met our friends at the park and we didn't have the best results.  Right when we got there, she had an accident in her pants which I quickly changed and then let her keep playing but then she had a much bigger accident.  I was frustrated when we got home but then she did great at home the rest of the day and was even going poop on her potty by herself great.  She also went on the big toilet in our bathroom this day which was great because I knew she could go in public restrooms.

The rest of the week we stayed at home and ventured outside more everyday and she really has done so great with hardly any accidents.  I just keep asking her lots of times at public places if she has to use the restroom and usually if I can get her to go right when we get there then I feel a little more relaxed the rest of the time.  It's really amazing how fast they can learn.  I know that it will take a little bit longer to get her potty trained during the night, but that's a completely different thing than the daytime.  I was really glad we kicked off potty training with the intense three-days and I really think it worked great for us.  If you are wanting to try it, then be prepared for some hard days and just go for it - don't give up!  We still try and let her be naked at home when we are there and keep her little potty close by, but I always put her underwear on when we leave the house.  Hope this helps any of you going through the same stages with your own little one!