Any parent about to embark on the crazy journey that is potty training a toddler will know that amongst lots of other things, it can be stressful.
But there is hope. There will be an end to the accidents on your favorite rug. There will be a last time that you will have to pack a dirty diaper in a bag and toss it in the bin.
This too shall pass!
It’s something all parents and toddlers have to get through together – so why not make potty training fun?
Yes, fun. It is not only possible, it might even make the battle more bearable. Let’s go through some simple ideas on making potty training fun and easy.
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Introducing the Idea
A good first impression can go a long way with toddlers. The key is to try and introduce the potty as something good, normal, not scary and definitely not a place of pressure. Really, who can pee or poop while under pressure?
‘’Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.’’ – James Baldwin.
How true is that? How many times have you caught your toddler with your lipstick, comb, or moisturizer (the more expensive one of course), using the item exactly as it’s intended to be used, even though you never taught them? So many times.
The same can be applied to using the potty. Truth be told, they have probably already spent a good amount of time with you in the bathroom.
The foundation has been set. Take it to another level by talking to them about it in a positive way. Sing a specific rhyme they like while they are watching you – this will help them associate positivity with using the potty.
Toy potties and dolls or stuffed toys are great for this idea too. Have your toddler play big boy or girl and let them put their favorite toy on the potty. Complete the routine with flushing and hand washing for bonus points.
Fun Potty Training Books and Songs
There are so many great resources out there in this category because they really do work. Toddlers are like little sponges. They soak everything up. We can use this to help talk about potty training with them in a way that is light and fun.
There are a number of great books out there for you to try out; Potty by Leslie Patricelli is pretty popular among parents.
A quick search will also give you results for lots of songs to make potty training fun as well. It is a great way to warm them up to the idea of using the potty in a positive way before the actual event.
Let them Choose
We may sometimes think of toddlers as tiny humans but they have big opinions and minds of their own.
If you think about a day in the life of a toddler, there are plenty of things that they don’t really have control over – like wanting a cookie for dinner.
We as loving parents make the right choices for them and although well intended, it can be the cause of tantrums. It’s probably not fun not getting your way.
Giving toddlers choices gives them back some control and makes whatever job is at hand more fun and easy for them.
You can apply this to potty training too.
Take them shopping with you and let them choose the potty, their new underwear or pull ups and so forth. These little choices can mean the world to your toddler and get them excited to use the potty.
Getting the Right Gear
Toddlers will be toddlers. Little things that add some color or fun will make them happy. You can do this to make potty training fun too. Here’s some things to add to your shopping list when you are about to start on your toilet training crusade.
- Printed toilet paper – lots of parents swear by this. Replace the regular while toilet paper with rolls that have colorful prints or favorite characters on them to get your toddler excited about sitting on the potty to use the toilet paper later.
- Food Coloring – Yes we are about to turn toilet training into a fun science experiment. If it helps get your toddler excited about the process and prevents meltdowns, why not right? Simply add a few drops of food color to the water and have them watch it change color when they pee.
- Magic Potty Sticker – If you have opted for a potty seat you can stick these invisible stickers to the bowl of the potty. When your toddler pees on it, a picture appears! This could be a flower, truck, butterfly and many other options. You can bet your toddler will be more willing to have a go on the potty to see some magic happen.
- Silly sounding timers – Part of getting potty training right is trying to go at regular intervals. Skip the battle by setting silly sounding timers on your phone or alarm and make it a game with your toddler of quickly dashing to the potty or toilet whenever it sounds.
Tuck Some Extra Tricks up your Sleeve
If you feel like you’re hitting a wall; which honestly at some point you are likely to and this is normal, tuck some extra tricks up your sleeves to spruce things up.
- Stickers make everything better – You can give these as rewards for when the potty is used correctly or as building blocks to a bigger surprise. For instance, once they have 5 stickers for using the potty correctly 5 times, surprise them with a small toy, book or show you know they will enjoy. This will keep them excited to stay engaged in the process
- Passing time on the potty – Have a caddy of magazines in your bathroom to flick through while inside? Or keeping yourself occupied with candy crush on your phone? We all do it from time to time and the same can help toddlers stay on the potty a bit longer when they feel fidgety. Some books reserved just for looking at while on the potty is a great place to start.
If you’re going through the struggle that is potty training, let’s repeat; this too shall pass.
Potty training is a massive milestone and requires lots of work from both the parent and the toddler. The good news is, they will get there and you can make the process less stressful for everyone by making it a bit of fun.