A few tips and tricks to help potty training go smoother.

Teaching your child(ren) to use the potty can be a challenging task to say the least but with patience and persistence, you can be quite successful sooner than you might think. So long as your child is somewhat co-operative, understands the potty and what it’s for and has bladder control, it should make things a lot easier.

With my daughter, at the age of three and a half, she was finally out of diapers and not once has she had an accident while sleeping. She did, however, have one in the middle of Walmart one day – but that was the first and last. One day I brought home some Elsa and Anna underwear and said;

“Now look, these are underwear and not diapers. You cannot pee or poo in these – you don’t want to pee or poo on Elsa, do you?” She responded with a no and the rest is history.

With my son now at the age of 3, its time to start him on the potty training. I had heard that with boys, it takes a bit longer. Though he is physically able to, I am finding that he just doesn’t want to. I am constantly asking him if he has to pee yet keeping him in his pull-ups. I ask him to sit on the potty here and there, clothed and diapered, just to get him used to it. So he now knows what it’s for. Perfect!

I figured I would try and use the same tactic that I pulled on Kinsley but this time, with Thomas the Train underwear as he loved Thomas. I put them on and say,

“Now look, these are underwear and not diapers. You cannot pee or poo in these – you don’t want to pee on Thomas, do you?”

“Yes.” He tells me. So I tell him a few more times that he has to tell me if he needs to go pee on the potty.

Throughout the day I would ask him every 30 minutes or so, if he needed to use the potty. It was always answered with a NO. One time I had reminded him that he needed to tell me if he had to pee so I could put him on the potty.

“Uhhhh no. Oh, oh, I mean yes.” Great! He totally understood.

He ended up peeing on the carpet shortly after that and then again 30 minutes later on the floor. Clearly my approach is not working. After doing some research online and chatting with a few people who have experienced potty training with boys, I realized this might not be as easy as I thought. I once put him on the toilet and couldn’t figure out for the life of me, how I was suppose to get his penis to point down. At first I was trying to maneuver his penis down by having him push it down then I would squeeze his legs against it so it would stay. Let’s just say that didn’t work! 😀

** Tip! If you are training boys, have them sit as far back on the potty as possible to allow it to hang downwards therefore allowing the urine to fall into the toilet and not on you or the wall.

Imitation: As children often learn by imitation, (if you have no privacy in your house), you child will be able to understand that if you have to go to the washroom, this is how you do it. If you do have privacy and don’t have to worry about your kids walking in our your quiet time, try to start showing them books or videos on potty use.

Get the right tools: My daughter was afraid to sit on the toilet with the seat cover for a while after finally being able to use the potty on her own yet my son has no problems sitting on the toilet and actually quite enjoys it. If you decide to go the toilet route initially, be prepared to possibly head out to by a potty to allow them to feel more comfortable and not be anxiety ridden from thinking they might fall in the toilet. A stool is also helping when it comes to the toilet so they can easily get toilet height and have the feet placed on a surface allowing them to stabilize themselves and feeling more comfortable.

Get excited and get creative: If your child is excited about a certain character (eg Lightning McQueen) which is available on a potty, get that and get excited with them about the potty each time. Hype it up as best as possible so your child gets excited to be around it and use it. If you don’t find one with a special character, you can buy one and decorate it how they see fits. Glitter, glue, rocks – whatever! Decorate it so they love it and want to sit on it.

Get on a schedule & create reminders: This can have great impacts on your ability to help train your little on to use the potty. Scheduling a reminder for yourself once every 45 minutes or so to put your child on the potty, whether you know they have to go or not. If they are in daycare or with a babysitter, co-ordinating the strategy with them will make things much easier for you.

Shoot for the fruit loops: When it comes time to train the boys on how to stand up, aim and shoot without getting a pile of urine on the floor, you can make this quite fun. Once they are able to understand the process of holding it to make it into the toilet, throw a fruit loop in the toilet and get them to try and catch the fruit loop with their stream. But note, here is a good chance you’ll get some wee on the seat, especially if the fruit loop stays to the sides of the bowl!

Underwear: Though this might not work for all, having success with this for my daughter but not yet my son, get them some underwear. Though it might take a few accidents, they will soon realize that having underwear on and taking a pee will always make them wet and most kids don’t like that. After a couple times of this they will get the hint and start to realize that the potty is the place to pee.

Get an App: There is a smorgasbord of apps out there that can help you with the training process from helping you keep records or fluid intake, reminders and successes and failures for potty time. Of course there are apps such as Potty Time with Elmo (iTunes) or Potty Training Time (iTunes) that can help your child with that boost of enthusiasm for potty training.

And of course, have patience. Getting frustrated with your kid(s) or yourself will do no one good in the process . Have fun with it, take is slow and you’ll get there eventually.

You can follow me on Instagram @mamaneedstequila to see some potty training adventures that I’m about to go through, too!

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