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5 Tips for Making Potty Training a Positive Experience {+ a Giveaway!}


The words “potty training” have always filled me with dread and turned my anxiety up a few notches. There’s just so much pressure for all of the parties involved. From those “helpful” moms who casually offer to give you some pointers because their kids have been trained since they could walk or the start of school sitting out there on the horizon like an unpredictable storm you’re unprepared to handle, it’s stressful. And if you think that tiny little human at the center of it all isn’t picking up on that stress, you’re crazy.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that I have all of the answers. My oldest daughter decided she was going on the potty one day and that was it. It was like someone had flicked a light switch. Almost no accidents, no wetting the bed, smooth sailing. My youngest daughter? Let’s just say she turned five recently and still needs to be reminded to go to the bathroom. Often. And she’ll be in her Pampers Easy Ups at night for the foreseeable future.

That said, I have definitely learned some things along the way that (I hope!) can help other mommas who are just starting the potty training journey—without the stress of feeling judged.

Here are my top 5 potty training tips, backed by Dr. Laura Jana, a potty training expert:

Don’t start before they’re ready

It’s so easy to ignore this one. Your friend’s kids are doing it. That parenting book you just read said they should be ready. But guess what? You know your kid better than your friend or the author of that book. And if your kid isn’t ready, you’re not going to get anywhere. You might need an extra glass of wine every night, but you’ll just be banging your head against the wall when it comes to potty training.

Dr. Jana says that most children will give you signs that they’re ready. “These signs of readiness typically include using their words to express themselves, toddling their own way to the bathroom, pulling down their own pants, saying they want to use the ‘big potty,’ and being aware of the sensation of peeing or pooping,” she explains. If they’re not showing any signs, do your whole family a favor and wait.

Remember that they’re learning

This is another tough one. Accidents can be so frustrating, especially when you’re at a point where you feel like they should know better. But getting angry or yelling won’t help. In fact, it might just cause them to have anxiety around the whole issue and push them further away from being fully trained.

Dr. Jana reminds us that “Learning how to use the potty takes plenty of time and patience. It’s more than just training; it is a learning opportunity for toddlers and parents alike.” While toddlers are learning how to use their bodies, we’re learning what methods help them master new tasks best. It’s ridiculously difficult to keep thinking about it this way when you’re wiping up the sixth puddle of pee in one day, but reframing it as a learning experience can make it seem less like they’re at fault and make you more willing to approach it as if they’re learning to ride a bike and need to get back at it and try again.

A timer is your best friend

When we were getting closer to having my youngest fully trained, I cleared the day, put her in some Easy Ups and set the timer on my phone for every half hour. She didn’t go every time, but it was a good reminder for her to stop what she was doing and see if she felt like she had to go. The Easy Ups are similar to underpants (right down to the characters printed on them!) and she enjoyed the independence of being able to pull them up and down herself. Diapers were much less appealing after she had tasted that little bit of freedom. And I loved it because, unlike underwear, they contained the mess while letting her have that Big Girl feeling.

Try to make it fun

This was also really important with my youngest. When she made it to the potty in time we had a dance party. We would also take books into the bathroom with us to read while she tried to go. These things made her less anxious about the toilet and more excited to try.

Rewards work

Lastly, bribery was my best friend. Between the dance parties (which she loved), a sticker chart above her bed that she could add to every time she made it, and a treat of three M&Ms when she was successful, girlfriend was living the life.

For more potty training tips (from a real expert!), join @Pampers on April 28 from 9-10pm EST as they host a Twitter party with Dr. Laura Jana, pediatrician, award-winning parenting book author and potty training expert who co-authored It’s You and Me Against the Pee…and the Poop, Too! Dr. Jana will share her tips to help simplify and improve the potty training experience for little ones and their parents. RSVP here:

Pampers is also giving away a #PampersEasyUps prize package to one lucky Glamamom reader! The winner will receive a $25 AMEX Gift Card, Pampers wipes, and Pampers Easy Ups. Just leave a message in the comments with your number one potty training tip. US only and you must be 18 or older. We'll choose a winner on May 2nd. Good luck!

Pampers Easy Up image

This post and giveaway were made possible byiConnect and Pampers. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.