Potty Training During Quarantine

“Alright, we’re stuck at home, we’ve been potty training TOO LONG now. We’re buckling down and getting this done!”

How many parents out there have said this to themselves during this quarantine? My daughter is 2 1/2 and we are currently trying to potty train. There is so much pressure to have your child potty train early (or accomplish anything early for that matter) to show off how ahead of the curve they are (I mean who doesn’t like to brag about their kid being great?) I know so many moms who have successfully potty trained their children by 2 years old. But the reality is, a child can be ready to potty train anywhere from 18-months to 4 years old (yes, you read that right, I said 4 years old). I want to share some insight on a few methods I have been using that have helped my child feel comfortable while potty training so far. We’re not there yet, but with time and patience, I know my daughter will get there with my help, when she is ready. I hope you find them helpful as well:

1. Make the potty a positive environment. Your child will be spending a lot of time on the potty while potty training, so make it a place they want to be. Read a book with them, do finger plays, sing a song; whatever your child enjoys doing (while sitting) do it with them to pass the time.

2. Introduce the potty before trying to potty train. One thing I learned from a friend that I’m glad we did was introduce the potty early. When my daughter was around 15 months old, give or take, I started putting her potty seat on the toilet, and let her sit there and read a story every night while the bath tub filled up. It was scary at first as you can imagine, but with encouraging words and distraction with a book, my daughter quickly got used to this new normal. Eventually they will go on the potty by accident; it might scare them, so praise them for going!

3. Have a reward system in place. Every child is different, therefore, every child’s motivator is going to be different. Starting out, every time my child sat on the potty, I gave her a mini marshmallow. If she went potty (even if by accident) I gave her a second marshmallow. After a while marshmallows lost their luster and we switched to M&Ms. My daughter likes this even more because she gets to pick out what color M&M she gets! My recommendation for a reward is make it something your child does not have access to all the time. If your child is allowed M&Ms and marshmallows on a regular basis, that isn’t going to motivate them to sit and/or use the potty. If you’re child is old enough (I personally recommend closer to 3yrs.) try a sticker reward chart as well!

4. Make your child a part of the process. Let your child choose their reward. Let them choose their pull ups at the store. If you’re buying a potty seat for your toilet, or a smaller training toilet, let them help you pick it out. If they feel a part of the process, they’ll have a sense of independence and want to continue to be a part of it.

5. Have patience. My biggest take away from potty training has been to be patient. Sure, this is taking longer than I thought, and I still get frustrated sometimes. But I can’t force something on my child that she isn’t ready for. I’m learning slowly to follow her lead.

6. Remember you’re doing great!