Is it that time? Having the right “supplies” for potty-training is critical, so we did a survey of Wee moms and dads, and then put together a list of their favorite items, plus some tips and tricks.
*Let them pick out their own underwear to get them excited, or buy some with their favorite characters on it.
*The classic, Hanes-style underwear are the best. They hold up through many washings, and are thin and comfortable. (We’e not a fan of the thicker kinds at Old Navy.)
*Check out these Superhero undies for boys and girls, and these Elmo ones for girls.
Books and Shows
*Reading books (you can never start too early!) is a great way to get kids familiar with the potty steps and getting comfortable with the experience.
*This Elmo potty book is a classic because it makes potty sounds (flushing is often scary). Everyone Poops, Once Upon a Potty and Potty are also favorites.
*It seems that kids have the hardest time with going Number 2. Often, they say “it hurts”. This book might help!
*The Daniel Tiger episode about Prince Tuesday using the potty was big in our house … my daughter still sings the song every time she goes.
Potties, Stools and Soaps
*There are basically two ways to go here, the on-the-floor potty or the ring that fits on your toilet. I would suggest getting both, so see which one your child is most comfortable with.
*This Bjorn floor potty is a hands-down favorite. It comes in many colors, is easy to clean and is the perfect size. Many pediatricians suggest starting with this type of potty, since it’s easiest for kids to go when both feet are planted firmly on the floor.
*Parents also like Bjorn’s potty ring for all the same reasons. I would suggest getting one for each toilet, or at least a combo so that you have each bathroom or floor covered. (We got a combo so that our daughter was used to each type and we eventually phased out the floor potty since you have to clean it, um, manually.)
*If you are going the ring route, you’ll want to get a stool, so they can climb up there themselves, have solid ground below them (see note about floor potty above), and then drag it over to wash their hands themselves. Bumbo makes a great one: It’s the perfect height, easy to clean, light and just $10.
*Fun soaps can help motivate cleanliness. This Mickey Mouse-shaped one from Method smells like lemonade.
Tips and Advice
*Rewards work. So that you aren’t giving rewards every time, do the Potty Chart thing. Stickers for Number 1 and 2, with a certain reward after they’ve reached a certain number. Candy was the only reward that worked in our house (sigh).
*One mom only let her child use the iPad on the toilet, which worked as an incentive.
*All the parents suggested that you let the kids feel like they are in control. Let them pick out their own underwear, let them shop online with you to pick their own potty, etc.
*Despite the number of people who will ask, and the number of times a teacher or sitter may suggest it, do not start training too early. Even if they go at school everyday with their friends, they still might not be ready at home. Don’t fight it, it will eventually click.
*Training in the city comes with its own challenges because of the lack of access to public restrooms. We carried pull-ups for a while and never scolded for using them when we were out.
*The “potty bootcamps” that claim to train your kid in three days didn’t work for us, although I know people who have had success. I think timing (see above) is everything.
*The night thing takes a while … don’t push it or disrupt sleep. Let them sleep in a diaper or pull-up as long as they need to, just make sure they go to the bathroom before bed. Eventually they’ll start waking up dry.