My husband and I spent the recent holiday break potty training our 2-year-old son, what we’ve affectionately termed Hell Week 2022. He’d been showing developmental signs of readiness for a while now, such as being able to communicate more clearly, showing interest in the toilet when we use the restroom, and announcing when he dirtied his diaper. So we decided that we’d use our breaks from work as an opportunity to introduce him to the potty. But let’s just say we did not have a relaxing at-home vacation.
I’m the type of mom who needs to feel over-prepared in every new situation, so I took a potty training course, printed helpful materials, and purchased various products before beginning. I knew that our strong-willed little boy would need plenty of prep and patience from our end if we were going to take this step, especially since he has historically struggled with major life changes. I’d expected he would be resistant, but man, I was not prepared for his level of willpower. It’s been an eye-opening experience, to say the least.
On the bright side, I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge on how to adequately brace yourself for what lies ahead in this process. So let’s dive into our must-have potty training tips and products.
Make Potty Time Fun
Once you’ve purchased your little one’s potty (I recommend one like this with easy-to-grip handles because you will be moving it nonstop!), put together a potty basket with engaging toys. We all know toddlers are notorious for their short attention spans, so it’s essential to have an array of items that can keep them seated for long periods of time. We received our perfectly-timed KiwiCo Panda Crate a few weeks before starting, which has the ideal toys for keeping littles engaged.
KiwiCo has subscription boxes for every age and stage with products tailor-made for your kiddo’s specific developmental needs. All of KiwiCo’s toys are designed by experts and STEM/STEAM-inspired to provide an immersive experience. Each KiwiCo crate has a purposeful theme and will surely keep those little minds engrossed for hours at a time. Our son spent most of his designated potty time using the beanbag shape toss, lacing beads, and peg puzzle.
KiwiCo has crate subscription options for littles from the newborn stage to age 100 with their two older lines starting at age 14. The Panda and Koala Crates are best for babies & toddlers, and promote hands-on fun and learning. Use code EVERYMOM to get 50% off your first month!
KiwiCo has crate subscription options for littles from the newborn stage to age 100 with their two older lines starting at age 14. The Panda and Koala Crates are best for babies & toddlers, and promote hands-on fun and learning.
Use code EVERYMOM to get 50% off your first month!
Read Potty-Themed Books
We started reading potty-themed books right after our son turned 2 years old and purchased a couple more right before we began training. They have been very helpful in making him understand his bodily functions and the actions of using the potty. We also keep these in his potty basket for a simple, easy-reach way to relax him while he’s sitting. Here are our favorite potty reads:
Be Prepared for Accidents
Accidents are unavoidable during potty training—there’s really just no way around it. But the best way to not freak out every time they happen is by keeping all your cleaning products together in a mobile caddy. It’ll make cleanup way simpler when everything is easily accessible in a designated spot. We also moved our main rugs to the garage to avoid having to remove stains until he gets the hang of it.
Stock Up on Undies of All Kinds
Even if you do the naked method for your first few days of potty training, your kid won’t be pants-less forever (though it sure feels like it in the moment). Let them help pick out undies with their favorite characters so they get more excited about the whole endeavor. Also, purchase a couple packs of training pants (aka Pull-Ups) because even if you choose to skip that phase for daytime potty training, they’ll still need them for nights in the meantime. Once they’re fully potty trained during the day, then you can tackle nights.
When in Doubt, Get Creative
Even though teaching your little one to use the potty is a natural part of the toddler stage, it can still feel very scary to them. They’ve been using diapers their entire life, and having to go through this huge change can be very difficult for them. I know it has been for our son. He’s tried to resist every step of the way, so we’ve had to get very creative with our methods. I knew I didn’t want to resort to bribery, so we’ve developed other ways to get him excited about his potty. We keep bubbles, sprinkles, and stickers in his potty basket so he can use all these special things while he’s seated or after he’s successfully used the potty.
However, I’d like to add that no matter how much you prepare yourself and your toddler for this new change, you can’t force another human being to do something they simply don’t want to. And this doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you or your child. Potty training is stressful enough as is; let’s not put any more additional pressure on ourselves for something our kids will eventually learn. So take a breath, mama, because they won’t be in diapers forever—we promise!
This post was in partnership with KiwiCo but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.