Feeling like your child and family are ready to transition your little to using a toilet instead of diapers? Here’s how to potty train a child the low lift (easy!) way! If anyone tells you they have the only way or their way is the best way, don’t buy that.
Kids are different. Different strategies work for each family and kid – this is what worked for us.
It was painless, simple, and I’m happy to share.
Potty Training: start here!
How do I potty train my child? Well, first things first, your child needs to be ready. Ready doesn’t mean they teach themselves, but they need to be willing to head to the potty when the pee starts coming. I still had to go through a process of my kids learning to feel that sensation and get to the toilet. One of my kids caught on FAST, and the other two took more practice.
I had false starts with my oldest boy and my girl twin. I thought they were ready around 2 (because they were curious and liked to sit on the potty), but when I started the process they actually weren’t open to being taken to the potty when the pee was coming. That’s fine!! I dialed back, and we waited until they were open to using the toilet when the pee was coming.
Low Lift Potty Training: golden rules!
- Remember these 4 things:
- use the 3 step process below: bottomless sessions, add undies, add pants
- keep it positive and light (never shame, punish, or blame)
- Kids are ready at different times – encourage and teach, but don’t force it
- know that using the toilet at night is a separate thing and largely genetic (kids may continue wearing pull ups for years – this is totally normal! Ask your doc if you’re worried!)
How to Potty Train: what to do
Step 1: bottomless sessions
When you have stretches of a few hours that you can be at home, let your child hang out and play without bottoms (no underwear or pants).
When they begin peeing, take them quickly to the bathroom to go on the toilet. If your child is very resistant or crying about being taken to the toilet to finish going there, for me that was a sign they were not actually ready and to hold off. The goal is that this shouldn’t be a fight or you having to make your child go on the toilet.
Assuming your child is open to being walked to the bathroom to finish going, take them there and then celebrate them for whatever they get out into the potty! (We loved calling grandparents, dance parties, and lots of clapping!)
Notes on Bottomless Sessions:
Continue bottomless sessions as you’re able (no pants or undies for the child). Your child will begin to learn the feeling of the pee coming – it’s easier for you to catch quickly and easier for them to feel, see, and learn the sensation when they aren’t wearing bottoms.
Try to stay in non carpeted spaces and use carpet cleaner as needed. I did not keep my kids in the bathroom, make them sit on the toilet for extended periods of time, or restrict them to staying in one space – we move around, but generally tried to stay off the carpet as much as possible. When the pee started coming, we’d hustle to get there.
If you have to go out or can’t do the bottomless session all day, that’s FINE! (I was potty training twins and taking care of a 4 year old, so I get it!!) Do sessions when you can. The more often you do this, the more your child will catch on. If you need to put your kid in a diaper to run an errand, it’s ok!! You’re not destroying all of their progress!
Step 2: add underwear
If your child is having success making it to the toilet with bottomless sessions, try adding underwear but no pants. Hang at home with undies only on the bottom. This will still be easier for your child to feel the pee coming than when they have pants on as well.
You can expect there may be more accidents again, and you can always go back to step 1 if they need more time learning these sensations.
Step 3: add pants
If your child is having success making it to the toilet with underwear, begin having them wear bottoms. This can be a tough jump, and remember you can always go back to sessions with steps 1 and 2 as needed.
Still stressing about the question of, “How do I potty train my child?” Here’s why you don’t have to!
Take the pressure off of them and off of you! It’ll happen when it happens, and no one is wearing diapers to college. It’s so much easier on everyone if you can wait until the kiddo is into it.
Also, remember everyone has their stuff. Every kid has strengths and areas that are tough. For some kids potty training comes easy, but they’ve always struggled with sleep. Another child may pick up fine motor skills and language very quickly, but learning to use a toilet is harder.
You’re a great parent. Every kid will have things that come easy and things that are tough. It’s all normal, and they’re doing great.
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Thank you for reading to learn more about how to potty train your child!