Hello! I am Noelle of Oh Happy Play! I am the wife to an amazing man and mama to two amazing little girls. You can find out more about me HERE. When I was asked to do a guest post for Ashley I couldn’t say yes fast enough! I just love her, as I am sure most of you do as well! I hope you enjoy this piece I have put together for you and please feel free to add any must have gadgets to the bottom of this post. I am always looking for input! Thank you!
5 Steps to Potty Training Independence
One of the most anticipated milestones our toddlers reach is potty training. We as parents dread it but we all know it’s inevitable. There are numerous ways out there and it is all about finding what works best for you. As with all things parenthood, we have to choose the methods that work best for us and go with that. Whichever method you choose one universal benefit you can give your child is to have their bathroom set up so that is 100% accessible to THEM. After all, our ultimate goal IS that they learn how to do all the steps independently. So here are my 5 steps to potty training independence for your toddler.
Step 1: This is more of a mental thing but BE CONSISTENT. Start from day one doing the exact same steps every time they use the potty. Our potty routine is as follows: Potty, Flush, Wash, Dry and be on our way (Thank you, Daniel Tiger). Even if they have an accident, bring them to the toilet and proceed with the exact same steps as if they had used the potty. Consistency is KEY.
NOW, the making the bathroom accessible part are my following 4 steps. I have a Montessori mind-set and that didn’t change when it came time for this next learning phase for my daughter. The Montessori Method stresses independence and that all things the child needs are accessible and at their level. I was determined to make this bathroom accessible to my daughter. I wanted her to be able to conquer every step of the way on her own. It was evident after the first day that I had succeeded at doing so and the sense of pride she felt in her new found independence certainly showed on every part of her face. Our experience all of a sudden became joyful because she wasn’t just being brought through the steps she was actually partaking in them. I think this kind of learning is going to be perfect for her so we’re thinking of applying to a local Primary Montessori Day School. I’ve heard great things about the kind of children a learning environment like this can produce. Here are the steps we used for potty training:
Step 2: The kid toilet! As with all things kid related I like to give my daughter options. This way she feels like it is HER choice and it cuts down on any power struggle that may get in the way of the actual task at hand. So for this we actually bought two options. We bought a little kids toilet by Summer Infant AND a seat attachment like this for our toilet. She learned how to use both and was able to choose which she wanted when the time came. She was too busy choosing which one she wanted that she didn’t have time to fuss about the actual going to the potty part. That was actually a huge win for us and we still use that tactic to this day!
Step 3: A step stool. We have this Kid Kraft Stool and love it. I put little felt pads on the bottom so she can push it around to the toilet or the sink and it seems to be working out great. This step stool is kind of the crux of the independence because this is what gives them the access to most all of the steps.
Step 4: Sink Attachments- The most important part of learning the whole potty process is making sure they stay sanitary in the process. Teaching them to wash their hands, as a part of the whole learning experience is so important. The goal is you want them to be able to do this step whether you are there with them or not. These two gadgets I came across accomplish just that. The sink handle extender allows them to turn on the water themselves and the faucet extender allows the water to reach to their tiny little arms/hands. Keep soap close by and they can do this ALL on their own. You can find these exact ones shown here:
Step 5: Accidents happen. To this day accidents happen. They are certainly less frequent these days but they are inevitable. For this reason I like to keep some clean underwear in the bathroom. This way my daughter doesn’t have to feel the shame of leaving the bathroom naked in search of clean underwear. They are right there for her to grab and her hamper for the dirty ones are right outside the door. The worst thing you can do is get frustrated at your toddler for having an accident. At the end of the day this is a newly learned skill and it WILL take time. So try and stay positive and encouraging. By giving them the tools to do this independently they will be more apt to go along with it.
And that’s it! I am a firm believer that teaching your children through independence is far more effective than teaching through rewards. Give them the tools to succeed and they will! You can find out more about the beginning of our potty training experience HERE and you will see that we used this method from day one. Good luck on your child’s potty training journey and I hope this helped you in any way!