Our sweet little Lucy will be seventeen months old in a few short days, and the changes that have happened in the past few months are huge. She brushes her own teeth (and spits - hilarious!), climbs up into the high chair on her own, is a master communicator, and she has OPINIONS. She's super adventurous and very interested in doing everything that her big sister does, including using the potty.
[Case in point: scrambling eggs (burner off) and trying to literally follow in her sister's footsteps]
Back when we potty trained Violet, our babysitter pretty much did it for us, and I wrote about our experience here. Seventeen months feels SUPER early to me and I'm sooo not feeling ready for all of this, but the girl wants to use the potty and there's really no stopping her. We did start potty-training at about a year and a half with Violet (at the suggestion of her sitter - if it was up to me who knows how long we would have waited!), so even though it seems really early for Lucy to be using the potty, I guess we're really not too far off.
Because I had someone else at the helm with Violet, I just followed her lead and didn't have to really look up any information or stress about a specific "technique". I trusted our babysitter (at the time she had four children of her own - enough said!) and didn't really have an opinion about how I wanted potty training to go. This time around I was feeling a little bit uneasy (okay terrified) about handling the whole thing on my own.
So with a bit of experience under our belts, we're following Lucy's lead and jumping headfirst into our second potty training adventure. Here are five of our top tips:
1. Wait until your little one shows interest in potty training
Not that I'm saying that you should have a ten-year-old in diapers because he hasn't shown interest yet, but if at all possible, wait until your little one seems ready. Having your kid on board is half the battle. If they're not interested, feeling afraid, or generally feeling negative about using the potty, it's going to be an uphill battle. Every kid is different and while some may be ready at eighteen months, another may not be interested until he's two or three, and that's okay.
2. Don't be afraid to start young
If number one is happening, and your little one is showing interest in potty training, but you're thinking to yourself, "Noooo, they're too young!" I say go for it. Even if you're not doing serious down and dirty boot camp style potty training, getting familiar with the potty from the get-go can prevent your little one from fearing it at a later stage.
3. Get the right equipment
Do your research and find the right potty training gear for your family. We've tried a bunch of different things and for us our favorite items a smaller potty seat that is connected to your regular toilet seat like this one, and this step stool.
4. Keep it positive & fun
There will be accidents, but we've never treated them negatively. Just cleaned up the mess and moved on. (Which is way easier when you have mostly wood floors and not carpet by the way!) Of course, using Pull-Ups makes messes much less frequent, but make peace with the fact that a few puddles are most likely in your future.
Now the successes? Those we celebrate! So far Lucy has sat on the potty about a dozen times and has peed once. Every time we tell her what a "big girl" she is and smile, clap, and just generally try to make it a really fun event.
5. Be patient and flexible
For most kids, potty training isn't going to happen in a few days, especially if they are on the younger side like Lucy. You have to be in it for the long haul and be flexible. If Lucy stops asking to go and isn't showing interest in the potty, while I'll still try to continue with what we're doing, I'm not going to force her to sit on the toilet.
I'm also not above rewards if your child is old enough to understand it. Sometime after Violet hit age two, she started to be a little anti-potty, so we did come up with a reward system for trying on the potty. It totally worked and eventually we eased away from it as she got used to the potty being a normal every day thing. While I think Lucy is a little young for that, if we run into similar issues as she gets older, I'll probably try the same thing.