How to start potty training – at home

If you’ve kept up to date with our potty training journey so far than you’ll know how we introduced potty training with Jasper and what signs we looked for to know he was ready to go. Now I’m going to tell you how we started potty training at home – the first proper part of our journey.

Once we were happy knowing he was ready, just after he turned 2, we began an easy going approach. Now I will add that we knew this was quite early and although we knew it would be ideal for him to be potty trained before his baby brother arrives (August) we didn’t want to push him into it and would have stopped if we ever thought he wasn’t ready.

We spent the first month going with the flow; not ‘in training’ but following his lead and seeing how he got on. We let him wear his big brothers big boy pants over his nappies or if we were just at home, wearing them alone. We also let him have as much no nappy time as he wanted at home (preferably outside). We kept the potty in close range at all times and encouraged him to sit on it if he was watching tv or if he told us he needed the toilet.

So after about a month of this, a few successful potty goes and a fair few misses; I decided it was time to go for it properly. We didn’t want to do the whole ‘one week of staying at home’ so we just potty trained while in the house and waited till we nailed that before we started potty training out and about. Here’s how we did it:

Nappy off, pants on

Luckily one of the signs that Jasper was ready was him taking his nappy off as soon as he woke up in the morning so this was an easy one to achieve. From the minute he was up he only wore nappies if we left the house and during his nap times and bedtime. We encouraged him to wear pants at home as much as possible (although the nudist in him resisted) and made sure he wore them over his nappy when we went out to keep things consistent.

Potty in every room

As their little bladders are only small I wanted to make it as easy as possible for him so that when he felt the sensation of needing to go, he wouldn’t have to panic trying to find a potty and risk having an accident which could put him off trying.

We went out and bought an extra few potties to add to what we had from his brother, so that we had one on the living room, kitchen, his bedroom and our ensuite as well as a mini seat on the downstairs toilet. This meant wherever he was in the house, he could either find one as soon as he knew he needed to go or he would be more likely to see one whilst playing and be prompted to go.

Of course we had a few misses where he either went on the way or on the side of the potty just as he got to it; and we had a lot of occasions where he’d have an accident while playing but he would then run to the potty after, still understanding the association.

Variety

As I mentioned, we got him a number of potties as I liked to use a variety of different ones each with their pros and cons. We got him standard plain white plastic potties which he can sit on by himself and carry around himself. The only downside is that I have to empty and clean them although he has now started to empty them himself. He also has a seat that goes on the toilet to stop him falling in, this is fab as it means there’s nothing to empty and it’s the closest thing to actually going on the toilet. It means there will be minimal transition from potty to toilet as he’s so used to it; the only downside is he can’t get up by himself so I have to always be there to put him on it and take him off. Now though he uses his little step or holds onto the rail; I still worry though incase he slips or if the seat isn’t on there so I’m always there to supervise.

He also has the Fisher Price Duck Fun 3 in 1 Potty which is slightly higher than his other potties, making it more toilet like. It plays a tune when he goes in it which is a reward in itself; the lid closes to make a step for washing your hands and the inner bit can be taken out to empty and clean. The only downside is that he can’t get the inside bit out too easily and it’s too heavy for him to carry around the house – probably a good thing.

Asking frequently

I probably asked more frequently than necessary but until I knew how regularly he was going I felt I needed to. I asked every 10-15 minutes (if I remembered) and more frequently the longer it had gone without him going.

I would simply ask ‘do you need a wee?’, ‘do you need to go to the toilet’ or ‘do you want to sit on the potty/ducky (name of his potty)?’. Sometimes I’d see in his face or body language that he was about to go and when I asked it prompted him to dash to the potty.

Rewards

We started off using a reward sticker chart that I made. It had rows of 5 spaces and after each successful potty trip he’d get a sticker to fill a space. After 5 stickers he’d get a bag of chocolate buttons. In theory this was a great idea but Jasper has never been into stickers. If I gave him one, no matter how exciting it was, he’d look at it, put it on the chart, then take it off and say ‘put it in the bin?’. To be honest I was glad as I couldn’t expect nursery or my parents to always give him stickers and buttons if he was with them and it could have been expensive if we did it for too long.

In the end verbal praise was enough for Jasper, clapping and high fives; as well as the little tune that his potty played when he did a wee or a poo.

Spares at the ready

I kept a supply of spare pants/trousers and socks downstairs as well as of course in his room; and also had lots of cleaning wipes and sprays around the house ready to clean up any messes quickly. This was not only to avoid stains and smells but so that we could make it a quick ‘no big deal’ process. The worst thing if they’ve had an accident is to make a big deal out of it, shouting at them not to stand in it while you run around frantically trying to find detail spray and they’re left in wet or soiled clothes. I wanted to make it a quick transition of whip off their dirty clothes, pop on some fresh ones, clean up the mess and move on, never mind. I never made Jasper help to clean it because I never wanted him to feel like he was being punished.

Involving Jasper in whole process

After successful potty trips I liked to get Jasper to follow on with emptying the potty into the toilet, putting the lid down, flushing the chain and then cleaning his hands. He loves having little jobs like that to do and especially loves washing his hands (splashing water everywhere) so I figured it was a fun way to teach him what he’ll be doing when he’s properly going to the toilet and also to teach his sequences of tasks and responsibilities.

We didn’t always do this but recently he’s taken himself off to the potty and I’ve head the toilet lid slam up, the wee get poured in, the chain be flushed and the lid slam down. I just need to step in and supervise him washing his hands as even though he has a step, I worry he’ll turn the hot tap on my accident or fall off the step.

After two weeks of this, we could finally say we nailed potty training at home. We had days of no accidents and I was so proud of him I knew it was time to tackle potty train out of the house. Stay tuned for the next part of the series to find out how we got on!

Thanks for reading!
Jess x

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Hi I’m Jess, Single Mum, Accredited Life Coach, NLP Practitioner and Beauty Business owner.

I chat about all thing female empowerment, spirituality and positivity

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