There is a great deal of incorrect information out there about potty training. In my years of experience working with over 6,500 families to help them successfully potty train their kiddos, I’ve learned exactly what to do and what NOT to do! I've compiled a list of myths that you can leave in 2022 so that you can start 2023 with a fresh perspective!
Keep in mind, all children are different, and there truly is no perfect one-size-fits-all way to get the job done. However, there are several myths about potty training that are simply not true at all!
Let's get into it!
MYTH #1: You don’t need to think about potty training until your child is at least 2.
Truth: Preparation is one of THE most important steps to success in potty training! You can begin planting the seed by preparing them AND yourself for this big milestone long before they are ready to begin!
Here are 5 THINGS you can start doing RIGHT NOW with your child to make your potty training process easier, no matter their age!
BUY A POTTY
Buy a small floor potty and keep it in your child’s room or in the bathroom. Test it out in between diaper changes or invite your toddler to sit with you while you are using the bathroom yourself. Early low-pressure exposure is key!
CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE ABOUT POOP
Poop often gets a negative connotation which becomes internalized by your kiddo and then the taboo of talking about a normal, healthy life function perpetuates! Instead of referring to a poopy diaper as being dirty or stinky, try to shift it to more positive terms. “Whoa that was a big poop! I bet your belly feels much better now!”.
READ POTTY BOOKS
Books are the best way to introduce new concepts because children tend to be very visual learners. Read books together about using the potty and open the conversation for any questions they have! The earlier they become familiar with the potty, the better! My book, How Do You Poo?, is a great place to start!
CHANGE DIAPERS STANDING UP IN THE BATHROOM
Obviously, this one is for slightly older kiddos, but this is a great way to start connecting those bodily functions to the bathroom. Bonus points for putting any poop from the diaper into the toilet and flushing it away together!
PRACTICE DIAPER-FREE TIME
From minutes after birth, a child remains in diapers for years before potty training begins. To a lot of children, they almost become a security blanket and a portable toilet that can be taken with them wherever they go. So give your child lots of opportunities to go bottomless.
Since I’m so passionate about spreading this info that I wish I'd had when I was a new mama, I’ve decided to put together a FREE workshop to teach you all about these strategies, the science behind them, and even more bonus tips! Mark your calendars for January 17th! Here is the link to register!
MYTH #2: Children are often ready for daytime potty training before nighttime potty training.
Truth: In reality, children are often far more capable of staying dry overnight than we realize. Taking all diapers and Pull-Ups away from day 1 for both daytime and nighttime will add clarity and promote dry days AND dry nights! When we allow our children to have Pull-Ups/diapers sometimes but not always, it can create confusion which can lead to less progress and more accidents.
Here are some helpful nighttime potty training tips:
Do some practice runs. Kids thrive on routine and predictability. Doing some practice runs will help them get more familiar with what might actually go on in the night when they need to go.
After dinnertime, limit fluid intake to no more than 4 oz. This way, there will be less chance of accidents and you’ll be helping to set them up for success!
WAKE UP EARLIER
Wake your child up 15 minutes before they normally wake up and take them to pee right away. Children often release their bladder right as they are waking up. I know it stinks to wake up earlier than usual, but this part of the process is only temporary!
DO THE "DOUBLE VOID"
Have your child pee once at the beginning of their bedtime routine (before bathtime or changing into jammies) and then again right before climbing into bed at night. This way they will be sure to completely empty out their bladder before it is time to actually go to bed!
I know sleep is valuable to us all and I always prioritize that above everything else. But be sure you give the nighttime portion a fair chance before throwing in the towel (or diaper). It can take a bit longer to achieve dry nights, but ultimately, your kiddo is more capable than you might realize!
MYTH #3: Pull-Ups are a helpful tool before introducing underwear.
Truth: Pull-Ups are advertised as a potty training tool but the reality is, they are no different than diapers (yup, I said it!) aside from the fact that you pull them up instead of fastening them on the sides. The absorbent technology is just too good! Kids don’t get the opportunity to feel wet and therefore no actual learning takes place. Save your money and go right from diapers to underwear, with a couple days of being totally bottomless in between. There may be some more mess at first, but overall the process will be much faster!
There is always a learning curve associated with introducing clothing back into the mix after a period of naked or bottomless time during potty training.
Here are several helpful things you can do to ease the transition from diapers to bottomless time to wearing underwear:
Let your child pick out their own underwear at the store
Offer bottomless time for 1-1.5 days before introducing underwear
Buy underwear in one or two sizes too big
Remain consistent and committed to "no more diapers"
Teach your child how to "push" down their underwear and pants - the language we use is important!
Make this transition as fun and positive as possible! Your toddler will likely feed off of your enthusiasm!
MYTH #4: Prompting children regularly during the initial potty training phase is necessary.
Truth: Many potty training techniques involve taking your child to the potty at set time intervals (every 20 to 30 minutes for example) - but this can actually delay the self-initiation process, thereby making your entire potty training journey take much longer. And who wants that?!
Reasons why prompting can hinder potty progress:
Every child needs to pee at different times. Some pee every 30 minutes, whereas others will only need to pee every few hours. Pressuring them to sit at specific time intervals can hinder their ability to learn to read their bladder's needs.
If your child grows reliant on your prompts in order to release their pee and poop, self-initiation will likely be a difficult skill to learn.
Being prompted constantly can welcome resistance, power struggles, and frustration (for you both!).
When it's appropriate to prompt:
Before sleep times
Before you leave the house (if your child hasn't gone in a while)
If you can see that your child obviously needs to pee or poop but they aren't making the move to do so
MYTH #5: Working parents have to take off work in order to successfully potty train their toddlers.
Truth: You don't have to be held hostage by potty training! My method encourages parents to stay home with their children for the first 2 days of potty training and then jump back into their normal routine! (Perfect for a weekend start date!) Kiddos thrive on routine and consistency, so the faster we can get them back into their normal routine the more successful they’ll likely be!
The more you prepare ahead of time, the smoother this milestone will go for both your toddler and yourself!
Children require clear expectations in order to successfully learn the new skill of potty training. When we are committed to sticking the tough moments of potty training out, and when we are consistent with our praises and our consequences, we are more likely to communicate our expectations in a clear and easy-to-understand way for our children.
Because there are SO many different opinions, methods, techniques, and ideas out there about potty training, it can be hard to decipher what's a myth and what's a fact. I've made it my goal to be a resource that provides science and evidence-based information to take these questions away. I was once in your shoes, and I too felt overwhelmed looking at all of the different methods of potty training that the internet had to offer! That’s why I am so passionate about giving you all the truth when it comes to the potty training process!
Happy Pottying! xo
Why trust Potty Training Consultant?
Allison Jandu, Owner & Founder of Potty Training Consultant is a parent who wants the best for her kids, just like you. When she started to potty train her oldest, she was quickly overwhelmed by all the conflicting information available online and was really missing the support and science-based guidance she was after. She didn't think it seemed fair for parents to have to guess their way through potty training - toddlerhood is challenging enough! So, after over 5,000 hours of research on topics relating to potty training, early childhood development, human behavior and psychology, she founded Potty Training Consultant where she has helped thousands of families potty train. She doesn't just provide a place to get that one-on-one expert support, but an entire community where parents can come together without judgment, ask the hard questions, and get evidence-based facts that drive potty success.