Potty Training Schedule: A Complete Guide
Did you know that, on average, children use around 7,000 diapers before potty training? You probably weren't keeping count. Still, if you're a parent, you'll know it feels like you go through a million.
When your child starts showing tell-tale signs of being ready to try potty training, it can be exciting. As you think of how you'll begin to teach them about using the toilet, you'll probably want to be as prepared as you can be to ensure more success.
Today, we'll talk about the steps you can take to potty train your child in a week. Before we get into the schedule, let's talk about why it's a good idea to go by a schedule and how you can get ready before you begin.
Why Is it Important To Have a Schedule?
You might be thinking to yourself, “I didn't have a schedule when I was potty training my first two children.” That might be true because every child learns somewhat differently according to their parents' methods and their own interest in using a toilet.
If you didn't use a schedule before, it's still a good idea for several reasons.
It Can Make the Process Smoother
First, it can help you to set up expectations for yourself and your child. Rather than trying to find teachable moments to show your little one the process of using the toilet, having a designated schedule can help you to get the process done more quickly and efficiently.
It Frees You Up To Get Back To Playtime
Another reason a schedule can benefit you is that it allows you to free up some mental space in the big picture. If you attempt to potty train your little one over the span of months, you may find yourself in a continual cycle of trying to potty train them and giving up.
Committing to the process for a week can help you get back to playing and enjoying your time with your little one.
Steps To Take Before You Begin
Having a schedule to go by can help you to feel organized and prepared for the adventure ahead.
Before you begin, let's talk about a few steps you may want to take.
1. Ensure Your Little One Is Ready by Looking for Signs
While every child is different, most children are ready to start using the potty around 22-24 months old. One of the most significant signs of being ready is recognition or consciousness about their pee and poop.
Here are a few more signs they may be ready to begin this new phase:
- They let you know when they need you to change them and begin to express discomfort over dirty diapers.
- They start letting you know when they're peeing or having a bowel movement with their words.
- They're starting to be able to control their bodies a bit more by staying dry for one to two hours during naptime and playtime.
- They've let you know they want to start wearing big kid underpants instead of a diaper.
- They display an ability to follow simple instructions like putting on shoes or cleaning up toys.
2. Get in a Groove Before You Begin
What does your family's typical routine look like at the moment? Potty training is most successful when your family has predictable routines and a mostly stress-free environment.
Stress can make potty training more complicated than it has to be. For that reason, if you've recently been through a move or another significant life event, you may want to wait until a more stable time to begin potty training.
3. Make Potty Talk a Regular Occurence
One of the worst ways to attempt potty training is to surprise your child with their new potty schedule out of the blue one day. To effectively start your bathroom schedule, start talking to your little one about what you'll be doing in advance.
Tell them they'll be sitting on the potty to go just like their siblings and parents. Talk about how dirty diapers feel. Discuss big kid underpants and peeing in the toilet. The more toilet talks you have before beginning, the more your child can prepare for the action.
4. Make Sure You've Got a Suitable Potty
This tip might go without saying, but you probably don't want to attempt to start your child off with potty training on an adult toilet. When your little one begins using the bathroom instead of a diaper, having a toilet their size is crucial. Find one that has a good splash guard for little boys and a comfortable seat.
If you don't have a toilet their size, you can adapt your adult toilet to fit them. Try purchasing a squishy kids' toilet seat that can sit on top of the regular toilet lid.
5. Find the Right Place for Your Potty-Training Journey
If you opt for a child-size potty to train with, its location is another essential factor. A good idea for choosing a placement is to keep the miniature toilet somewhere where your little one can get to it quickly and see it often.
Having the toilet in a location other than a bathroom can be especially helpful if your little one is afraid of sitting on the toilet or refuses to go in the bathroom.
6. Make Sure This Potty Is Easy to Reach and Easy To See
Whenever you begin your potty training schedule, you'll have to be the one on top of helping them get used to going often. However, your child may surprise you and begin to go on their own. They'll likely do this if their toilet is easy to see and accessible.
7. Let Your Little One Get Acquainted Before You Begin
Kids love learning about things. Rather than throwing your little one straight into the process of potty training, introduce their new seat or tiny potty a few days early.
Explain what each part is for and what they'll do when they sit on it. You may even consider using a doll to demonstrate the coming training week that your child will experience.
8. Start Teaching Hygiene Early
As you help your little one explore their toilet for the first time, teach them about all the steps to using the potty. From the very beginning, be sure to include washing and drying hands in your exploration of these objects and actions. Teaching them hygiene at an early age can ensure that it sticks with them as they grow.
9. Encourage Them Along the Way
Let your child know you're proud of them for each small accomplishment from the very beginning phases of exploration until they're using the toilet on their own. As you encourage them, you may consider developing a rewards system for each time they go to the bathroom in their potty.
Perhaps that looks like a sticker. It might look more like a small toy. Come up with something that will make them feel happy to accomplish something.
10. Lead by Example
One way that kids learn best is by watching their parents. When you're about to begin your potty training schedule, and you're talking about pottying, try telling them whenever you need to go to the bathroom. Appropriately displaying this act can help your child grasp the concept more quickly.
11. Make it Fun by Letting Them Pick Out Big Kid Undies
This tip is handy if your little one has older siblings. When you're trying to get them to see the benefit of going to the bathroom on their own, you can help persuade them by letting them pick out their big kid undies. Having their own underwear can help them to feel confident in this new stage.
The Potty Training Schedule
Now that we've covered a few tips for how to kick off potty training the right way, let's talk about the schedule. As always, do what's appropriate for your family.
This schedule may help give you an idea of a fast-tracked way to help your little one get rid of the diapers and start using the bathroom like a big kid.
Day 1: Ditch the Diapers
On the first day of potty training, you'll have your work cut out for you. However, if you spent the week prior preparing your child for the new adventure, you may find that you have an easier time getting right into the swing of things.
On this first day, you'll want to ditch the diapers altogether. Start by waking your child up and letting them know that they get to wear big kid underwear today. Then, together, throw away their diapers so they know that they're all gone.
Feed your child snacks that will make them thirsty, and then offer them plenty of water and juice to quench their thirst. Every hour on the hour, take your little one to sit on the potty for a few minutes.
They might not be able to go right away, so patience is essential. Repeat this cycle for the rest of the day to begin associating drinking and eating with making trips to the bathroom.
2: Prepare for Messes
On the second day, you'll want to prepare yourself for the accidents that may take place. While your little one may forget to make it to the potty and have an accident, it's crucial to keep their underpants on and not switch back to diapers.
Help them associate the feeling of being wet or dirty in their underwear with discomfort. You don't want to make your kid feel ashamed, but you do want to help them realize that going in their underwear is uncomfortable. When they stay dry through naps, celebrate with them! When they have an accident, encourage them to make it to the bathroom next time.
Day 3-4: Keep Up the Good Work
On days three and four, remember to keep your spirits high. As accidents continue to happen here and there, keep celebrating the small wins and educating your little one throughout the day. If they poop in their underwear, you can have them watch you empty their poop from their underwear into the toilet, so they realize that's where it goes.
Day 5-6: Stay Consistent
Make sure that throughout each day, you're continuing the cycle of offering snacks, plenty of liquid and taking them to the potty every hour. With this method, your little one will begin adjusting to this new sequence on their own here and there.
Remember that you're almost to the home stretch. Keep the faith and keep celebrating your child's success where you can.
Day 7: Leave the House
Day seven is exciting! After six full days of non-stop potty training, you'll be ready to take your child on their first outing without their diapers. Ensure you take them to use the bathroom before they get in the car.
Continue asking your little one if they need to go to the restroom every hour, and don't make the trip too long. If your child goes the entire time without an accident, praise them for their hard work. Talk to them about how grown-up people and big kids use public potties when they feel the need to go.
A Tip for Making the Process Smoother
Potty training isn't for the faint of heart. Getting through this week takes courage and determination. When you're in the middle of this process, try to limit your distractions.
Although it's difficult with other kids and technology, keeping your focus on the mission can help you notice your child's potty cues and ensure more success.
Pick Out the Best Kid's Briefs for Your Potty Trained Child
When the week is up, you deserve to give yourself and your child a pat on the back. One way you can celebrate their success is by letting them choose a pack of underwear they can wear every day as they stay dry and use the restroom independently.
At Mallary by Matthew, we have the perfect pairs in mind. Our kids' cotton briefs are available in multiple colors and last wash after wash. When your little one picks out the colors and patterns they love most from our collection, they'll find a new joy in getting dressed for the day.
Congratulate Yourselves on a Job Well-Done
If you've made it through this week, give yourself a round of applause. It isn't easy to make it through a whole week of cleaning up messes and staying on track. As you prepare for the months ahead, know that stocking up on durable, soft, easy-to-wash underwear for your little one is essential.
At Mallary by Matthew, we've got what you need to transition into the new era of big kid underwear.