Potty training can be very challenging for the child and the parent. Before you start get an extra helping of patience and humor. You will need it and it will help the time go by much easier.
I have to go down memory lane to remember potty training for my children. My son was the easiest and so I will focus on him. My son was 13 months old when I found out that I was pregnant with twins. It was at that point that I decided on a goal to potty train him before the girls were born. My brain was filled with a number of ideas. I began to collect suggestions from friends, family and coworkers. I also decided to read books and blogs. One thing stood out, which was to help the child first understand what pee is. What a novel idea!
I loaded my child up with water and juices in his favorite sippy cup. Then, I let him run around the kitchen without his diaper. Fortunately, we had hardwood floors so that when he peed I could show him exactly what it was. I'd say that's pee pee, then he'd say "pee pee." Now, this was not an open invitation to pee all day. I was also documenting how long it took for him to pee after he drunk liquids. After the third time of him having a party on my floor, I told him pee pee goes in the potty. Each time he had an accident I would say pee pee goes in the potty. Once I had a good estimate of his schedule, I would place him on his decked out potty that made an incredible sound when he peed so that we both knew when it happened. After he peed in the potty the first time, we celebrated and danced. You can tell I was a new mother because I thought it was over and that my son understood what to do. W-R-O-N-G... A couple of hours later he peed in his pull up.
Confused, I called my little sister and asked her what could I do to reinforce my son peeing in the potty. She told me to reward him. My son was rewarded with candy and a song each time he peed in the potty and that was the trick. It only took a few days for it to become a habit because he loves candy. Of course, there were a couple of accidents here and there if he was extremely distracted with playing or watching a movie. Part 1 for day time potty training was concluded.
The next most critical part is night time potty training. This stage was the most draining and took a couple months. In order to get a solid list of best practices, I called my closest family members. My cousin gave the best advice. She told me to cut my son off from liquids two hours before he went to sleep. In addition, I need to find out when he takes his morning pee in his pull up so that I can put him on the potty before this happens. You can imagine the struggle between my son and I over this. His dad and I often let him go to sleep with a warm cup of milk. It's like going to sleep with your favorite stuffed animal and then having the person you love the most strip it away from you. We experienced many nights of crying. I even tried to replace that "experience" with a bedtime story. Once the story time became a habit, he peed in the potty and then went to sleep peacefully. Next, I needed to find out the right time for the "wake up potty time." I would wake up at 6 am however, by the time I checked my son he had already peed in the pull up. Then, I tried waking up at 5 am, but that didn't work either. The sweet spot was 4:30 am. It took a few months to get him used to this because every time he spent the night with relatives they would put a pull up on him at night. This would reset the entire process and set us back a week. Finally, I decided for one month that he could not spend night with anyone! Part 2 for night time potty training was concluded.
I successfully potty trained by son before my girls were born. We met our goal and you can too!