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Potty Training

Is your little one ready to start potty training? Huggies has you covered! We’ll help you determine how ready your child is, find the right supplies and tools, and provide fun activity suggestions to make your training routine a success. Check out the

Let's Start Potty Training

Congratulations! Your little one knows when she has to go potty, her diapers are staying dry and she's showing other classic signs of potty training readiness. Chances are, you're good to go.

So now what? Well, before you officially begin potty training, make sure that you are ready to take on the challenge, too. It does require a commitment, because you'll probably need about six weeks just to complete basic toilet training.

Here are some tips that will help when you decide to get started.

Pick a potty

This may sound like an obvious first step, but a little planning ahead before buying goes a long way. Getting your little one involved in the purchase of her potty can help build excitement and encourage her interest in toilet training. Make time to go shopping together and let her help you select the perfect one.

Play potty

That's right, play with the potty. It will help your child feel comfortable and proud that she has a potty that's all her own. Let her put it wherever she wants to (really, it doesn't have to be in the bathroom) and encourage her to sit on it with her clothes on to start. You can add more fun to the experience by having her potty train her favorite doll or stuffed animal.

Praise her

Learning to go potty like the big kids isn't easy. Your little one needs your support and encouragement to keep her going. Praise her interest in sitting on the potty even if she doesn't poop, pee or take off her diaper. When she has an accident (it happens), remain positive by letting her know that it's okay and she can try again next time.

Try an incentive

What's best? That depends on the child. Maybe a potty training sticker chart featuring her favorite cartoon character will work. If that doesn't do it, offer playtime at the park or an extra treat. It might take a little experimenting to figure out what appeals most to your little one, but in the end she'll feel happy knowing that she's making progress and her efforts are being recognized.

Skip the punishment

Is that another puddle of pee in the family room? Take a deep breath and avoid punishing your toddler for inevitable accidents. Being negative won't help her learn any quicker and will likely have the opposite effect. Some research even suggests that using punishment techniques when potty training could mean a greater risk of incontinence and urinary tract infections for your little one-not good!

Reward her success

Has your child been using the potty properly for one week or more? If so, she's probably ready to try training pants or cotton underwear. You can let her pick out her favorite styles at the store as a reward for all her efforts. Remember, bowel control and nighttime dryness will definitely take several more months or even years for her to master. But that doesn't diminish her accomplishment. Learning how to use the potty successfully is a milestone that is worthy of celebration.

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Black and white picture of girl and boy playing

What Surprised Me Most About Potty Training My Son

When it came time to potty train my son, I was ready.

Prepared.

Armed with the knowledge passed down from generation to generation, mother to mother, parent to parent. And what was the vital knowledge, you ask?

I’m sure you’ve heard it before—that potty training boys will be so much harder.

Boys won’t be ready for a while, they told me. Boys are awful to potty train, they said. Don’t even think about potty training for a while, they reiterated.

I was not disappointed by the advice from other mothers. “Boys are hard and don’t want to learn,” one mother commented. “Girls are easy and want to learn and basically self potty train. The best tip I got about potty training my son was to wait — don’t try it too early — and that was totally true.”

Although both of my daughters had potty trained right at their 2-year-old birthdays with relative ease (both were completely trained, even at night, within weeks with a few tears, more than a few accidents, and maybe one reward chart), I took all of the “advice” from other people and decided to not even attempt to potty train my son as his 2-year birthday rolled around.

Heavily pregnant with my fourth baby, I decided we had too much going on and that as a boy, he just wouldn’t be ready. He turned two and that was that–#diapersfolife.

But my husband, unbeknownst to me, had other plans in mind.

A month after our son’s second birthday and literally hours after we came home from the hospital after I had delivered our fourth baby (another girl!), my husband took potty training our boy into his own hands.

While I enjoyed endless baby snuggles and generally spent time sniffing my newborn’s head in postpartum bliss, my husband decided to see if our son would take to potty training. In his mind, it couldn’t hurt and if I had one less diaper to change when he went back to work, wouldn’t life be just that much better?

And wouldn’t you know it?

Despite me being convinced that my son “wasn’t ready” and that it was pointless to even try potty training until he was at least three and that the commotion of a new baby in the house would just make it worse, that little guy had potty training down in days.

Days!

I had been so sure that boys were “harder” and more stubborn and that potty training would be such a huge hassle for us all that I had no faith in my son at all. I had pegged him as more difficult simply because of his gender and seeing how quickly he got the hang of it and how proud he was to be a “big boy,” I felt thoroughly ashamed.

If it hadn’t been for my husband having more faith in our little man than I did, we probably would have missed that window for him being ready and struggled a lot more with potty training. He wasn’t more “difficult” because he was a boy—and I hadn’t been willing to look beyond that to pay attention to his personal cues.

Becky Mansfield, a fellow mom of four who literally wrote the book on potty training, agrees that boys aren’t necessarily “harder” to potty train than girls. “In my opinion, boys are so much easier to train than girls!” she shared with me. “With boys, you can literally see when they are starting to urinate. With girls, you don’t notice until they have a little puddle by their feet.”

I will say, also, that all of the advice about how difficult boys can be potty training did help me relax a little when my son didn’t quite get the hang of staying dry at naptime and nighttime right away. He just turned three and I am now working on getting him out of Pull-Ups at naptime, but he still wears them at night. Realizing that there is no specific timetable for him to follow has helped me not stress about the potty training situation, boy or not.

So really, there are two takeaways I’d like you to take from this little potty training saga of mine:

1. Having a fully involved parenting partner is awesome. Especially if they’re willing to do the dirty work (ha) of potty training.

2. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to potty training girls vs. boys. The truth is, every child is different and it’s better to ditch the rules, listen to your instincts, and follow your child’s lead instead.

And if that lead just happens to end up in dry pants through the night, I say more power to us all.

Image : Disney Baby

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Mini Mouse and Mickey Mouse Potty Training Seats

In Case You're Wondering About Potty Training…

Several of my friends have young toddlers, and they’ve all recently picked my brain about potty training.

How old was Noah? How did you do it? When is normal?

And I’ll tell you what I told them.

Calm down and it take it easy.

I started the potty training at 18 months because I convinced myself that he was showing signs of “readiness” (meaning I read one too many magazine articles), and the battle raged until he was almost 3-and-a-half.

A battle that included potty seats, potty times, potty charts, potty rewards — I even put blue food coloring into the water so that his urine might turn it green, just to entice him. We tried little potties, potty rings, and even standing up with Daddy.

A battle continuously lost each time he’d put on a diaper, immediately soiling it even after sitting on the little potty for what felt like forever.

A battle that left me frustrated, feeling like a failure, muttering things like “I can’t physically MAKE him go to the bathroom,” and “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?”

I was done with the diapers — so very, very done — but 2-year-old Noah insisted, “But I yike my diapers, mama.”

Sigh.

And then one day, a few months after his 3rd birthday, I put the potty ring back onto the big-person toilet. It scared him the first time around, but that was over a year ago. Maybe….

Noah sat down and peed.

HALLELUJAH!

A couple of hours later, he pooped.

WHHAAAAAA’?!

And from that night forth, he stayed dry at night — even waking up to go to the bathroom.

MARCHING BAND! SOMEONE GET ME A MARCHING BAND!

Image : Disney Baby

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little boy potty training

Potty Training: Getting Boys & Girls to Go

Chin up, mommy: though it may seem unlikely right now, your toddler will learn to go potty in the potty. It does take some tots longer than others to master the skill, but they all eventually do — we promise!

Tips for Boys and Girls

  • Practice patience.
    The more low-key and relaxed you are, the better for everyone.
  • Pick your pot.
    You have two choices: a low-to-the-ground potty chair or an insert that fits on the big toilet seat. (If you go this route, you’ll also need a step stool.) If possible, give both options a test-drive to see what your toddler prefers.
  • Stock up on supplies.
    Make sure to have liquid soap (for washing little hands), disinfecting wipes for floors and fixtures, rewards (such as stickers or dollar-store trinkets) and Pull-Ups Products (such as Big Kid Flushable Wipes and Pull-Ups Training Pants).
  • Storytime.
    Buy or borrow DVDs and books about potty training to share with your toddler. Most are available in both boy and girl versions. What to Expect When You Go to the Potty is a great choice!
  • Cheer!
    Be sure to lavish your little one with praise and positive reinforcement at every turn.

Just for Boys

Going potty is a bit more complicated for boys than it is for girls. Little boys need to master sitting and standing, after all. Here’s where a male role-model comes in handy!

  • Start with sitting.
    Start off by having your little guy sit for both pooping and peeing. Once he’s really got the hang of things, he can stand “just like Daddy.”
  • Help him hit the target.
    Show your son how to aim. If he’s sitting, he’ll need to point his penis down into the toilet to make sure the pee goes where it needs to go. When he starts to stand, help him hit the target by floating O-shaped cereal, bits of toilet paper or drops of food coloring in the toilet bowl and challenging him to go for a bull’s-eye.
  • Reinforce good manners.
    It’s never too early to teach your tot potty etiquette. If he’s standing to pee, show him how to raise the seat (all the way, so it won’t fall on him midstream) and then lower it again when he’s finished. Don’t forget to flush and wash those hands!

Just for Girls

  • Wipe front to back.
    This is the only piece of girl-specific advice you need. If this is too tricky for now, you can have her pat dry instead.

Good luck — and go with the flow!

WhatToExpect.com

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Potty Time

Potty Training infographic

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Girl Reading a book potty training

Who's Ready for a Potty?

It's hard not to want to toilet train your little one as soon as she can walk. Your friend tells you her 18-month-old boy potty trained in a week. The daycare refuses to take kids who aren't toilet-trained. And it seems there is a bright and shiny new potty in every home you visit. That's a lot of pressure!

Welcome to potty training anxiety. A very common parenting phenomenon that can be put to an abrupt end by asking yourself one simple question: Is my little one even ready to potty train yet?

"Every child is unique and will be ready to potty train at a different age, so there's no need to stress yourself out or compare your child to other toddlers," says Kathrym Espana, M.D., a pediatrician at Texas Children's Pediatrics Fannin in Houston.

Although research indicates that the best time to start potty training is when a toddler is between 24 to 32 months old, Espana says the most ideal time is when your little one is developmentally ready.

Here are some signs that indicate your kiddo is ready to give it a go.

She knows when it's time.

Maybe she squats, grunts or tugs on her diaper. Perhaps she uses a word to let you know. When your child shares that she's about to poop or pee, it means that she is becoming aware of what it feels like when she has to go potty. That's key.

The potty interests her.

Bring up the potty as a topic of conversation. Does your little one like talking about it? Will she sit on it? If so, you're heading in the right direction. Tears or resistance at the mere mention of a potty means-oops, the timing isn't right.

She understands directions.

Ask your little one to "sit down" or "stand up." Does she get what you're asking her to do? More importantly, does she do it? She needs to be able to comprehend and follow through on instructions before she's ready to be toilet trained.

Her diapers stay dry longer.

Surprise! Your toddler wakes up from her nap and her diaper is completely dry. Then you go on a playdate and don't even have to change her. Once she's staying dry for periods of two hours or more, it's a sure sign that she is developmentally on her way.

She has more motor skills.

You know walking is a must before you can train, but other gross and fine motor skills are required, too. Your little one needs to be able to have proper finger and hand coordination so that she can pull her pants up and down. The ability to sit down on the potty -and get back up again-is also a must.

Remember, only 40 to 60 percent of toddlers complete potty training by the time they are three years old, so no worries if your little one isn't on the same timeline as her peers or siblings. It will happen when she is ready. Until then, it wouldn't hurt to just browse the potty aisle the next time you're alone at the store.

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little girl with toilet paper

Potty Talk: Words To Use When You Toilet Train

Your kid’s showing all the signs of potty readiness—dry diapers after naps, long gaps between changes, and an ability to follow directions. But how do you get the potty started? With these tips!

Q: How do I approach the subject of potty training?

A: Keep it easy, breezy—and super positive, says Teri Crane, author of Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day. "Rather than ask a question like, ‘Do you want to stop wearing your diapers?’ try something like, ‘I think you are ready to stop wearing your diapers and start using the potty today.’" 

Q: What words do I use for "number one" and "number two"?

A: Number one and number two, if that’s what you like. The best words to use are the ones with which you and your partner are most comfortable and familiar. If you prefer formal ones (urinate and defecate), fine! If you’re into more casual ones (pee and poop or wee-wee and ca-ca), fine! Just be consistent. And remember, you’ll be using the words a lot when you’re out and about, so you want to make sure you’ll be okay speaking them in public, too.

Q: What can I say to encourage my child to go potty?

Again, be consistent. "It will confuse your child if you ask her in the morning if she has to ‘go tinkle’ and then call it ‘go pee-pee’ in the afternoon," says Crane. "Children have very concrete thinking. A euphemism like, ‘Do you have to go to the bathroom?’ will probably be literally translated to ‘Do you need to walk into the bathroom?’ Which means unless there’s something in the bathroom that your child needs, she will probably say, ‘No.’"

Q: What should I say when my child has an accident?

A: No kid gets through potty training without at least one accident, so don't make a big deal about it—just continue to be encouraging. "Keep assuring your child that you believe in his ability to master this new skill," says Crane. "Tell him, 'Everybody makes mistakes when we learn something new. But we just keep practicing and pretty soon, we're really good at it. The more you practice, the better you'll get at it.'" 

Check out the Pull-Ups potty training resource center for more tips, tools, and advice.

Image: Getty

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Transitioning into Training Pants

"Moving into training pants is a key sign for your child that she is becoming a Big Kid and therefore should start using the potty," says former Pull-Ups® Potty Training Partner, Page Turner.

Below are some helpful insights from Page and the Pull-Ups® Brand for transitioning tots to training pants and completing potty training:

  • Build excitement around the milestone of moving into trainings pants that are just like Big Kid underwear. To get my twins excited about becoming big girls, I had them store their training pants in the dresser drawer just like real underwear.
  • Have your child practice pulling them on and off themselves before starting to use them. In my case, practice really did make perfect!
  • Try giving your tot the chance to sit on the potty – first with the pants on and later with them off. I had my girls sit on the potty after they helped decorate it with stickers, which really helped create excitement about the whole process.
  • Teach your child about the graphics that disappear when wet and indicate the difference between wet and dry.
  • Celebrate when your toddler correctly uses the training pants to encourage Big Kid behavior. Or try celebrating with an outing they enjoy – my kids always love a special trip to the park.
  • Once you’ve made the switch out of diapers and into training pants, don’t switch back and forth. It may be confusing and slow down the process. Set backs are inevitable, but I found my kids made the most progress when I kept them in training pants, even when we went on vacation.

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Gearing up to go potty

  1. Acknowledging the potty

    The very first step toward potty-training is having your child understand when he's going to the bathroom. He'll start telling you when he's going or has gone. He'll want his diaper changed immediately because he recognizes that he's uncomfortable. Then you can start introducing the concept of the potty. For example, after he's gone in his diaper, discard it in the toilet and help him flush!

  2. Well, hello potty

    Before you bring your child in contact with the toilet, it may be useful to think about getting a child's potty seat. One idea is to draw a colorful, fun potty out of construction paper and post it next to the actual potty, so that she can associate the drawing with the real thing. Ask her if she would like to use the potty before bath time or after a nap. If she refuses, remain positive and say, "Okay, maybe next time!" If she is excited, follow through with the process.

  3. Big kids go potty

    Once your child sits on the toilet — or even if he just tries — praise him enthusiastically. If he actually goes, giving him a reward such as a piece of candy is one approach but also encourage him after he's done by clapping and saying things like "Good job!" and "Big boys go on the potty!"

  4. Signs of readiness

    Potty training could take about, on average, eight weeks — but this is highly individual. What's just as important as waiting for your child to show readiness is that you pick up on behavior demonstrating that your child might not be ready. Once she sits on the potty, if she doesn't get down to business and starts fiddling with the toilet paper, whining or even crying, for example, then it's time to wait a few more weeks before you start again.

  5. Ditching the diapers

    As the concept of using the toilet becomes more prominent, set your watch every hour and encourage your child to go frequently. Associate certain times of day with going to the bathroom — first thing in the morning, before and after nap/rest time, after lunch, before bed and so forth. And make sure that as a parent, you're frequently and noticeably using the bathroom as well.

  6. Potty pointers

    Don't succumb to pressure, and don't pass pressure on. Although your friends may be potty training their children or have a child who, they say, "self-trained at 18 months," don't feel as if your child is not as advanced because he lacks the physical readiness to use the potty. Remember, your child must be physically independent in addition to being emotionally ready. Some kids, too, need to decide that the benefits of being a "big kid" and wearing underwear outweigh the convenience of diapers.

The best advice overall is to stay positive and enthusiastic — both for you and for your child — and remember what parents who have been there say: "Don't worry — she's not going to go to college in diapers!"

Learn more at PullUps.com    

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Essential Tools for Potty Training

Julie, former Pull-Ups® Potty Training Partner and stay-at-home mom with a four-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son offers real-life insights.

We talked with Julie about toilet training and the steps she took to ensure her toddler felt like a Big Kid.

Having a System Makes Potty Training Easier

Every parent knows that the potty training process is not something you can approach blindly or with the expectation that your child will be toilet trained in a week. Potty training involves having a system in place before you begin that includes finding the right tools, researching information on the topic, obtaining support from family and friends and being prepared as a parent to hang in there for the eight - ten months it will most likely take.

"When my kids expressed interest and showed readiness skills like sitting on the potty and wanting to wear Big Kid underwear, I went to friends who had recently toilet trained their children for advice," said Julie. "They helped me realize there were steps I needed to take to prepare myself and my kids to potty train, and their understanding and support really meant a lot."

Julie suggests that parents start by being realistic in terms of expectations and understand that successful potty training should be approached with consistency and patience. Every child is different and some children take longer than others. Research conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin shows that it takes eight months on average to potty train a child.

Julie also suggests that parents identify those who will be a support system-spouse, family, and friends. They'll be there to help find some humor in those difficult days and to help maintain consistency in the process if they're helping out. For Julie, that meant leaning on her best friend.

When she toilet trained her first child, Julie researched information, reading magazines and books to find out everything she could about toilet training. She also suggests tapping into websites that give parents useful tips for every parenting stage, like www.Pull-Ups.com, which has useful sets of activities and resources, such as, Big Kid Beginnings or the Big Kid Prep List that help parents identify what potty training stage their child is at. Books, magazines and advice from other moms also help give you guidelines on potty training do’s and don’ts.”

Julie also found that involving her children in decision-making motivated them to stick to the potty training system.

"For both my son and daughter, we made going to the store to pick out a potty seat and their own disposable training pants big events," said Julie. "We really wanted to signal to them that they weren't babies anymore, so we moved them into Pull-Ups® training pants and started talking to them about what it meant to be a Big Kid."

Throughout the process it's important to coach children with praise and hugs, as well as other rewards. Julie and her husband rewarded their kids with stickers and small toys. However, every child is different, so choose rewards that relate to and motivate your child.

"As a parent, you'll learn that you can't push or get frustrated. Each child will train when he or she is ready," Julie concluded. "Hang in there…it's two steps forward and one step back, but once you find a system that works with your child, stick with it. They'll be using the potty by themselves in no time."

Make sure you have these essential tools when potty training your child.

  • Support from family and friends
  • General information from resources like books, magazines or your pediatrician
  • Potty seat
  • Pull-Ups® Big Kid* Flushable Wipes
  • Pull-Ups® disposable training pants
  • Reward system
  • Easy access to www.pull-ups.com and the Pull-Ups* Big Kid App

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