#3 Top 5 Essentials For...Potty Training with Vie Choufleur

Welcome back to part two of my Top 5 Essentials, guest blogging series, for details on how you can take part, head to the bottom of this post. In the meantime, I hand over to Halina from Vie Choufleur.

Halina: The girl who could never find her name on pencils. Blanket Queen and Extreme Lover of cheese, wine, and carbs. A 30-something mum of one blogging about family, food, beauty, and everything else good (or bad!) in life. Vie Choufleur is a goodie-bag of blog post treats - you never know what you might find! This week Halina is sharing her top 5 essentials for potty training.

We were intensely lucky when it came to potty training our son TD. He definitely took to the concept incredibly well, for which we are extremely thankful.
To be perfectly honest though, there were ways and methods with which we approached potty training that to this day I still feel helped immeasurably. If we ever end up having a second (or third!) child, I will follow the exact same measures. Of course, every child is different, but I still consider the below to be my absolute essentials for potty training.

Potties. Well, duh. I know, I know, you're fully justified here to roll your eyes and think me a patronising dolt. That's fine. Potties are essential for potty training, but the most important part here is to introduce potties early on. Much earlier on than you'd think. We placed one potty in the living room when TD was about 18 months old. Crazy, right? Well, maybe not. He got used to it being there. From time to time he'd sit on it, or we'd plop him on it in front of the TV. We talked about it to him, and occasionally put him on there when he was nappy-free.
Obviously he didn't do anything on it, but if he ever accidentally did we made a huge deal of cheering and clapping, which he loved. He was never afraid of the potty, or apprehensive about using it as he got older. And he knew what it was for from very early on.
Additionally, the title of this section is in the plural because we had more than one. One was in the living room, and one was upstairs in his bedroom. Exposure EVERYWHERE.
So, Potty Training Essential Number One: A potty in view and "use" from an early age.
Special Pants! Kids thrive with responsibility and reward. Most of the time they also like to think they're a lot more grown-up than they actually are (helLO threenagers!). A great way to tap into this whilst potty training is to give them The Power Of The Pants.
When TD hit two years old we went out and bought Special Pants! for him. To the eyes of you and I, there really wasn't anything special about them at all. They were just pants for tiny people with a dinosaur pattern. But to TD, and to all toddlers, Special Pants! are sooooo grown-up. Those tiny pants wield power. The Power Of The Pants.
TD loved wearing his Special Pants! He would put them on and show them to anyone and everyone. We explained that when he could use his potty and didn't need a nappy then he would get to wear the Special Pants! ALL THE TIME. Boy, did he want that. He wanted those Special Pants! so bad. And bless him, he worked so hard to get to the point where he could wear them all the time. He didn't want to soak the Special Pants!. The one time he did have an accident, he got a little upset about ruining his Special Pants!, but we explained that they would go in the wash and come out good as new. Happy lad once more.
Potty Training Essential Number Two: Special Pants! that kids are excited to wear and feel special for using.
Stickers & Sweet Treats. Look, resorting to bribery isn't Parenting Skill #1, but sometimes, in some instances (and especially when the kids are very young), it works. Bribery was the glue that held our potty training success together; the very fabric of TD grasping the concepts of toilet behaviour in three days flat.
At the time, TD was a bit obsessed with Fireman Sam. I did a quick search on Amazon, found a shed load of relatively cheap Fireman Sam stickers (including shinies!) and bought them there and then. I went to Poundland and scooped up a few packs of chocolates. And we cleared a space on the side of TD's play kitchen.
The rules were simple: For every wee TD did on the potty, he got one sticker and one chocolate. For every poo TD did on the potty, he got TWO stickers and TWO chocolates! (Yeah, we loved the number one, number two in-joke).
Cue one EXTREMELY excited little boy. The highlight of his day was choosing which Fireman Sam character to stick on the side of his kitchen and cramming that sweet chocolatey reward into his ecstatic mouth. The only "accident" he had was when he forgot to tuck himself in one day and we had a puddle on the floor, but even for that we obviously gave out the reward. He associated using the potty with super-exciting things, and he wanted those super-exciting things again and again.
Potty Training Essential Number Three: Bribery. It works. You could do what we did, or fashion a reward chart. Anything that encourages enthusiasm to achieve would work.
A Waterproof Mattress Protector. A standard, really. When TD was confident enough to no longer wear a nappy (or pappy, as he called them) in the daytime, we explained to him that he'd still have to wear one at night for a while. He did this for a few weeks, then decided himself that he no longer wanted to wear one in bed.
We were nervous, obviously. He still adored his evening milk at this point and often woke up with a sodden nappy. But we gave him the benefit of the doubt, added a waterproof mattress protector to his bed, and tucked him in nappy-free.
For the first week he woke up each morning and jumped straight on the potty in his bedroom. Magic! Then came a few overnight accidents, but only about five at most. And that mattress protector was an absolute god-send. I had no wish to scrub a urine-soaked mattress, and I never had to. Woohoo!
Potty Training Essential Number Four: Make life easier for yourself and protect that mattress!
Enthusiasm, Determination, And (Most Importantly) Luck
ENTHUSIASM - Potty training can be hard, and it's especially tricky for a little one to master. They can't be excited about it if you don't show them that you are too. Even if they have an accident, staying cheery and making them feel safe is key - they need to know it's OK to mess up sometimes, or fear could develop. Be the cheerleader they need you to be!
DETERMINATION - Don't give up if it gets tough. As an adult, I hate it when people introduce new concepts or ideas then give up before they come to fruition. Imagine how confusing and distressing that could be possibly be for a child who is in the process of learning something HUGE. You do such a fantastic job with them and potty training is hard, but keep your eyes on the prize and you'll help them get there.
LUCK - As I said previously, every child is different. We were so lucky with TD and are beyond grateful to him for helping our potty training journey run so smoothly.
Unfortunately, we all know that sheer luck is beyond control. But, if you're enthusiastic and determined and you're helping your child at every step with love, trust, and kindness, then you'll make your own luck. Each of these three things is the component of You, and what a brilliant parent you are.
Potty Training Essential Number Five: Be The Awesome Parent That You Are.
Good luck!
Thanks Halina, that seems like a great list to me! What do you guys think? Is there anything you would add to this essesntials list? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to go and follow Halina over on...

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