Let's just start with this: potty training is a real bitch. Baylor is now fully potty trained, but the process was not easy. #1 came much easier than #2, but neither was a breeze. Everyone has their own method and there's about 30,000 articles online if you google "potty train toddler", all of which say something different. Totes easy, right? Nope. SO... I'll give you the quick & dirty (potty training is not quick, but def. dirty) on our approach, how it worked for us and where we are now. plus, a free download that helped us along the way.
We started potty training Baylor shortly after he had turned two. In hindsight, that was a bit early for him, but he had shown a solid interest and I tend to be over-motivated and probably a bit of a 'bite off more than you can chew' type personality. SO, in any case... we went for it.
We did the "pants off-dance off" approach - basically, Baylor went cold turkey on diapers during the day (with the exception of naps & bedtime) and we didn't leave the house for a solid week. He didn't wear pants, and i took him to the bathroom every 10-20 minutes until he'd go (this is also when he discovered his boy parts - LAWD have mercy). I pumped him full of water and bribed with treats until I was blue in the face.
It eventually worked, but the challenges were definitely present. Here's the thing, I could get him to sit on the toilet all I wanted, but getting him to stay there to actually do his business was a whole different story. I've done more toddler entertaining on the bathroom floor than I care to admit. Thank GOODNESS that we have a housecleaner who mops bathroom floors on the regular. He slowly started getting the hang of it, and would go when I took him as he needed to. We then moved to the phase where he'd tell me he had to go after he leaked in his pants just a little every time. #areyakiddingme?! It was tough to leave the house, as I always felt like B was going to wet himself in public (which obv. happened a handful of times), and well, you just deal. We always packed extra clothes and I had to set the expectation that I may have to ditch my whole cart if we have an accident. You learn to roll with the punches very quickly. Like when your two year old pees on the carpet at the frame store. Or drops trou in the middle of the playground, cause he "has ta go pee pee!!" As with all things, Baylor eventually mastered peeing in the toilet and I couldn't tell you the last time he had an accident. #fistpump
As far as pooping goes, well, that was a whole different ball game. Long story short, Baylor refused to poop in the toilet and would hold it until bedtime when he'd wear a diaper. Once I weened him off the bedtime & nap time diapers (a huge win!), we sort of hit a dead end. I refused to put a diaper on him just to poop and he would resist going in the toilet. Eventually, one of us would cave and it just became a constant battle. So one pediatrician's appointment and target trip later, the little guy was downing Miralax like it was his job. Miralax pretty much just makes it so that once they're on the toilet, they can't hold it in and voila. It's harmless & actually somewhat common, according to 30,000 online articles ;) This pretty much was a miracle and 2 weeks later, he was a regular! (mom victories!)
One of my major takeaways was that treats & bribery really do help through the process. But, as always, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. So instead of giving Baylor a major "prize" every time he went, we did a 3 step process. I'd always celebrate first victories, just to set his expectation, and from there, we had a system. Each time they go potty, they get a small treat (a dum dum lollipop, a few m&ms or baylor's personal favorite: gum). Also, they get to put a sticker on their potty chart. Once they get three stickers in a row, they get a bigger prize - i.e. a trip to the toy store or a special privilege. This helped to keep Baylor motivated longer than a hot second. Cause toddler time is WACK. We did this system for 1-2 weeks each time a new potty skill was learned, and it worked like a charm. Stickers become very exciting and Baylor LOVED looking at his Potty Chart on the wall!
If you're in the thick of potty training, just know that it will pass (literally). Also... coffee, wine & ice cream - treat yourself! Every little one is different and by NO means is this the best or only way to potty train, it's simply what worked for us. We didn't have any major regressions, and the only intervention required was Miralax, which is totally harmless & was truly a huge help.
Download our potty chart, use some washi tape and stick it on the fridge, the cupboard or somewhere easy to see and accessible for your little one! Good Luck!