the village - Taking a potty training vacation with your toddler

Helping to raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice and cool finds.
The village: helping raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice, hacks and cool finds
Taking a potty-training vacation with your toddler

POTTY TRAINING — PART 3

Taking a potty-training vacation with your toddler

by Rosalee Lahaie Hera

Although the word ‘vacation’ can conjure up lovely images of beaches and relaxation, a potty-training vacation is something else entirely. And, if it’s not implemented properly, it can actually be a rather stressful experience.

For parents and caregivers who would like to take an adult-led approach to potty training (rather than a child-led approach – which you can read about here), a potty-training vacation is a very effective and relatively quick process.

General tips for getting started

This is a great method for parents and caregivers who want fast results. It is also recommended if you have an older child (3+ years old) who will be transitioning to school soon, i.e., there is a time pressure for getting your kiddo out of their diapers.

If you decide to implement this method, I recommend combining it with a routine-based approach.

This method feels like a whole lot more work for you as a parent or caregiver if your child is younger than about 22 months old, or if they are not showing many signs of readiness. This doesn’t mean you can’t implement it in younger children (18+ months old), but it will take a lot more time and patience.

It is also important to note that this type of method may feel stressful for certain children, especially if it feels stressful to you. If they are experiencing any anxiety around toileting, it’s best to take a break and reassess their readiness and/or speak to their Doctor and a Certified Potty Training professional about your best next steps.

How to take a potty-training vacation

This method requires you to stay home with your child for at least a few days.

On the day that you’re going to ditch the diapers, tell your toddler “Good morning! No more diapers starting today, only for sleepy time/nighttime.” Then, ditch them and switch into pull-ups for naps and nighttime. I don’t specifically recommend nap or nighttime training, since a) I don’t recommend waking children up to use the bathroom, only to fragment their sleep (continuous quality sleep is so important!); and, b) sleep time dryness is physiological, not behavioral. It will be much easier and much less stressful to allow them to naturally become dry overnight. Once they are dry for two solid weeks, then ditch the diapers at night.

“Let your child go bottomless for at least a few days and watch them carefully for cues that they are about to go pee or poo.”

Once you’ve ditched the non-sleep diapers, stick with it. Let your child go bottomless for at least a few days and watch them carefully for cues that they are about to go pee or poo. Take them immediately to the potty or toilet, saying “It’s time to sit on the potty”. If you don’t catch it in time, that’s okay. Let them sit there and see if they have any more to eliminate. There will be accidents at first, perhaps many. Try to avoid saying “It’s okay”. Instead, say “Oops, that doesn’t go there. It goes in the potty.”

At first, your child will not initiate going to the potty. Over time, they will ask to go.

After a few days, try some short outings outside of the house immediately after they have gone pee.

Try to delay the introduction of underwear until there are no accidents while your child is wearing pants without diapers. Remember: readiness and consistency will help you nail potty training, regardless of the method you use.

Rosalee Lahaie Hera is a Certified Pediatric & Newborn Sleep Consultant, a Certified Potty Training Consultant, and the founder of Baby Sleep Love. She’s also a mom to two beautiful little humans. Rosalee is a researcher at heart with a background in healthcare management and a passion for sleep science. She takes a highly analytical approach and uses proven, gentle methods to help families (like yours!) get the sleep they need. Rosalee is a big fan of fancy coffee and great food (both cooking it and eating it). You can connect with Rosalee on Facebook or Instagram.

POTTY TRAINING — PART 3

Taking a potty-training vacation with your toddler

by Rosalee Lahaie Hera

Although the word ‘vacation’ can conjure up lovely images of beaches and relaxation, a potty-training vacation is something else entirely. And, if it’s not implemented properly, it can actually be a rather stressful experience.

For parents and caregivers who would like to take an adult-led approach to potty training (rather than a child-led approach – which you can read about here), a potty-training vacation is a very effective and relatively quick process.

General tips for getting started

This is a great method for parents and caregivers who want fast results. It is also recommended if you have an older child (3+ years old) who will be transitioning to school soon, i.e., there is a time pressure for getting your kiddo out of their diapers.

If you decide to implement this method, I recommend combining it with a routine-based approach.

This method feels like a whole lot more work for you as a parent or caregiver if your child is younger than about 22 months old, or if they are not showing many signs of readiness. This doesn’t mean you can’t implement it in younger children (18+ months old), but it will take a lot more time and patience.

It is also important to note that this type of method may feel stressful for certain children, especially if it feels stressful to you. If they are experiencing any anxiety around toileting, it’s best to take a break and reassess their readiness and/or speak to their Doctor and a Certified Potty Training professional about your best next steps.

How to take a potty-training vacation

This method requires you to stay home with your child for at least a few days.

On the day that you’re going to ditch the diapers, tell your toddler “Good morning! No more diapers starting today, only for sleepy time/nighttime.” Then, ditch them and switch into pull-ups for naps and nighttime. I don’t specifically recommend nap or nighttime training, since a) I don’t recommend waking children up to use the bathroom, only to fragment their sleep (continuous quality sleep is so important!); and, b) sleep time dryness is physiological, not behavioral. It will be much easier and much less stressful to allow them to naturally become dry overnight. Once they are dry for two solid weeks, then ditch the diapers at night.

“Let your child go bottomless for at least a few days and watch them carefully for cues that they are about to go pee or poo.”

Once you’ve ditched the non-sleep diapers, stick with it. Let your child go bottomless for at least a few days and watch them carefully for cues that they are about to go pee or poo. Take them immediately to the potty or toilet, saying “It’s time to sit on the potty”. If you don’t catch it in time, that’s okay. Let them sit there and see if they have any more to eliminate. There will be accidents at first, perhaps many. Try to avoid saying “It’s okay”. Instead, say “Oops, that doesn’t go there. It goes in the potty.”

At first, your child will not initiate going to the potty. Over time, they will ask to go.

After a few days, try some short outings outside of the house immediately after they have gone pee.

Try to delay the introduction of underwear until there are no accidents while your child is wearing pants without diapers. Remember: readiness and consistency will help you nail potty training, regardless of the method you use.

Rosalee Lahaie Hera is a Certified Pediatric & Newborn Sleep Consultant, a Certified Potty Training Consultant, and the founder of Baby Sleep Love. She’s also a mom to two beautiful little humans. Rosalee is a researcher at heart with a background in healthcare management and a passion for sleep science. She takes a highly analytical approach and uses proven, gentle methods to help families (like yours!) get the sleep they need. Rosalee is a big fan of fancy coffee and great food (both cooking it and eating it). You can connect with Rosalee on Facebook or Instagram.

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