Note from Hint Mama: Potty training my 2-year-old daughter is high on my to-do list. Though we’re waiting to seriously attempt teaching our tot to use the toilet until after her new sibling arrives, I’m on the lookout for ways to successfully potty train for less. Luckily, I now have the guest hint from Kristen Stevens, who blogs at Musings of an Average Mom, to help. Read her hint below.
I’ll be honest, it took me three attempts — and lots of needless expenses — to potty train my now 3-year-old daughter.
So, to save you from making the same spending mistakes I did, I can tell you what not to buy, and what’s worth the expense, for toilet training. Today’s hint is my three tips for potty training for less.
The first time around, I bought those expensive cloth training pants (like these). Many people told me that toddlers don’t feel wet in super absorbent diapers, but they do feel wet in cloth training pants, a feeling they won’t like and that will encourage them to embrace the potty sooner.
Um. . . yeah . It turned out my daughter could care less about feeling wet, and she wore the cloth training pants as if they were regular old diapers, and they were not fun to wash out.
I also tried putting pull-up diapers on my daughter when taking her out in public, but these seemed to make her regress. So, I say skip the cloth training pants and pull-up diapers altogether and go right to inexpensive underwear. I’d also try to keep trips out of the house short in the first week of potty training to give your little one ample time to get used to the toilet and wearing underwear.
2. Make a smart potty purchase. I made the mistake of buying a separate potty, step stool and toilet potty seat cover. If I were to buy a potty again, I would have gone for a convertible potty like the ones Hint Mama has mentioned in recent hints on new baby gear trends showcased at the big ABC Kids Expo trade show. Such potties transform into removable potty seats for toilets and then into step stools, so they’re useful long past the potty training stage.
Or if your toddler has no fear of the toilet, I’d recommend going straight to a relatively cheap removeable potty seat for a regular toilet (a strategy the authors of Baby Bargains also agree with) and a step stool. You will probably need to transition to such a toilet seat within a few weeks of beginning training anyway.
Finally, you can find lots of inexpensive potty options with cute features, like a flushing sound, that help encourage the training process. Just try not to go for a potty with features that are too distracting and not worth the added expense, i.e. potties that talk to much, and look for a potty with a heavy pot your tot can’t remove so easily (I say from personal experience, and wet socks).
3. Print out a free potty training chart. I had an aversion to giving my toddler chocolate at 7 a.m., and I didn’t want to spend money on a special chart to track my daughter’s potty-training progress. So, I printed a free super cute potty training chart and bought some Disney stickers at the Dollar Store to use with it. You can find a round-up of free printable potty charts with all your kids’ favorite characters over at my site, Musings of an Average Mom.
I found the chart and praise approach – letting my daughter pick out a sticker for her chart after a potty job done well — worked well, as kids are often visual learners. And I don’t know who was prouder after a success . . . her, or me.
It’s also worth noting that there are other things I’d do differently beyond my spending mistakes. For instance, I wish I had set my daughter on the potty at set intervals instead of leaving when to go on the potty up to her (in other words, I should have gone for a parent-led potty training method rather than a method that assumed my daughter would be embarrassed enough to know to use the potty after a few accidents).
I also wouldn’t have given up after a week the first two times I attempted potty training, because things weren’t progressing as I had hoped. When training finally was a success, it was nearly two weeks before my daughter started knowing when to go to the potty.
To be sure, what works during the potty training process will vary for each child and family. Hopefully, however, my tips above can help you potty train for less and stay motivated puddle after puddle.
What are your tips for cutting the costs associated with potty training?
Kristen Stevens is a blogger over at Musings of an Average Mom and a writer for FamilyNow.com/Sun; a mother to a dancing, singing and non-stop talking 3-year old-daughter and an active, loud and always-attached-to -my-hip one-year-old son; and a wife to a talented contractor.