Since you already know your potty training must haves… let’s moves on to how to get your child to actually pee on the potty.
Our entire house is caked in pee.
I would like to say I’m kidding, but I am an honest person. Okay technically it’s not caked in pee, but there is a fine layer of bodily fluids in nearly every room.
My kids are 5, 4, 3, 1 and 4 months. The oldest never has accidents. The 4-year-old only does in the evening realm. The 3-year-old and the 2-year-old, well, they are little.
I am not too worried about accidents here and there, but moreso about their willingness to use the potty.
I’ve never actually written a post about how to potty train because I am not “good” at potty training. I simply decide to take off the diapers and then see what happens.
They get the hang of it. Really… they do.
I know it’s time when they are fighting diaper changes and it’s making us all nuts.
How to Make a Toddler Pee on the Potty
Now, before we can even begin to properly potty train we need to get the kids willing to sit on the potty. Here are some must have potty training items on hand to begin this process.
Before we worry about all the rest of what comes, let’s just talk about how to get them on the potty in the first place because, in my experience, this is not as easy as it sounds.
Read: Must Have Potty Training Supplies
Give them advance warning
One of the best ways to gain cooperation from your little ones is to give them advance warning. Tell them what’s going to happen. When it’s going to happen. How it’s going to happen.
Let them adjust to the idea. Let them understand and prepare. Firstborns, particularly, do not cope well with change.
Tell them, “In two weeks we’re going to start peepeeing in the potty.” Then on and on and over and over and over again until they’re basically asking you to just go ahead and do it. This is essentially why routine is so effective, it takes out guesswork.
Read: The Trickiest Part Of Potty Training And How To Overcome It
Set a timer
One of my favorite ways to get kids to participate in the potty sitting is this: letting them press buttons on the timer. We may set the timer for 20 minutes.
They are allowed to press buttons (whether a real timer or an app) then press it when the timer goes off. As the timer goes off they go and sit on the potty for a bit and see if they can go.
I don’t require them to sit for too long or they’ll get “over” the whole process quicker than their progress can catch up. A minute or two will do and then let them set the timer again for another 15 or 20 minutes.
The reasoning behind this is that you’ll catch them quite a few times being able to pee. You all celebrate and this reinforces the process.
Put the potty somewhere interesting
Just as we can get creative with sleeping arrangements, we can get creative with potty locations. Put the potty in front of the TV during cartoon time or near you if you’re cooking.
Don’t just leave the potty in the bathroom (or get another one for elsewhere) so you can entertain your child and encourage them to stay on the potty longer.
Remember, the goal is to keep them on the potty often enough or long enough to actually pee on it. This will help them to get it then repeat it.
Keep a few potties around!
I actually have 3 or 4 potties at any given time in our home not including the actual toilets in each bathroom. We have one in each room of a potty training child.
We will often move them to general living areas as well during intense seasons of potty training. It's what is suggested in Potty Train in a Weekend as well.
Wear clothes that are easy to move
One of the biggest struggles of gaining cooperation from your child is the annoying burden of taking the pants on and off. If it's winter and they are in quite a few layers this is tedious.
Of course, you can pull the pants up and down for your child, but this means you aren't actually training them to independently go to the bathroom.
This means ever single time they have to go they come to you. This adds time to the process (which you won't have if they know they have to pee 3 Mississippis before the pee comes out) and makes life hard if you have quite a few kids close together in age.
Have them wear heavy shirts and thick socks and turn the heat up if it's winter. If it's summer let them go naked or in undies that are easy to pull up and down. Or even soft pants that pull straight down make things easier when they only have a few seconds to get on the potty itsef.
Be firm but lighten up
I made a big mistake with my firstborn. It was a stressful time for me and after a few accidents I reacted very negatively. Her progress immediately reversed and she would not have any part of potty training. We had to wait months to try again and then she got the hang of it.
If you ask the to sit on the potty, have them sit for a bit. You can say things like, "We want to pee on the potty, not the floor" in a firm voice, but do not overreact. Do not shame. Do not expect them to have the bladder of a 15 year old when they are 2.
And finally... some words of encouragement for the potty training mama...
"You can lead a toddler to the potty, but you can't make him pee." Anonymous
Just keep on keeping on...
Anne K says
haha like that leading toddler to pee quote. :)
my 2 year old runs right after seeing the potty she likes to wear diapers only thanks for your help
Rachel Norman says
Best of luck!
Thank you for this! I am currently potty training my 2nd. With my 1st, I too started to react negatively to her accidents. This really is the worst thing I could have done (still have guilt over it). This time I’ve lowered my expectations so there’s no pressure on her. I really find your tips and perspective helpful!
Rachel Norman says
I did the same, Veronica :)