Potty Training Tips from a Mom of 5

Potty training is something I know very well in the McClelland household. Since we have 4 sons that are all a year apart from each other, we literally potty trained for 4 straight years. It’s funny – every time one of the boys was trained… there was another one ready to go! For us, we started training the boys when they were about 2 ½ years old. They were registered to attend a preschool that required them to be fully potty trained by the age of 3, so we had a potty training goal.

Believe me, it wasn’t always easy.

I used to get so jealous of the moms who would tell me, “He just decided he wanted to do it, and he did!” Viola!

Yeah, it wasn’t that easy for us, with any of them.

Potty Training Tips

I literally think we had a plastic potty in front of the TV in our living room for 4 solid years. You know, just in case!

Over the years I guess you can say I became a potty training expert. I knew all the tricks. I knew all the tips. I knew all the “right” books to read. I knew all the “perfect” must-haves to have at home. We had – for awhile – a full potty training arsenal at our house. I’ll never forget one afternoon at our pool club a few years ago, Henry (my youngest son) was about 4 at the time, a woman came up to me with her 3 year-old son in tow. She said to me, “With 4 sons, you must be a pro at potty training. Can you please help me? We’ve tried everything!”

I guess once you’ve trained 4 kids, word gets around that you must know what you’re doing.

Here are my Top Potty Training Tips:

1. Once you start, you can’t go back. You really need to commit to doing it and just sticking with it. I remember with my oldest son William, we started and then stopped and then started and then stopped again. It confused him. Once we finally made the decision to just do it and not stop till we had it down, we were good.
2. Charts and stickers work like magic. We created a gigantic potty training chart for each of the boys out of simple poster board. We created a grid on the chart and every single time they went, they got to put a sticker up on the board. Each week we would tally up how many times they “did it” without an accident and they would be rewarded if they had over 10 stickers. The rewards were things like ice cream, balloons, extra time at the playground, things that we knew they would get excited about at that young age. This worked like magic because they loved seeing and interacting with the chart.
3. A potty training watch was key – we used The Potty Watch with the boys. Most of potty training is reminding your child that it’s time to go potty or asking them if they have to go. With the Potty Watch there’s a built-in timer that takes care of that job for you. Every time the watch “goes off,” it’s time to try to go. It actually became a fun game for them.
4. Stack of books near the toilet or potty. You never want to rush your child when they’re in the potty training mode. I think I used to read about 10 books to my Henry every time he had to go potty. It relaxed him and he didn’t feel pressured to go in that moment. Since I didn’t want him to have an accident later, I would just let him sit there with me till he went. Books were always an easy distraction for the boys.
5. Use Pampers Easy Ups. These are the best to potty train with for your kids. Since overnight was always the toughest part and the boys never wanted to wear a standard diaper after we started potty training, Pampers Easy Ups worked perfectly. These were also great to use on car rides and when you knew you weren’t going to be home for hours at a time. The best part is that the Easy Ups have fewer leaks than Huggies Pull-ups*, so you’re getting better leakage protection.
6. Target practice (for boys). With boys, aiming is key when it comes to potty training, too. After my sons started to get the timing down, it was important to start teaching them to pee standing up. I used Cheerios cereal in the toilet for them to aim at while peeing. They needed to “hit” the Cheerio (or at least aim for it). They loved it! As they got better at it, I started pouring bubbles into the toilet, so as they went, bubbles were created. They loved that, too!

My sons were all potty trained by 3 years old. It was something that I was truly proud of once we had 4 “big” boys in the house. It’s funny, for me the toughest part was saying good-bye to diapers. They were in our house for 6 years straight!

Fortunately, our house became filled again with diapers 21 months ago!

Baby Spa Robe

Victoria, isn’t quite ready yet, but we know it’s going to be here in the blink of an eye! I’ve “heard” training girls is easier than boys.

We shall see! ☺

*based on size 4 Learning Designs.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored posting with Cafe Mom and Pampers. All opinions are 100% my own.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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