Updated: Oct 31, 2019
Inside: What's it look like to go around with a diaper-free child? Here's a day in the life of a potty training toddler.
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When I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t seek out everyone’s opinion on everything, but I did reach out for one particular inside peek into what to expect.
Other mamas’ birth stories. I wanted to hear as many of the day in the life of what happened when their baby came. I read this book (twice) for in-depth storytelling of childbirth and definitely asked friends, my mom, anyone who was willing to share how their birth day unfolded.
Same rules apply with potty training.
When you’re potty training for the first time, you wonder what this diaper-free time will look like.
You can imagine it. Much like camping when you’ve never slept under the stars.
But one thing that can trip you up when you start to potty train is not knowing what it will look like. If this is your first go at potty training it can feel pretty intimidating.
How will the day flow? What do you DO all day?
And what happens when something's new and unfamiliar? I can speak for myself and say *fear* often sneaks in.
So I set out to create a simplified play-by-play of a day in the life of a potty training toddler.
Of course, each potty training journey will look a little different. And of course, you may hit bumps along the way. (And if you do, well then right this way to my oh-so-helpful Potty Training Solutions e-course.)
This day-in-the-life doesn't represent the first day or so (when you're at home in Block One of Oh Crap Potty Training), but it shows how potty training evolves after you're catching some pees and poops in the potty at home..
Even after the first couple days of potty training, it takes time for it all *to click* with your toddler. And you want to set your child up for success. That means it helps to start the day bottomless to catch that first big pee, or poop in the potty. Then add in pants and move on with your morning.
What's for Breakfast and Snack?
What is the best way to help the poops along? It's not high fiber, like you may think. The best way to keep poops moving along smoothly, and avoid toddler constipation, is by adding healthy full fat foods into your child's diet. That means foods like coconut milk and avocado.
Related: Sign up for my Potty Training Cheatsheets and I'll include a printable recipe for a coconut milk smoothie that helps the poop!
Fiber can actually work in reverse if you give *too much* when there's not enough hydration to absorb all that fiber. You don't have that issue with healthy full fats.
Get some fresh air!
So now your child is catching pees in the potty, eating healthy full fats to help the poop, and you all need some fresh air — or the energy is going to go cuckoo-cachoo fast. So that's where you want to wait till you catch a good pee and then have your bag packed with all the essentials for a short outing.
My go-to travel kit includes this travel potty with the silicone liner, a wet-dry pouch which can hold dry clothes and wipes (and wet clothes in case of accident) or can be used to stash the fold-down travel potty, and wipes so you're ready for anything.
Then head out to the playground or something that feels easy and no pressure — and some place you can bolt if you need to rush out (potty emergency!) or pull out the travel potty if you need to.
Practice the Pants
You're back at home and you're trying to trust your child, but it's hard to team up with a toddler when you yourself don't know what this is supposed to look like. So, work on a skill that will help move your child through the blocks of potty training.
Have a pants dress up party with your toddler!
Whether your kiddo wears pants or leggings (or both), set it up as a fun game where your child shows you how big he is and practices pushing down pants all by himself.
Most mamas wait to potty train at night until the daytime is rolling. (Myself included.) That being said, it's never too early to start the routine of getting a good pee in the potty before bedtime. You want to have a small potty set up in the child's bedroom near by their bed.
Figure out when the last pee fits in well to your bedtime routine (we like to do it right after books are read), and then if you're not night training you can simply put on the nighttime diaper or pullup, and then give your kiddo bedtime snuggles.
It's always great to remind your toddler, in that quiet of bedtime, how big he is and praise on all the big things he did that day.
We went to the playground and you peed in the green potty, buddy. Nice work!
And last (but not least!), find some relaxation or a way to recharge yourself in the evening. Potty training can feel draining, so make sure you're taking good care of you!
Maybe that even includes settling in with a good book.
By the way, the more you make everyday things feel routine, the easier the days feel.
(Of course, they will still have their meltdown moments, but it definitely helps the frequency of those tantrums if your child has a better feeling of knowing what to expect, and how things are done.)
So here are some books I love in talking through the everyday ordinary things that can sometimes bring up the most resistance (hello, brushing my toddler's teeth!).
1. How to Bathe Your Little Dinosaur: Toddlers love to act out the roles we do as parents, so here's a sweet board book that talks through how you can bathe a little dinosaur (who doesn't want to take a bath).
2. How to Brush Your Teeth with Snappy Croc: We'd read this on repeat, and then I would ask my kiddo to show me his best crocodile smile. Books like this are a great way to spark some playfulness around routines with your child.
3. Now I Am Big: End the day with highlighting all the big stuff your toddler is doing these days. Because the more you praise the things they're doing independently, the more they want to take on new things.
4. I Can Do It Myself: Here's a secret. I love this book so much, it's been one of my gifts for friends at their baby shower as a personal favorite for a children's library. The illustrations are so good, and the message is perfect for young toddlers.
5. I Know A Lot: Another favorite from this children's book series that reinforces that I Can Do It Myself nature in toddlers that comes on strong.
6. Ninja Potty Break: I know you're on this blog because you're looking for potty training help. With normalizing using new bathrooms, this book is my favorite (and even shows what a public restroom looks like).
7. How to Tuck in Your Sleepy Lion: This lion does not want to go to bed? What can we do? A fun board book that talks through bedtime routines.
The more normalized the everyday things feel, and the more playful we can be about doing these little routine jobs (like peeing in the potty), the less likely you'll see intense protests coming from your small human.
Illustrations: Citrus and Mint Designs