Potty Training During a Pandemic

Because Why Not Right?

We have been hearing from tons of parents and seeing hilarious meme’s and .gif’s all over the interwebs about kids who have decided (on their own, of course) that now is the time to potty train.

Maybe it’s because they are spending so much time in their PJ’s or if they are anything like my toddlers, in their birthday suits, running around the house and can’t be bothered to deal with the cumbersome diaper any longer. Good for them, go get em kiddo’s – just please spare Mom and Dad’s carpet and certainly do not follow the way of the family Cat.

If you have stairs or a portable potty it can be super helpful for you to have a couple of options for the kiddos, as they tend to find choice to be an ally during these pressing occasions. (There are links to some potties which are popular with the kids at the bottom of this post.)

Ms. Haley (our resident potty training magician, head child development teacher of our 2’s program,) put together some super helpful info to assist you in this effort. Whether you decided it’s the right time (which isn’t a bad idea) or if this is in fact a mission driven by that highly ambitious, time optimizing child of yours. here is a helpful guide to:

Potty Training During the Pandemic 

If this has been a hard transition for your family, it might not be the best time to try potty training. Often when kiddos are struggling with change, they have a difficult time learning and retaining skills. But, as your family is getting settled into this new normal, your child may begin showing interest in potty training. So, incase you need it, here is the method and strategies we’ve had success with so far. 

Reachers tell us:

  • There is no universal method, or right way to potty train. What works for one family, one child, or one caregiver, isn’t always going to work for the next.
  • There isn’t an age that indicates potty training readiness, they need to be ready physically and emotionally. At around 18 months, most children develop control over their bowel and bladder. While there is an estimate time a child is physically ready, being emotionally ready happens based on each individual kiddo. 
  • Signs they’re ready
    • They stay dry for  2+ hours.
    • They follow simple instructions. 
    • They may go into a different room and/or hide when having a bowel movement. 
    • They ask to be changed after using their diaper. 
    • They have an interest and desire to try on the potty. 

Some strategies we’ve used: 

When potty training at the club, our method is to foster each child’s desire for independence while using strategies to build confidence. As potty training will likely the first time that a child has complete control, our job is to teach the child the skills they  need and provide support as they utilize them. 

  • Talk about it
    • Before you start potty training, spend time talking about how they’ll soon be trading their diaper for the potty. Bring them to the bathroom with you, look at books or watch videos about going potty so they’ll know what to expect. 
  • Make the bathroom a comfortable space
    • You could let them decorate the bathroom with pictures and drawings, write their name on their potty chair, or maybe bring their favorite books or toys. It’s all about finding what brings them comfortable.
  • Bathroom skills
    • Work on pulling down/up their pants independently, encourage them to try going, show how to wipe and flush, and finish with hand washing. 
  • Bring them to the bathroom consistently
    • At first, try bringing them to the bathroom (at least to try) every 15-30 minutes. A timer is your friend. 
    • Once they seem more confident going on the potty independently (having less accidents,) bathroom reminders can fit into your schedule. We remind our potty trainers to try before/after meals, outside time, long activities, and nap-time. 
  • Accidents.
    • Your kiddo is going to have accidents, and sometimes you’ll lose your patience. That’s okay! Take a deep breath and remember you’ve got this, they’ve got this, and you’re both doing your best. 
    • When they have an accident, make sure to talk about how having accidents impacts them. You could point out that they have to stop playing, they feel gross, or maybe the cartoon character on their undies was their favorite and now they’re dirty. 
    • When kiddos successfully go on the potty, it is the perfect time to draw attention to how proud they should be of themselves.
      • Show them how great it can feel to be proud of something they’ve done, a self motivated potty trainer can make all the difference.

Other Tips: 

  • While the strategies shared have worked for us and some of the families at the Club, they aren’t the only options. Many families have had success using home-based methods. A popular home based method that may work better for your family is called, “Oh Crap! Potty Training” by Jamie Glowacki. 
  • An important part of potty training is learning to go on the toilet wherever and whenever you need to go. During a pandemic, stuck at home, it may become challenging to teach that concept. While you may not be going out, try to have multiple conversations about how, in the future, they will use the bathroom outside of the home. You could try to spend time in the backyard or take a portable potty on a walk to get them potty training in a new environment. 
  • A common mistake is asking a child if they need to go potty. While we want to give  them control, they’re a toddler and toddlers love to say no whenever prompted. Instead, when it’s time for them to try or you see a potty dance starting, be firm with your expectations. While staying firm, it is also important that potty training doesn’t turn into a power struggle. If they really don’t want to try but you know they need to you’ll have to get creative, maybe try a race to the bathroom!

Some Great Resources: 

Here are some inexpensive potty’s you could order in from Amazon if you are looking for one:

The girls like the ones with stairs to head up to the potty (and handles) and they also like ones with sides that are portable so they feel snug while they do their business (or something like that.)

Good Luck.



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