How to Potty Train Your Monster

Okay so yes, this is the name of a really funny children's book that I highly recommend reading, especially if you are in the potty training phase. My 6 year old daughter still loves to read it, even though she has been potty trained for over 4 years now (thank God!) and is reading chapter books. She giggles out loud and takes long pauses to study each and every funny illustration. It will put a smile on your face during this trying phase of parenting, as your little monster outgrows his diapers.

If only potty training were as simple as this entertaining little read. Though you might be one of the lucky parents and have a toddler potty train herself, like my second one did, but if not, I truly hope you don't have a similar experience to the one I had with my older daughter. The whole experience was such a monstrosity, that I almost didn't want to have a second kid and have to go through it all over again.

So how exactly do you know your little monster has outgrown her diapers and is ready for potty training? There's really no definitive answer to this question, but it's usually around 2 for little girl monsters and a little later for the boys. I would recommend getting a potty chair and putting it in the bathroom on the floor and just see if they show interest. Once they show interest in the mini potty, that's a sign they could be ready to ditch the diapers. The one we used had it's very own toilet paper holder, which every little monster loves to play with. Be careful not to leave your monster alone with that toilet paper roll. They have been known to love to unwind the whole thing and make a toilet paper mess.

Okay back to business. The really important thing to remember about potty training is that once you decide they are ready, you need to have a plan and stick to it. If you start potty training for a few days and then stop and go back to diapers, it might be a while before they show signs of being ready again.

Whatever your plan is, you'll want to pick a time when you can dedicate a few days at home right near the potty. I don't recommend starting potty training within a couple of weeks of traveling. You'll also want to decide which diaper replacement to use. Pull-ups are a good choice. We used potty training underwear that are thicker than regular underwear. Some parents swear by the nude method. Letting your little monster run around pantless for a couple of days so that they can feel the very slightest trickle of wetness come on and get to the potty quickly.

Remember to use lots of praise and positive reinforcement right from the start. Now, I don't recommend flat out bribery or candy rewards, but stickers and temporary tattoos are a good option. The other positive reinforcement that worked for me was immediately emptying the potty chair into the toilet, and letting your little monster flush themselves. My daughters loved being able to flush the toilet themselves and saying goodbye to their pee! Though it seems that years later this novelty has worn off. I'm constantly going around the house flushing unflushed toilets and I'm pretty sure my husband remembers to flush and wash after going to the bathroom. I also recommend getting some cute books like How to Potty Train Your Monster for your little monster to have next to his potty.

After your little monster starts to get the hang of peeing on the potty, you'll want to remember to bring a change of clothes wherever you go. Accidents do happen! The last thing I will say about potty training is have patience. If you're not one of those lucky ones who's monster is well trained after just a few days, it could take anywhere from a couple of months to even a year, so don't give up. Stay consistent with your plan and take deep breaths. Remember I mentioned that I almost didn't have a second kid after going through it once? It took my first daughter almost a year to be fully potty trained. It was a period of parenthood that took me almost to the end of my patience. But thankfully now I have two beautiful (and potty trained) big monsters!

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