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How to take the poo out of potty training

Elizabeth Weiss McGolerick is a freelance writer and editor who contributes regularly to SheKnows, MintLife, AOL, iVillage and other sites. In her articles, Elizabeth covers a variety of subjects including relationships, pregnancy, paren...

Make this milestone less messy

You have to dump the pee and poop into the regular toilet and then clean out your child’s potty. Ew. You have to deal with public restrooms. Ew.
Potty training

Potty training isn’t always pretty, but there are some clever products and techniques that can help make this milestone a little less messy.

Flush your love-hate relationship with potty training down the toilet.

You can make it through potty training unscathed. A little creativity (like having boys face backwards facing the tank to pee), some well-implemented potty training products, plenty of patience and a good sense of humor will help you conquer the more challenging moments and make this milestone far more fun for your child too.

Potty Watch

Take your potty-training time

“Let your kids be potty trained when they're ready and save yourself a lot of accidents! That will definitely take the ick factor out,” says mom Laura W. “Diapers keep things contained until you're ready to deal with them.” Once you do begin potty training and have dedicated a few days at home to work on it, the Potty Watch (pottytimeinc.com, $10) can keep you and your child on track, reminding everyone that it’s time to take another trip to the potty and helping to eliminate underwear accidents.
Soap

May the suds be with you

Teaching your child to use the potty is one challenge, but instructing them to wipe properly is another inevitably messy venture. A clever gadget like the SoapTime (mysoaptime.com, $17) hand-washing system engages kids at the sink and encourages them to go to the bathroom often and wash properly afterward. The battery-operated base plays unique songs, factoids or a quiet LED light show when the nozzle is pushed. Get 20 seconds of sink-side entertainment to keep everyone clean and sanitary after potty time.
Pooh Potty Seas

Portable potty solutions

If you detest using public restrooms, think about how grossed out you will be by this encounter when you have to introduce your child to the experience. Boys might not be tall enough to pee standing up, girls have not yet mastered the “squat.” The seat covers are not helpful for the tiniest of bottoms that could easily fall in so, for desperate times like these, stuff your bottomless mom bag with a portable folding potty seat (Potty Training Concepts, $15). Tip: Carry it in a plastic bag and disinfect immediately upon returning home.

6 Best-kept potty training secrets >>

Stick to it

The biggest thing to know about potty training is to make sure your child is developmentally prepared to tackle this hurdle. You may have a child who is advanced in every other way, but the potty is still of little interest. That’s OK. But it can help to expose your child to the potty experience. “I put Macee's potty in the bathroom and waited for her to go to it,” says mom Heather M. “It also helped that there was an older girl at her sitter’s that made her want to do it more.”

Get your child potty trained fast >>

Add a little color

“Turning potty training into a fun game can further entice little ones to use the toilet,” says Lilly Cueto, spokesperson for SoapTime®. “One way to do this is to dye the toilet water with blue or red food coloring. Once the toddlers use the potty, they turn the water into an orange or green color. Children will get a kick out of changing the color and will be more eager to join parents in the bathroom for potty training time.”

Differences between potty training and poopy training >>

Incentives don’t hurt

Having something to work toward will certainly encourage your child to put more effort into learning this new skill. Offer monetized reward tickets for each potty trip that your child can then “redeem” for a much-desired item. Create punch cards — every potty trip gets a punch, and when your child gets to the designated number, they receive a surprise. The reward can also be less literal. “We made a poster of superheroes saving the city,” says dad Lee W. “Every time they went, a sticker took out a villain. The chart was filled in two weeks."

Read more articles about potty training

18 Best potty training books and videos
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10 Potty training secrets

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