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Kristin Fuerst

How to Prepare Baby (and Yourself) for Potty Training

Transitioning baby from diapers to the potty is cause for celebration, but it also comes with a lot of confusion. We’ve got expert tips and mom-tested products to help you handle this huge milestone like a pro.

In a dream world…

After just a few “pee-pee on the potty” explanations, he takes to this long-awaited milestone like a duck to (toilet) water. He heads to the potty chair on his own, motioning you over in plenty of time to help him out of his clothes without having to strip him like he’s on fire. You can finally give up having to wonder if the focused look on his face is because he’s really into that toy or he just really has to go.

In reality…

Take your dreams of never rinsing out a pair of pants again and flush them—at least for now. With no rhyme or reason, he flips between telling you he has to go (with about three seconds to spare) and having an accident, which always seems to occur on the day you left his backup pants at home. You’ll give him anything to get with the program: The remote control? Your wallet? The car keys? You got it—just please pee in the bowl!

Make this milestone easier

Don’t be a pusher
It’s clear why you’re ready for this achievement, but he may not be on the same timeline yet, physically or emotionally. To prevent turning him off to the whole idea, only introduce the concept if he shows key signs of readiness, including an ability to follow directions, an interest in wearing undies and an expressed awareness of when it’s time to get down to business. This usually occurs between ages two and two and a half.

Give some context
To you, the potty seat is the answer to your prayers. To him, it might as well be a spaceship—or just another place to store his toy cars. Get started by explaining what it’s used for directly and simply. There are lots of potty-themed books to help show him and get him interested, or you might also consider allowing your child to see you use the toilet, or emptying the contents of a diaper into the seat to help him make the connection.

Throw a parade
OK, that’s a little much…and we doubt your bathroom is that large. But be sure to shower him with praise every time he goes in the potty chair—even when he attempts it but doesn’t make it in time. Some kids take to the novelty of their own personal throne and like to sit on it even when they have no intention of making a deposit. While this may be frustrating, show him you’re excited that he’s taking interest.

Mom-tested helpers

Because we know how strapped you are for time, we rounded up sanity-saving products from Walmart that’ll help you and baby breeze through this milestone. Instead of heading to a million different stores, you can make one stop for everything your family needs—even groceries. Looking for a bigger time saver? Order these items online while baby’s napping and have them shipped direct, or do a same-day pickup at your local store later.

1. BabyBjorn Smart Potty
It’s all smiles and stickers until you realize that his potty isn’t hooked up to any plumbing. This space-saving model has a removable inner bowl for easy cleanup and splash guards to prevent spills (unintentional, that is).

2. Charlie Banana Extraordinary Training Pants in CB Blue Chevron or Cherries
As they say, fake it till you make it. The fun prints on these briefs will entice baby to be a “big kid” and get used to wearing underwear, but they also have an absorbent pad and a waterproof outer layer to keep unforeseen accidents in check.

3. Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants for Boys and Girls
Perfect for potty training during the day while still offering overnight protection, these disposable training pants are easy for your toddler to pull up and down—and they have familiar characters that fade when wet to help him learn.

4. Parent’s Choice Flushable Toddler Wipes
Let’s face it: Even once he permanently leaves diapers behind, you’re still going to have to give your toddler a little assistance with (ahem) clean up. These gentle but strong wipes get the job done, and they’re flushable too. (Available for purchase in Walmart stores.)

The Bump teamed up with Walmart to bring you Real-Life Milestone Moments, a sponsored series full of solutions for the big, sometimes bumpy, journey through parenthood. With sanity-saving products and services like same-day pickup and stores open 24/7, (Walmart)[http://walmart.com] is all about making life easier for new moms.

Photo: Getty Images