While trying to prepare myself for motherhood and thinking of the challenges I'd have a tough time with, potty training wasn't at the top of my list. Weaning from the bottle, staying in their own bed, etc, I thought would be the worst. Our 2 year old did get potty training fairly well, however it was much more challenging than I thought it would be. Not so much for her, but for me.
When your child begins potty training it is a whole new level on your demands of being a parent. You now needed to remember to ask your child "Do you have to go potty?" every hour. And even if they say no, you still had to make them sit on the potty and at least try. At first, with busy schedules as everyone has, its hard to get out of the habit of saying, "Let's just put a pull-up on." or we'll try more tomorrow. So your first step as a parent, is again re-route your schedule. Which isn't an easy move at all!
After you as parents get the potty training mind set, you now have to get you child into the idea. Plus you now have to bring 3 or more changes of clothes with you no matter where you go. The much bigger challenge is to prepare your mind that your child may have an accident and you can't embarrass them if they do. Potty training requires a great deal of patience and for other mothers like myself, patience is not my best trait.
So now how do you motivate your child to potty train. My daughter started showing interest in potty training at about a year and a half and I was over excited. Then after two weeks or so, she completely lost interest. After she turned 2 my husband and I started bringing potty training to her attention again by simply putting the potty chair in the bathroom. She showed little interest, but we just kept doing little hints. Then about 4 - 5 months later, she turned the corner. Now, as much as I'd love to, we can't take complete credit for this turn around. Our day care center is great! They work really well with the children and have helped tremendously with the potty training step.
What worked very well with our child is that day care and us at home started a chart. Every time she went potty, she got to put a sticker on the chart. After a row of 10 was completed she could get a prize. We also let her pick out the stickers for the chart which she thought was pretty cool! Our child really kicked into potty training with the start of the chart. Within a month we were going accident free during the daytime. The goal of her chart at home was no longer to complete a row, it was to cover all the white space. At home we would also give her a Popsicle when she went potty. Many give candy, but trust me even when they get it, they still want that treat, so by the time they get potty training down pat, you might end up giving more candy than you'd like.
At night we still used a pull-up. Night time was the hardest part. In the morning we would reward her for having a dry pull-up with a Popsicle. We let her pick out her own big girl underwear. After a few months, we were able to get rid of the pull-up altogether. Our little girl was ready to use big gear underwear and get rid of that pull-up. Fortunately, 2 years later, we have yet to have a night time accident. Now our son who is still under a year, I have a pretty good feeling won't be as easy as his older sister was.