Today we start “potty practice” in our house. I’m not calling it training, although we are going cold turkey and completely saying goodbye for diapers during the day (including naps). We have had mornings where we do this, but since this is C’s Spring Break from preschool, we are devoting an entire week to this endeavor.

Ideally, I might have waited until past C’s 3rd birthday to do this, but at that point I’ll most likely have a 3 week old or younger, so there will be no potty practice going on then. And C’s last day of school is two days after my due date. There is no way we’re practicing using the potty when I’m overdue. Since this is the largest chunk of time we’ll have before C becomes a big brother, its time to suck it up and give it out best shot. (NOTE: If potty training totally does not happen this week, I am okay with it. I would love for him to be potty trained pre-baby, but if not, we’ll try and deal with it later in the summer.)

The thought of being housebound with a child I have to watch like a hawk for signs of needing to potty for an entire week is a little scary to me. So, I sat down to make a list of activities that would be easy to do and would hold his attention for about 20 minutes, without being so absorbing he wouldn’t break for the potty. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Set the table – I’ll make a place setting template and let him lay out the silverware and dishes.
  • Baking soda and vinegar – I’ll tint the vinegar and let him watch the different colors bubble.
  • “Fishing” with a slotted spoon – Erin gave me this idea; fill a bowl with water and some small, lightweight toys and let your toddler fish them out with a slotted spoon.
  • Make binoculars – I have several empty toilet paper rolls, so we may end up making a few pairs if it goes over well.
  • Finger Painting
  • Spin Art – we make ours in a salad spinner, and C loves this activity. It is low mess, should be easy to pause if we need to potty, and always a hit at our house.
  • Easter Bunny Lunch – we will be repeating this hit!
  • Car races in empty wrapping paper tubes
  • Cars in Bean Bin – this is a fun sensory activity, but one that tends to absorb C a lot. We did this on a previous potty day and it was a little too engrossing.
  • Bean Transferring – transfer beans from a bowl to a cup with a spoon.
  • Make a Popsicle stick puzzle – use large craft sticks and a favorite picture to make your own puzzle; double the fun since you can make it and then play with it over and over.
  • Water color painting
  • Sorting Snacks – mix small, dry snacks and have toddler sort them. When the sorting’s done, it’s snack time!
  • Washing – we do this frequently in our kitchen, and C loves to wash a variety of toys.
  • Ladling water into buckets – this is an outside activity we will do if it is warm enough.
  • Sandbox – I assume this could be dangerous, so I plan only to do this towards the end of the week if C seems to be getting the hang of things.
  • Practice Pouring – another outside activity, if it is warm.
  • Feely bag – put a few toys in a bag, have child close his eyes, reach in and feel an object. Then he has to guess what it is.
  • Matching – I took photos of some of C’s vehicles, animals and letter blocks and printed them out. He has to match the object to the picture. So far we have done this with his vehicles only, and the actual matching part was very easy. This kept him occupied for a surprising amount of time, as he then purposely did them wrong, demonstrated to me how to match the cars, and drove the cars to and from their spots while humming a special song.
  • Stickers – cheap and always a hit.
  • Cutting practice
  • Gluing shapes
  • Tracing pages – I’ve pinned a couple that are tracing lines or letters I think will work well
  • Have a picnic – weather permitting
  • Egg hunt – indoor or outdoor, or both!
  • Foam stickers – C loves doing these
  • Paint Chip Matching
  • Letter, matching, and number worksheets – I pinned some of these a long time ago and think they will be fun now, as C had developed in interest in letters and numbers. I’d like to do some upper and lowercase matching with him, as he is beginning to identify lowercase letters more consistently.
  • Make our own playdough
  • Laundry Basket Toss – toss soft balls/bean bags/washcloths into a laundry basket.
  • Dot Markers and dot coloring sheets
  • Cut a banana – use a plastic knife to practice cutting skills
  • Shaving cream play – our bathtub is out of commission, so we’ll do this on a tray
  • Pom-Pom Transferring – use tongs or tweezers to move pom-poms from a tray into a bowl.
  • Snack letters – put snack (goldfish, small crackers, raisins, etc.) on the outline of a letter.
  • Grow Animals – the Easter Bunny brought those capsules that dissolve in warm water to reveal spongy animals, should be fun!

Surely this list will get us through the week, right? C will also probably help me with cooking dinner, and we’ll also probably spend some time free playing with favorite toys (this list is for when one of us needs a change of pace – now I won’t have to scramble to pull together a fun activity!). I’ve gotten a whole stack of new books from the library to read while we sit on the potty and just for fun.

But, just in case I burn through all my activities in two days, what are some things you love to do with your kids that will help keep us both sane?