Oh the joys of potty training. It has to be one of my least favorite tasks as a parent, but it's also one of those milestones that you breathe a sigh of relief over once it's done.

My daughter is 2 1/2 and is the third child. This isn't my first time training, but my other two were boys. My boys were much older when they were trained, 3 1/2 and 4. They simply weren't ready. My daughter has been showing signs of readiness for the last few months and with baby #4 due in under 3 months, it would be nice not to have two in diapers!

When I talk of signs of readiness, I'm referring to her showing interest in the toilet, telling me when she's soiled her diaper, and the fact that she is simply not interested in wearing her diaper.

When you decide that it's time, my biggest piece of advice would be to devote a few days entirely to the process. If you get caught up doing something else while attempting to set your new routine, chances are, they aren't going to get it. However, if you are right there with them every step of the way and watch for cues when they are ready to use the potty, it will be much more successful.

Sounds fun, right?

Well, the truth is, there will be challenges along the way and being stuck in the house for a few days at the start may not be loads of fun unless you think ahead a bit. Here are a few tips for passing the time while potty training.

Be prepared Plan a special shopping trip and bring your child along. Buy things like Pampers Easy Ups, underwear, treats or small toys, a potty book, a portable potty and your child's favorite drink. Helping your child understand the process and involving her is key.

Puzzles and books My child loves when I read to her, as most do. Reading books on the floor with a portable potty right nearby is a great way to pass the time. We have a specific potty book that she knows by heart and can recite to me. I think it's helped her grasp what she should be doing.

Pretend play Pretend play is a great activity for children of potty-training age. If you are spending the first few days of your potty training journey at home to get a solid start, this is a great play option to pass the time. Find a toy potty and baby doll and have the doll go potty with your little one. Model hand washing, potty celebration dances, and positive reinforcement with the doll to show your little one how potty training is a fun and a positive experience. This will reinforce the skills you are teaching.

Push fluids

Set a timer until the next potty try and encourage your child to take in a lot of fluids while you're waiting. The more your child is drinking, the sooner she will need to use the potty. My daughter loves apple juice, so while potty training we have had juice boxes on hand. It keeps her hydrated and has helped her recognize cues for when she needs to go.

Make the transition with training pants

Training pants are a great way to keep accidents at bay but allow your child the freedom to pull them up and down. We like the ease of Pampers Easy Ups for nighttime training as well and when we are out and about running errands. I've noticed that my little one is excited to wear them because of the Dora the Explorer design and it makes the process a little easier on both of us when she is enthusiastic about her Easy Ups.

These are some of the things that have been working for us as we potty train and work to pass the time and keep our little girl motivated.