Tip Tuesday — Potty Training

pottyNo, this is not about getting your post-pregnancy body back in shape. Today we’re talking about a little training for the kidlets.

I’m pretty excited that I shan’t be needing this advice again for another year and a half or so. In fact, I may decide not to potty train Magoo at all. When he turns 6 or 7, I’m sure his friends will make fun of him until he figures out what’s up.

For me, potty training Laylee has been a wild ride. It’s taken us over a year and she is finally about 90% trained during the day. Pull-ups are worn at night, except when they’re not.

Our main problem was that we tried to force it before she was ready. We got the book, courtesy of Grammy. We did all the steps but she just couldn’t make it happen. She really had no idea when the pee was coming.

Me: So, where do we do our pee pee?
Me: That’s right. Are you dry?
Laylee: YES!
Me: Great.
Laylee: Oh NO! WAHHHHH!

Big puddle.

So my main advice is – don’t attempt it before they’re ready and don’t turn it into a battle. Go at their pace and have patience that they’ll figure it out sometime before Junior High.

One of my favorite young mom friends told me that she just made it a game. Let’s see how long we can keep a pull-up dry today. When it got wet, oh well, the diaper came back out. Eventually when they could keep it dry for a good chunk of the day, they got to try it with real underwear. She said this worked great and they had very few accidents by the time they transitioned to the real deal.

My main regrets come from the times I made Laylee feel guilt or shame for her accidents. She was little and she was learning how her body worked. Once I stopped chastising and started commiserating with her and cheering her on to do better next time, we started to see real progress.

I’d love to hear any fabulous suggestions you have.

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45 Responses to Tip Tuesday — Potty Training

  1. Ashley says:

    Yay, I am the very first to comment on this. Actually this is my very first comment on a blog…ever. First, I want to say that I love this blog and it keeps me very entertained while my 12 and half pound 4 week old enjoys his “buffet-o-breast.” Anyway, here is my potty traing advice. Skip the Pull-ups. Take your kiddo to the store to pick out undies. Mine happened to choose Dora. I explained that she sure as heck didn’t want to get Dora wet, so when she had to go pee-pee, she better go on the potty. In the mean time I called my mom and warned her that when my little girl went on the potty for the first time we were going to have a pee-pee party, and call “DORA” to tell her the good news. My mom was to play the role of Dora. So do the same for yours. Arrange for a relative or friend to play the role of your kid’s hero, so she can call them and share the good news. Then you can throw a pee-pee party of your own. Of course it isn’t that easy. Your probably going to have to take her to the potty like 38 times to try before she makes water, but when she does…don’t hold back! Get out the pots and pans and run around banging them with spoons. Sing a pee-pee song and do a pee-pee dance and make that magical phone call! It really is fun.

  2. Shannon says:

    Yes I too would LOVE to hear some suggestions! My almost 3 year old boy wants nothing to do with the potty. He knows how it works he just doesn’t like it. He also would sit in a poo diaper alllllll day long if I would let him. UURRGGHHHHH…..his poo is so real boy like poo smells like something died twice. Your post did however remind me that I shouldn’t push my kids into going. My grandmother is telling me Madison who isnt even 18 months should be on the potty….for cryin out loud!!!!!

  3. Abby says:

    I really think potty training is a parental readiness as well as a child readiness thing. If you’re not ready to put on the undies and never go back, (except at night) you should wait.
    We have had lots of success with the cold turkey method. We had the potty out for about a month, where it could be sat upon or not, and then we picked out underware and boxed up the diapers. Pull-ups are not diapers. They are princess night time panties, or a Buzz Light year force field. No one wears diapers once you have put on under ware. It just isn’t done.

    The first 3 or 4 days were wet and sticky, but after that things began to dry up. There were/are a few accidents, but they lessened with time. I even potty trained the little boy I watch during the day.

    Just remember they don’t want to fail either. Build them up and try really hard not to get mad. Take care of the bad without much fuss and talk about how much better they will be next time.

    As far as night time dryness, I have a nephew that is 10 and still not dry at night. He is a “cool” kid and it is the worst thing ever for him. They have been to several specialists, tried medication, but he still wets the bed. They say he will eventually grow out of it. So be patient. Bladder control comes slower for some.

  4. owlhaven says:

    Mary’s Potty Hints

    1.) I agree with Ashley–skip the pullups. They delay training terribly.

    2.) Wait til at least age 2-1/2 to try. Sure, some kids can learn sooner, but many can’t, and it’s mom, not the kid who goes nuts while trying to coax a not-ready kid.

    3.) An easy effective potty reward is marshmallows. Put a bowl full near the bathroom and use as a reward (at first) for trying, and later, for actual success.

    4.) Even once they get the concept, expect accidents for 6 months or so. Stock your car with needed extra outfits, etc. And MANY kids need an additional year or two to learn night-time dryness.

    5.) If you have an over-3 child who is very stubborn about poop messes (resists using the toilet), try involving him/her in the cleanup. Yeah, it is messy and is actually more work in the short run than doing it yourself. But in my experience, when the kid realizes he is causing HIMSELF work, he’ll get more serious about getting to the potty. And most kids over 3 CAN get there when sufficiently motivated.


    Mary, mom to 8, (7 potty trained!)

  5. krista says:

    my son AIdan was in full time daycare when he was potty trained, and the daycare used smarties to help potty train. He got one smartie if he went pee in the potty. I didn’t really agree with their method (bribery with junk food!?) but it was working, so I let it go.

    I think I’m probably going to use the same method with my second little guy because it really worked well with Aidan. He was just a little over 2 years old when we stopped using diapers. It was amazing.

  6. Jennie C. says:

    Well, I’ve potty trained four kids and I still haven’t got the foggiest clue how it works! Still, number five has a little potty which she loves to sit on. She’s not even two yet, so she’s young, but she loves farting to applause. Sometimes, a little something comes out with all that pushing, and she is heartily congratulated. In a few months, I’ll break out the stack of training undies, which are extra thick to catch dribbles. They still feel wet, and it helps the child to know she’s gotta go. After a while, you get to be pretty sure that they can go when they need to, but they aren’t because life is too much fun to waste it on the potty, and then a little scolding for peeing on the couch/bed/carpet gets thier attention. I know, you aren’t supposed to scold them, but honestly, nothing bad happens. After the first successful dry night, we have a No More Diapers party. There is cake and singing and the new toilet user is ever so proud.

  7. Jeana says:

    Sorry, but I’ve had the urge to do this ever since the FIRST post title involving the emergency weener.

    “I wish I were a Magoo Emergency weener
    That is what I really want to be.
    ‘cuz if I were a Magoo Emergency Weener
    Then everyone would be in love with me.”

    Okay, now that that’s out of my system…with all four of my kids, who all “potty trained” (majority day time, like you said) at different ages, there were always some lingering occasional accidents until they were about three. Even when they figure out the mechanics, knowing how long you can hold it is sort of an art form that has to be developed. glad she’s come so far!

  8. Longos3 says:

    Hey there, first time poster, but I read the blog everyday. Big fan. My daughter didn’t train until she was 3 years old. We’d tried a little before with the pull ups, but trust me, kids know they’re just a pull on diaper. I knew she was ready but we were going to be moving a a few months and staying at my husbands house for up to a month and I didn’t want her to regress and get discouraged. So we waited until we got to our new place. We went straight to the thick training panties. My daughter was fully trained in 3 days, nights too. I bought one of those waterproof bed liners and we put it on the bed. She slept in the big girl undies. She had accidents the first 2 nights, which I expected so I didn’t make a big deal. Told her it was okay she just needed to learn to listen to her body. She didn’t like waking up in the middle of the night in a wet bed. It probably helped that she was capable for so long before we actually started. Hope this helps someone.

  9. Gabriela says:

    I agree with the not doing it until they are good and ready. I pushed my daughter because I was about to have #2 and it was the worst 6 weeks of my parenting life. The next two have been MUCH less painful. I also agree with no pull-ups, those things are just expensive diapers.

    Here’s something I did with 2 of my kids (#2 potty trained himself); it may sound extravagent, but it helped a lot. I started with small treats but eventually reached the “Sure, I’m not going to be buying diapers anymore but I am going to be spending 4X that in dental bills” phase. They seriously would pee 4 drops and want the treat!

    So, I went to the dollar store and bought some little presents, wrapped them up and kept them in a basket somewhere visible. My daughter had a sticker chart, 10 stickers= 1 present. My son, not quite as far along mentally as she was, didn’t understand the sticker chart concept, so he had to make it until some specific predetermined time like lunch, or bedtime. Once the basket was empty, that was it with the presents and it worked nicely for me for 2 kids.

  10. House Warden says:

    Well for my oldest we just went straight to underwear, so he could really learn the differnce between wet and dry and start to realize when he had to go. When it comes to pee I can basically trust him, except for sleeping time. When it comes to the wonderful number 2 on the other hand, I wish we could get that one down. He’s done it in the potty before so I know he can, but he always seems to do it at nap time, and I’m sick and tired of changing his poopy bum! I don’t know what to do. I try to make him go to the bathroom before he goes down for a nap and remind him to poop, but no luck, he just say, “no pee!” And when I lay him down for his nap I ask him where do you poop and he replies “the potty”, and tell him we don’t poop in our pull-up but yet almost every time he wakes up or before he goes to sleep he’ll poop in it and I’m getting tired of it, I don’t know what to do.

  11. Sheri says:

    My oldest and my youngest were the easiest. My 3rd taught me a lesson in patience (He’s autistic so he was 4 1/2 when he finally trained).

    Anyway with Ethan we bought a big bag of M&M’s once we knew for sure he was ready and understood what was going on with his body and for two days everytime ANYONE went potty we would all clap and cheer and that person would get a handful of M&M’s. Ethan watched us all closely and asked one time for M&M’s…I said “Oh those are for people who use the big potty…if you use the big potty you get M&M’s”…

    On the third day he woke up, ran to the bathroom and used the potty…got a handful of M&M’s and we haven’t ever had an accident.

  12. Kristen says:

    I say wait as long as possible. From what I’ve heard, the people that have had the easiest times were the ones that waited until 2.5 – 3 years old and they did it in a matter of 1-2 weeks.

    I have a 20 month old – and the potty is a great reading chair and piggy bank. We’ve got awhile…

  13. Michelle says:

    Well, I’m not a mom, but my roommate says that her parents trained her by buying her a fish at the end of every week that things went well. She says the investment is bigger at first because you have to get a fish tank, but buying another fish doesn’t have to be too expensive. It’s a reward that doesn’t rot your kids’ teeth and that they can see and remember.

  14. sarah hart kingston says:

    My oldest was potty trained in a couple of days, when he was finally ready at about 3 and a month or so. I knew he could do it but just didn’t want to, so I showed him the bag of diapers with just a few left and told him that when they were gone, they were gone. So I just told him one day, “Look, we ran out of diapers. Now you have to wear big-boy underwear.” He had a few accidents along the way, mostly when he was playing hard with other kids and I forgot to ask him if he needed to go.

    I agree with the “skip the pull-ups” advice. I think they’re a waste of money and they don’t help. Make their new undies exciting and not something to be dreaded. I also used fruit snacks once or twice as a reward. It didn’t really help. Draw attention to the fact that parents and older sibs use the toilet and NEVER wear diapers. They want to be like us, right?

  15. Tigersue says:

    It is all different in how kids learn. I have two older children that were hard to potty train because they both had communication disorders and delayed potty training goes with that. IT was very difficult and very hard to get them to learn. I just had to learn to try to not make an issue of it, and yes I used pull-ups sometimes, I think they are great for nights, because some kids just can’t get through the night for several years, it is biological not mental. You have to do what it right for your child. With my son, I would have him by the potty while I put on my makeup and getting ready for the day. He eventually learned to use the potty that way. No stress, just everyday did that. I still used diaper, it was just to get him to figure out what to do and we went from there. He was easier than my oldest daughter in many ways. I think potty training was easier years ago, when cloth diapers were used,and disposables were not as dry as they are now. Babies learned what they were doing, and mothers had more insentives to get babies potty trained. I know my mother said all of us were trained by 18 months old. So I’m sure that is where the one grandmother is coming from.

  16. Stacey says:

    Wow, so many opinions on this subject. My oldest son didn’t finish until he was about 3 and I thought we were late. Now I don’t feel as bad. My youngest who will be 2 at the end of June is already staying dry almost all day and loves going pee pee on the potty. I think each kid is different! Don’t push or they won’t want to go!!

    Hope it all works out well : )

  17. Mama C-ta says:

    No advice here but I like your idea…I think I’ll let Cricket figure it out on his own. Nobody likes to be friends with a 6th grader still in diapers. He’ll figure it out 😉

  18. Stephanie says:

    We finally figured out that the reason E wasn’t pooping in the potty is because he was so constipated. He didn’t want to use the toilet so he’d hold it in for days. Prune juice. A little prune juice in with his regular juice, along with limiting milk intake has made him more regular.

    We also decided that the potty needed to become a “NO-Conflict” Zone. If he did an “on purpose” (since we knew he knew where it went and felt no remorse) we just say “hmm, that’s too bad and make him help clean it up.

    He’s not there yet, but he seems to be making significant progress!

  19. HLH says:

    oh yah, I can commiserate. I loathe the fact that I have to potty train yet another child in about a year…
    We fully waited until PJ was ready (little after his 3rd birthday) and then tried the in one day method. It tooka few weeks but he got the peeing part down pretty good. I am not kidding when i tell you I spent 4 MONTHS cleaning poop out of his underpants! It was awful- I hated it! I don’t know why but it took him FOREVER to poop in the potty. The first time he finally did I clapped and praised him and rushed him to the mall for ice-cream- too bad it didn’t happen again for another month!
    I really think the key to sucessful potty training is to:
    1. Waint until your child is ready
    2. PAITIENCE- a lot of it
    3. Know your own child’s limitations and don’t let what their friends can do be your guid.

  20. Trivial Mom says:

    I think it depends on each child. I totally agree you shouldn’t push them, but when they’re ready go all out. My little googie is 18 months, and she is more than halfway there.

    After 3 months of excruciating (for me and her) constipation I decided to try letting her sit and poop on the potty. So at 12 months she started pooping on the potty. She had a face she would do that meant poopies and we would sit her on it (not a little mommy-has-to-clean-it-up-later potty either, the big potty with a little seat). She loved it, the poop came out so much easier, and we would clap with her everytime she went.

    So now at 18 months we are in the middle of potty training. We’ve been working on it for about a week. And we’ve made progress. So far she tells me she has to go, and we run to the toilette. Of course we’re still having trouble making it in time, but I think that will come with practice.

    I know that she is ready, we just have to work on control a little bit more. She really wants to do it right, she crys when she has an accident, but just gets hugs and a dry pair of underwear. And we try again.

    So it really depends on the kid, when they’re ready, you need to be ready.

  21. surcie says:

    I’m SO glad you posted on this DYM. I need to start potty training my son so that he can go to preschool in September. (He’ll be 3 in July) He seems ready in a lot of ways. He’s even excited about the potty and big-boy underwear. But being in a wet or dirty diaper doesn’t bother him one bit. We talk about this a lot. I say, “Wow, don’t you feel better now that you have a clean diaper on?” He says, “No, I fink the dohty [dirty] one is okay, too. It no bover [bother] me.” I dread potty training. I dread having to change the routine that we’ve had for almost 3 years. I dread the idea that my boy is growing up. I dread having to drop what we’re doing when we’re out to find a potty. (I hate public bathrooms!) See, I have a lot of issues with this potty training stuff that I need to get over. A lot of people I know train by staying home all weekend letting the kid run around naked until they get it. I can’t stand feeling trapped at home. I’ll need another method. Truly, this issue is one of the most stressful things going on for me right now. I’m determined not to let my boy know that I’m bothered by it. . .I think I feel my blood presure rising. I’ll have to come back and read the other replies when I’m a little more relaxed. : )

  22. Keltybug says:

    ditto on what awlhaven wrote. That is what I have always done. my 3 older ones have been a breeze to train. My 4th well she is 1 ans will sit on the potty to pee….only if her diaper is on. So I am not rushing her. I would love to save the money on the diapers but I am not into self inflected frustration.

    I have never bought pull ups. I just put them in regular diapers if they needed it at night. When potty training the kids it only took one weekend. I always do it in the summer or spring so the can run around in a shirt and undies.

    Good luck. I love the eggs on the background!

  23. KEP says:

    My 2 1/2 year old daughter fell in love with Gene Kelly while watching old musicals with me and was desperate to go to dance class. We went to sign her up and found out no diapers allowed. She was trained in a week. She still wears pullups at night, which I swore I would never do, but it’s so much easier on me that we’re doing it for awhile. I’ve told her when this box is gone, then that’s it. She really hates to wet them, because she doesn’t want her stars to go away and “get Celerinda all stinky” so she keeps them dry a fair majority of the time.

  24. Heather says:

    I basically don’t potty train my kids. I just wait until they’re ready and they do it themselves, usually with very little trouble.

    My first (girl) potty trained herself at 2, my second (boy) potty trained at about 3 1/2 and my third (boy) at 3 and 2 mos. This is daytime only, mind you.

    I do encourage them and introduce them to the potty, etc. But the actual transitioning to underwear has been their choice and their doing, mostly.

    My youngest told me that all he needed was his own little potty. So, we got him a musical talking potty! And he was completely potty trained in about a week.

    Whatever works, right?

  25. Two pieces of advice:
    1. Do not, not, NOT attempt it until you’re absolutely POSITIVE they are ready. Then commit to it and don’t back down.
    2. Let them go naked from the waist down all day, with towels draped over your furniture, and don’t leave the house until you’ve made significant progress.
    Worked for us! Great topic, DYM!

  26. Lei says:

    I have had a TOUGH time with pt’ing as well. I’ll take piggy back temper tantrums over pt’ing any day! Jsut want to ditto on the waiting till they’re ready. If you push it before they are ready, it will just lengthen the overall process. For those of you who’ve had a piece of cake of it, won’t you hire yourselves out? you could really make some bucks!

  27. Kristen says:

    I had read and heard from several seasoned parents that it’s just best to wait until they are ready. That’s the method I used with my Care Bear. Yes, every now and then we’d try going potty; sometimes successful, sometimes not. We got the videos, the books, etc…to show her how it is for when she decided it was time. By the time she turned three last August, she was still not potty trained. I was starting to get concerned. I wanted her to start pre-school and she couldn’t until she learned to go potty. I told her this. She took this to mean that as soon as she starts school, then she’ll go potty. But then one day, a couple of months after she turned 3, after church she told me, “Mommy, I need to go potty.” With speed and agility I had no idea I possessed, I hurtled across the room, threw her on the potty chair and “Voila”! Success. She’s never looked back. Now nighttime….that’s another story. I have no clue how to conquer that one!!

  28. Farm Wife says:

    You know, you could always send her to live with my MIL…of course she would have started the process at 3 months. It’s all about cloth diapers. Disposable diapers are of the devil and keep kids from properly potty training. You must hold them over the toilet for 30 minutes every morning from the time they are 3 months old until they get it down. This will prevent them from fearing the potty. Can I just say the woman is a tad unhinged?

    Just hang in there. She’ll get it. At our house summer time was the answer…nakedness and potty training goes hand in hand. And what’s cooler than getting to pee in the little potty in the back yard during a family bar-b-que?

    Baby Girl trained her self…no Pull-Ups. #1 Son is doing so so. He peed in his sister’s room today, and a block bucket a few weeks ago. He wears Pull-ups (Rabbit pants…they have Bugs Bunny on them) only for outings and diapers at bed time. Big boy pants like his cousin during the day. A role model is important…”You want to be big like so & so, don’t you?” But they pretty much just have to decide they want to be trained. You can lead a kid to the potty, but you can’t make them pee.

  29. ABC Momma says:

    When Ant was ready we were in the process of building and moving. When we got settled in, I got pregnant. My husband decided it was finally time to potty train him the week Bud was born (Ant was barely 3). This brought on a power struggle and major constipation (for Ant too). Only when we gave up control and acted like we didn’t care, was he able to be successful. We were sure to praise him and make a big deal if he chose to use the toilet. He wore pull-ups so he could be more independent and put them on & off himself. He cleaned up himself when he went potty in the pull-up, but I would help change him if he pooped. I was sure to gag and make sure he knew how disgusting it was. He was mostly potty-trained when it came time to go to preschool at 4, but he still had to wear pullups at night all throughout Kindergarten.

    Since that was a big fiasco, I waited for signs from Bud to let me know when he was ready. The signs never came. He just wasn’t motivated until we bribed him with candy at 3 1/2. He went from diapers to underwear during the day, but still wears pull-ups at night (he’s almost 5). He also had some issues with poop, but I had learned my lesson and didn’t make a big deal of it, just had him clean it up (then I would sanitize everything later). If he goes poop in the toilet (which is more often than not now) he gets a “poo prize” like a stick of gum or cookie or a small toy–his choice.

    Cutie caught on with the poo prizes and has gone poo in the toilet (mostly) since she was about 12 months. She’s another independent child, so I have turned the training over to her. She has pull-ups that she can take off & replace herself. She has finally grown tall enough that I think she can stand on a stool to get on the seat and take care of things herself like she wants. She will be 3 in September so I think we will go get some underwear in the next month or two. I’ll have to try that “don’t pee on your hero” idea.

    Sorry for the book-sized comment.

  30. HolyMama! says:

    i’m potty training today – in my lovely pink DYM shirt! just now we put underwear on a stuffed big bird to encourage wearing undies when not on the potty.

  31. Lou says:

    You really do have to wait until they are ready. Jonas was ready but unwilling and lazy, so I used the power of the bribe.

    I told him that if he pooped in teh potty we would go to the Disney store and he could get a toy- he tried all day, and finally in late afternoon caught himself in time and RAN to the bathroom yelling POOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!

    I instantly threw him in the car, went to the store and he got his treat. He only had about 3 more poop accidents after that. With pee, I used Rescue heros as his bribe. The 1st day dry got one, the second day dry got one, then I said two days, then three days, then a week, then two weeks- by the time he hit two weeks we were dry. At $5 a pop the rescue heros cost me about $30- but seriously, that’s cheaper than diapers!

  32. A lot of people are advising waiting until they’re ready. Bear with me, I have no kids yet: how do you know they’re ready? I’m assuming that a little light on their nose doesn’t start flashing. 🙂

  33. Nettie says:

    I found with the three I’ve done so far that you can’t really know for sure if they are ready. Just because they want to imitate using the potty doesn’t mean they have the physiological control to do so. I just wait till they ask and let them try. Then if they haven’t succeeded by age 3, we announce that they are big kids now and don’t wear diapers. They are sufficiently physically “matured” by then to do it and it only takes a day or two. I definitely do not punish or show any frustration if they have accidents. My third child had accidents longer than I expected. It turned out she had a urinary reflux issue that made accidents something she could not help sometimes. Glad I didn’t give her a hard time about it! Also, if you use rewards, I’ve heard that you should reward them for staying clean and dry-not for producing in the potty. That way you don’t have to wait for that elusive first success to help them feel good about dry underwear. Oh, and ditto on the not using pull ups!

  34. bon says:

    Oooohhhhhh Farmwife? you were scaring me BAD for a few seconds!

    I’m pretty sure that I have nothing new to add to the litany of “when they are ready” except that sometimes they are even physically ready before they are mentally ready… Birdie would run and hide to poop in her diapers for over six months before she PTed, so she knew when she needed to go… she was just freaked out by the feeling of her poop… umm… dangling? Freefalling? Sorry, kinda graphic. Once she figured out how to do that in the toilette, she has NEVER had a #2 accident.

    LaLa? I’m pretty sure that it’s just gonna be a week in June of “nekkid bummie” and then panties HERE WE COME! Of course I’ve been wrong before.

    Don’t be in too big of a hurry… color me superstitious but all in one week last year Birdie PTed and LaLa started to walk. The next week I found out I was PG in a most “unplanned” sort of way.

  35. Chilihead2 says:

    My son simply came in one morning while I was sleeping with Wild Thing (she was about 3 weeks old, maybe) and said, “Mom, I’m ready for my chocolate” and he never looked back. I had promised him M&Ms every time he used the big potty.

    My daughter, on the other hand, was ready but kept regressing. I let her decide when she was ready and she would do great. Then one day she would start having accidents again. It was as if she was just testing to see what would happen if she went back to the “other way.” We didn’t make a big deal until we were going to Disney World and I knew I couldn’t deal with the accidents. I told her that for each day she did not have an accident one of the princesses would bring her a special something at night. (Yes, I lied. See my post about the pig. Whatev.) She didn’t have accidents and the princesses brought her treats.

    Now I will also throw this out in a cautionary way: My daughter never liked to go poo on the potty. She held it and became constipated to the point that the mass would actually push on her bladder and make her have accidents. She now takes a dose of Miralax (prescription laxative) to help with this and it’s smooth sailing.

    Sorry so long. Looks like you chose a hot button again!

  36. A. Borealis says:

    My munchkin is 8 months old & he pees in a bowl every morning. (He’s starting to enjoy watching it too – it’s pretty cute.)

    I read about infant potty training in two different blogs and decided to research it. Interestingly, it is a common practice in many countries throughout Asia and Africa and was fairly commonplace in the US and UK until the last 3 generations or so.

    My own father-in-law was potty-trained at 8 months in the 1940’s (I know it sounds crazy, but it’s written in his baby book -so it’s not some half-pipe memory that his Gma brags about). So I don’t think that all these Gma’s are as far-out as we’d like to believe.

    The concept: instead of training our babies to pee & poop in their diapers, we should be training them to go in a receptacle – toilet, sink, tub, the ground, a bowl, etc. Like Pavlov’s dogs, use a ‘signal’ every time the baby does its thing. Whistle, say “go-go”, etc. They will soon equate their signal with the pot & use it correspondingly.

    The key is to observe the rhythms and signs a baby is giving off that it is peeing or pooping – focused attention, quietness, grunting, & the like. The books I’ve read also suggested getting them on the bowl (or whatever receptacle you choose) right after they’ve eaten (or during), or when they wake up from naps or the night’s sleep – that these times are when they are most likely to pee. I’ve found great success with that method.

    It takes focused attention & diligence; but if I can get that sweet thang out of diapers sooner, it will have been well worth the effort.

    Recommended reading:

    Infant potty basics : with or without diapers– the natural way / Laurie Boucke.

    Infant potty training : a gentle and primeval method, adapted to modern living / Laurie Boucke

  37. RGLHM says:

    thanks I needed to hear that today. when I get impatient I ask myself why we are potty training. ANd since it’s only b/c that is what we do in this society and not b/c it is easier for my life, then I tell myself to stop fearing what ‘man’ thinks and start fearing the regrets over such stupid battles. I don’t like how arrogant some people are over this issue…it’s really none of their business where my child pees and poops. (as long as it’s not on their lawn)

  38. Let’s see- the first one just thought it was so cool to have Barbie panties that was all she needed. The 2nd-a boy- took forever and now that he is 6 we are still working on aim! He was made to change himself soon after he turned 3 and he didn’t like it much so he finally gave in. The third – wanted to be like his big brother and potty trained himself at 2 -he wanted cool Scobby Do underwear like his big brother. The 4th is no where near ready, but after all of the others being different I will leave it up to him and see when he is ready – unless it’s time for kindergarten?!? But I too agree with the no pull ups. My kids just always thought they were diapers and couldn’t feel when they wet anyway. After a couple of wet panties and undies they all seemed to give in – on their own time of course:-)

  39. Trivial Mom says:

    Just want to add one more thing. Plastic Pants (or vinyl . . . whatever their called). Anyways, they’re mad to go over cloth diapers, and they work great for outings or in the care during potty training. They only place I’ve been able to find them is Babies R Us. They are a life saver! (And a carpet saver, and a couch saver, and a carseat saver . . .)

  40. Carrien says:

    I’m a day late on this discussion so maybe no one will read this but here’s something new.

    I found a book when I was PG with the girl called Diapers Naturally, the Gentle Wisdom of natural Infant Hygeine. A total hippy book, but I loved it. It’s all about how infants are aware of their bodily functions and we by diapering teach them to ignore it and then they have to relearn. Then I made friends with people who’s three month old babies never wore diapers, and always peed over a sink or in a potty as their mom’s held them. Since the ideas were consistent with a style of parenting I had already adopted, we tried it, on and off for a while. MY commitment waxed and waned depending on the upheavals in our life, but hte one thing I had learned was how to keep my little one aware of the moments when she goes and help her know what to do. It helped me to train the boy after she was born. While I was never brave enough to go without diapers, which I think would have made it faster, (Maybe next child) she was peeing in her little potty at 6 months, and pooping with mommy’s help. It took time to get from there to where she told me she needed to go before I noticed her squirm, but one day, when she was about 18 months old, in the middle of a yarn store, she said, I hab poo and there was none, so we borrowed the bathroom and she went in the big potty for the first time, and hasn’t looked back. She’s 27 months and hasn’t had an accident in recent memory, even at night.

  41. I might add, along with the other fabulous bits of advice…

    If you use a potty chair, line it with a coffee filter. So much easier to clean out!

  42. Robin says:

    I’ve potty trained three boys now and this is my “Easy-Peasy Three Step Potty Training Guide.”

    Step One: Put fun underwear on the child and say, “Don’t tinkle on Lightning!” (or whichever fun character you’ve chosen.)
    Step Two: If the child keeps the underwear dry, he’s potty trained. If he wets them, then put a diaper back on and wait a couple of weeks.
    Step Three: Repeat Steps One and Two until underwear stays dry and rejoice in the fact that you don’t even have to worry about accidents for the most part. You’ll have a few, but I’m talking 2-3 a week, not 2-3 a day.

  43. Rachel says:

    I received my degree in child development and then worked in the field teaching parenting and child development to parents with children zero to five. So I have been swimming in the potty training world for the last few years. I have also always been interested in looking at parenting from a cross-cultural perspective – it’s so easy to become ethnocentric and assume that America is the final word on what is good for children and their parents. Anyway, in my studies I learned that over 50% of the children in the world are “potty trained” by their first birthday! THAT, I thought, was something to investigate. And I’m sure glad I did because we now practice “elimination communication” with my daughter – we started when she was about 2 months old(there is no 30 min. over the potty craziness, don’t worry) and she’s 8 months now and we’re sold, we’ll never go back. It just makes sense you know, natural selection dictates that species that poo where they eat get diseases and die, or if they pee in their “nest” they get cold and DIE. Mother nature and God must have just thought that one through for the human species too because it is like stinking MAGIC! It took me a long time not to have a gaping mouth and absurd smile on my face every time I would hold her over the potty, make our ssss or uhuhuh grunt noise and VOILA she would pee or poo. Of course it is work and it is harder in America cause we love our luxury carpet and couches but totally do-able anyway. We use cloth diapers so we can tell when we “miss” and I can help her better next time. Anyway, it is great for our relationship as it helps me understand her better and it can’t hurt that “potty training” won’t ever come up with sugar or stress or two year old independence resistance – it will just be what we have always done. My husband even likes it. He says every time we flush the toilet and wipe her bum with TOILET PAPER – it is a success! Anyway, I could go on and on, I’m so grateful I found it.

    I also read a book called, Diaper free before three by a pediatrician named Lekovic. She takes a more traditional approach suggesting putting babies on the potty as part of the routine starting at 6 months, and has a lot of science to debunk the AAP’s “babies have no control until 18 mos or later” theory.

    That’s all, just thought I’d give a testimonial for something that probably sounds terrible and impossibly hard, but is actually wonderful and achievable, given the desire!

  44. Usha says:

    I’m glad you posted that about EC I was going to, somebody should.
    Diaper training your kids and then being upset when they do what you told them too. Did anyone think that one out? lol. For older kids I recommend Early Start Potty Training. Great tips for any age!

  45. sam says:

    my potty trainig advice is briving what ever your kids faverite snack is dont guve them any thing like that unless they go to the bathroom and then they will wqnt to use th ebathroom and as soon as they go to the bathroom say yea good job heres a treat and make them feel like a big kid and it raises ther confidence let them flush the toilet and wash their hands maybe get te cool foam soap and make it fun for them it works just give it time

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