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Potty Training: My Take...

I dug into the depths of my blog archives, and unearthed this bad boy (this was, like from my first month of blogging!!!)!

I've been seeing some tweets in the twittersphere 'bout this very subject, so I thought I'd dredge it up, clean it up and repost this baby!

Hope it helps! (Warning...LONG post ahead...)


I have successfully potty-trained four scratch that, make it 5 now, children, and given advice to friends trying to train theirs.

My latest (read: oldest) trained kiddo was E.W., who was 2 years and 4 months, my earliest was the lovely Miss E., who, at 20 months, decided to train herself (and, her baby sister followed in her footsteps!).

Now, by no means am I an expert, just an experienced mama, sharing what worked for me!

When I was getting ready to potty train my oldest (2 years, 2 months), my mom gave me advice to read the book "Toilet Training in Less Than a Day" and, by gum, it worked!

Mind you, the book is old (she used it for my 35 year old brother!), but I took the concept, and made it my own!

In my own opinion (it is my blog, after all) I think potty training should happen right around two years old.

I firmly believe, however, that you shouldn't try until you're ready to try (and the trainee should be showing some readiness signs, i.e. aware of soiling diaper, minding soiled diaper, telling you when he's gone, etc.)!

When I say wait til you're ready, I say that because it requires dedication! This potty training is serious business, my friends!

I'm talkin' potty 24/7, no give, no letting up, just potty, potty, potty!

What I mean by that is, when you start, start to end...don't start until you are ready to see this through to the end (**but...don't wait too long!!!).

I've seen many parents think they're giving potty training the old college try, only to throw in the towel after a couple of accidents...if you start, you need to see it through!

You need to expect accidents!

My other big (and I mean HUGE!) belief is NO Pull-ups!!!

They are just glorified diapers that are more disgusting to take of than the real thing and don't give the user the appropriate "wetness" feeling--it's unders (make sure to buy a lot of unders--8-12 pairs) or nakedness for the trainee!

Oh, except for night time...I choose to use plain old diapers at night until the potty training follows through to nights, which seems to be fairly close behind the day time training. And, really, don't stress about the nights, at least not yet. It'll come when it comes in my experience! (And if it doesn't, seek a medical opinion!)

Seems all of my kiddos were nighttime trained within, at least, four months...if not sooner (as I read this again, my Baby Girl is not nighttime trained. She has been daytime trained for four months, to the point of being able to do it herself, but not at nighttime!).

Before you decide on the big "P Day", it's not a bad idea to take out the potty chair to let your "pre-potty trainee" get used to it (we use a potty chair, I've found my kiddos do great with it, it's portable {if a little disgusting with #2's} and they can become quite independent quickly on the little seat).

The other reason we use a potty chair is that the potty training should take place in one room, in "one day", all day long. I've found the kitchen is the most practical place for potty training, I mean, you know, besides the bathroom.

One room is key, 'cuz you need to be on your potty trainee like flies on sh**!! (pun, totally intended!) And, since you'll be stuck in one room all day, it only makes sense for it to be the kitchen (breakfast, lunch, supper, hard floors make for easy clean up...).

You should plan on potty training over a long weekend, or when you know you'll be home most with your trainee.

It bothers me to no end, when I hear of parents who expect the daycare lady to potty train their kiddo.

Really? Do you really think that's okay?

I don't. And I won't make any qualms about it.

You are the parent, it is your duty to train your child, not the daycare lady.

But I digress...on the big day, do not let your trainee out of your sight...every 20-30 minutes (set a timer, if you need reminding of the time frame) say "Let's go potty!" (in your cheeriest voice!).

I've found that a little warm water sprayed over a reluctant bottom works wonders to start the flow (and leftover peri-bottles from childbirth work great for this!)! Seems like once they understand where the potty comes from, they're have a much easier time starting the flow the next time they try to go.

BM's are little tricky...I've found that almost all of my trainee's were reluctant poopers...had to catch 'em in the act and plop 'em on the potty (before they plopped on the floor, if you know what I mean!).

I also found that going commando worked well for the reluctant pooper, seems that without the "safety net" of unders, they are more agreeable to going on the potty!

Another key to training day is treats, treats and more treats!

Make it worth your little one's while, entice them to play along!

My third kiddo would actually squeeze out drops of potty with-in hours of starting training day, just to get his treat (mind you, I totally splurged, treat-wise, and got him Match-box cars for his treat--HUGE incentive, totally worth it!)!

Oh, and lot's of liquid (i.e. water, juice, milk and even, egads!! soda!) anything to get that little bladder to fill up quickly. The more trips to the potty, the better...after all, practice makes perfect!

If your trainee does have an accident, leave her wet clothes on so she can feel the dampness, and gently say "Oh, no. You had an accident."

Then go to the spot where the accident occurred, have her feel her wet clothes and say (while you are hurrying to the potty) "Oh, gotta go potty, hurry, hurry!" Try to do this about 5 times, then take off the wet unders, put dry ones on and continue with the training day! Set an alarm for 20 minutes and have the trainee go again!

I will tell you first child was just over two when we did our potty training. I was a single mom home on spring break from college and I knew it was do or die!

I really, like really, really, needed potty training to work, so I went to town. This little man did not go in the potty one stinkin' time for me. Not-a once.

My mom came home from work, had him sit on the potty, he went for her and never had an accident after...I swear, true story! Ask my mom!

Potty training is near and dear to my heart, I get kinda grossed out by 3 year olds in diapers, 'cuz I know, if you put your heart into it, it can be done...and it's not that difficult.

**I also think, that if you wait too long (and in my mind that is for sure 3, if not 2 1/2), your kiddo becomes reluctant to poop/pee anywhere but in their pants.

It seems to me...that as the child gets older, they get more "set in their ways"...and rather than having a kiddo who goes with the flow, you have one that is bucky and defiant and unwilling to try something being the potty!

My advice...start early, and don't give up. My most difficult child to train was my Little A. He had the verbal skills of a Philadelphia lawyer, so I figured that, at not quite two, he could verbalize to me that he had to go.

But, seems that you need more than verbal skills! It took him about a week to get the potty thing down...and he seemed to have accidents a bit more in the first few weeks. Looking at the big picture tho'...that's a drop in the hat toilet, time wise!

Good luck! I'd love to hear how it goes!


  1. lol you have alot of great ideas! I have potty trained alot of kids through the daycare... and have to say my 3 year old was the hardest! C trained herself and would have been done around 20 months as well if i had made the "push" to finish... as it was, she was potty trained last month (day and night) at what.... 2 years and 4 months! I'm so thankful to finally have 3 out of diapers and only one 10 1/2 month old in! ;)

  2. It also helps to live on a farm and let them run around naked peeing on everything outside...boys love peeing outside! Although keep 'em away from the electric fence!!! Kim

  3. Thanks, for pointing me to your post here. I have a ton of excuses why my kid is not potty trained, but I do WHOLE HEARTEDLY believe that it is my job. Hmmm maybe Thanksgiving weekend. Any new pointers you have would be appreciated.

  4. Weeelll.. after reading all of that maybe I should just leave the potty out to get familiar with it ( I think thats more of the stage she is prob ready for) since she is only 16 mo and you said you didnt have any success until 20mo.

    She has already been sitting on it when I go and then reaching for the TP, throwing it in her potty and closing the lid. She thinks it is so will prob come back and re-read this post in a few months! Thanks girl

  5. Ok, so what if I am @ the "older" end of the spectrum. Like she will be 3 in August. I have found it to be a battle of the wills. She just does not want to use it. We even went bare bottom all day & she never went. When we put a pull up on for nap... well I'm sure you can guess what happened. She let it all out! Any thoughts? Besides I waited too long of course!

  6. Just jumped over from your post today! Thanks so much for this! My daughter is VERY interested in the potty, and has been for about 6 months now, but she won't go on it, and she refuses to wear undies. lol She just turned 2 on Thursday.


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