Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Potty Training Advice Needed

So, for all of those experienced moms out there, or moms in the middle of it, got any advice for potty training?

Last fall, I thought I would try and potty train Charlotte about this time, 18 months. But, with the new baby coming, I am not so sure. I've been told by some people that she will probably revert once the new baby is here and then I'd have to do it all over again. That hardly seems worth it to me. However, Charlotte seems really interested in the potty. She can say potty in sign language, is able to climb up on the potty (when the lid is down), and is starting to be able to pull her own pants up when we get dressed in the morning.

I read in a book recently that using Pull-Ups is a bad idea because it doesn't teach your child to be in control of their bladder and bowel movements.

But someone else said to use Pull-Ups at night while they are trying to learn.

My friend Katie, used the book Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day and says it worked.

It is so confusing! I guess this is one of the areas I'll have to read everything and just see which one resonates the most with me, like I did with breastfeeding and natural child birth.

Oh, and Katie is giving away a copy of the book that helped her. Click over and enter. If I don't win, at least one of my other blog friends will and can tell me what it says!


  1. Oh the good old days of potty training!

    With my daughter I was so eager to get her trained and it was a long drawn out process. For my son I kept putting it off (b/c I knew what I was in for!)...I tried it first when he was about 18-20 months and we lasted about a day and I gave up. Tried again when he was about 24 months and it worked!

    There is no "magical" age - what works for one won't necessarily work for another.

    But for both my kids this is the method I used...set a timer and EVERY 1/2 hr (within reason) we'd head to the bathroom and see what happened (or didn't!) Plus if we were going out - bathroom first. I think if there was success a little treat was given (M&Ms seem to work b/c kids love them yet they are small so it's not like they are getting a big sugar rush each time).

    I think we used pull ups when going out of the house and at night.

    I think we also used those heavy training underwear with a plastic cover over it...

    One problem that I believe hinders potty training is having a child that walks around all the time with a sippy cup...or is constantly drinking a bottle at night or nap time. Drinks at the table with a meal or snack and then within 5-10 min take them to the bathroom. How can a parent expect a child to stay dry at night when they give their 2yr old 2 full cups of milk in their sippy cup at night to take to bed with them or nap time (someone I actually know does this).

  2. One word of warning about pull ups… Make sure you get the ones with velcro like side tabs or else you’ll end up with a huge mess at some point. Imagine having to get one off that is filled with diarrhea and doesn’t have side tabs. It’s no fun, trust me.

  3. Edi - Good advice about the sippy cup. Currently Charlotte has unfettered access to her water cup during the day. I'll be sure to back off of that in the month before we start the training.

    Jaime - Thanks for that tip. I've actually had one poop accident of the kind you alluded to and it resulted in a bath and lots of bleach! :)

  4. I think the key to potty training is doing it when the kids are ready - not just when mom is ready.
    I do think it is important to look for the signs of readiness... can the kids communicate enough that they need to use the restroom (obviously they won't yet be aware of those new words, but once taught, can they learn and say them?)... then look for a willingness to be patient enough to sit. We don't do LONG periods of time on the potty - that will make them mad and frustrated, but they do have to be able to sit long enough to at least try. Can they keep a diaper dry for a period of time...
    After potty training 2 kids, I have learned A LOT about what to do and what not to do.
    Next time around I will do it a lot like I did with Anna, as Elizabeth's was a long process.
    With Elizabeth we started at 18 months and while she did have some successes, there were also a lot of accidents. Then we had to travel and that really made it more challenging. Once we finished our travels we resumed and she was completely trained by her 2nd birthday... even nighttime trained. But to spend 6 months getting to that point is a bit excessive and put too much stress on mom and Elizabeth. So much so that it was a LONG time before I felt ready to start working with Anna. Bless her heart!
    When Anna was 18 months old she started talking about using the potty - she had an older sister doing it, and I thought - oh boy here we go, but I just wasn't ready. When she asked to go, we would put her on, but she never had a success. One difference with the girls - with Elizabeth we had a little potty that she used and she really loved it - she was able to do it all by herself and she didn't feel overwhelmed by the big potty. With Anna we didn't have it (we were living in a different place), and so we had to put her on the big potty - and I think that made her nervous.
    Anyway - we went on and on, just putting her on the big potty when she asked. Finally when she was 26 months we returned to our home and we thought we would start working with her more then... but then life got really busy and because I wanted to be able to give her lots of attention, I put it on hold yet again. When she was 30 months old I decided the time had come. She was ready and I was ready. It truly did take 2 days - the first day was us putting her on the potty every 20-30 minutes even if she didn't want to, and the second day was her telling us that she needed to go - for about a week we continued to remind her or ask her to go, but then that was it. We had a 2 week period where she had some stress and had some accidents, but that was quickly resolved and then she was fine again.
    I highly recommend the Gerber training panties for kids. I feel like once you make the decision to train, you tell them that the diapers are gone and use just use panties. The Gerber ones absorb a lot of the pee before it has a chance to run down their leg and make a puddle on the floor. Also in the first 2-3 days restrict the places they can play so you aren't having to wash your sheets because they had an accident on mom's bed. Also - we called pull-ups (to be used at sleeping times) 'sleep panties'. That way the don't think of it as a diaper.
    We did rewards for going potty -but the biggest thing we rewarded was being dry. When they went to sit down on the potty we would make a big deal about them going on the potty, but would REALLY go on and on about the fact that their panties are dry.
    Basically, my recommendation with Charlotte - seeing how she is still young, is to just talk to her about it. Take her potty with you and ask her if she wants to try... but never force her. I do recommend the little potties - Anna still uses hers and the girls love the fact that Elizabeth can go on the big potty and Anna can go on the little one and they can sit and chat while they take care of business.
    That way she can sit while you sit. The first success in the potty is huge... so we would try things like running water at the sink while they were trying to go and making them listen to mom going - stuff like that. Strange I know.
    Okay - that was long. Ha! Let me know if you want any more info...

  5. Haven't figured this one out - sorry! We had a little potty chair in Mozambique, but here I just bought a seat to go on top of the regular toilet, and Esme has been terrified of it. So I'm not even trying - I'll wait til she triggers it. She's been checking out underwear lately, so maybe she's getting the idea that diapers aren't forever...

  6. Hi Jennifer, I'm not really experienced as we are only just potty training my 2 year old right now, but I did have a thought. If you are concerned that you will have to start over with your little one after the baby comes, you could start slow. While there are those who swear by the potty trained in a day method, there are equally as many who swear by the more relaxed take it slow method. We tried to potty train in the fall, but Tornado just wasn't ready. He was (and is) really good at going on the potty, but in between mommy taking him, he couldn't/wouldn't stay dry. So... we went back to diapers and just kept taking him potty. Mostly just before nap and bed time... and occasionally other times too. He got really good at it. Then I started taking him after breakfast (a normal poop time) and stopped having to change poopy diapers except occasionally. Before we knew it, it seemed he was saving his poop for the potty (unless we forgot to take him that is.)

    ***As it turns out, as I was typing this, my 2 year old was grunting nearby... pooping in his underwear for the first time all week. Figures, huh?

    Anyway, as I was saying, you can just start slow... helping to prepare her for the intensive potty training later.

  7. From my experience waiting until they're ready is key. Unfortunately for me with my kids that seems to be at least three.

    My oldest was 3 1/2, my second is 3 1/2 and is only pee trained. My third is 2 1/2 and showing no signs of wanting to train.

    I pushed too hard with my first and she bucked me hard until I let her call the shots. When I relaxed and let her lead it took 3 days for her to be day trained. A month later she declared she wanted to wear underwear at night. One accident was all it took for her to be night trained as well. I have long wished my second would be so easy. ;) She still refuses to poop and again, it's a power play. I've let it go and she's taking baby steps towards doing it now.

    With my son I've learned. When he's ready he'll be willing and able and I'll let him decide when that will be (within reason of course!).

  8. Your friends are right....there is NO magic age for potty training. It really depends onthe child and how much they can control their bladder. James did it at 2...Elisabeth was 4...Lottie was 4 and Emma Jane was a little over 4. Of course alot of moms don't agree with me but to me it is not worth trying until they are really ready. The accidents would just humiliate Lottie and I don't think that is good for their self esteem.

    With Emma I kept her naked for three days...on the fourth day she was done AND she is dry through the night!

  9. The biggest thing is they have to be ready-otherwise you are fighting a losing battle! Watch for signs (which confusing enough may or may not mean it is time). Millie is interested becuase of course she is the only one in the house who wears a diaper but we have gotten no results yet and I am not pushing it. I tried to put it with Lizzie because I was buying so many diapers and all that got me was A LOT of accidents. Finally, she just did it one day around her 2nd b-day and I have been told that is early these days. She actually still wears a diaper at night. I just can't seem to get her to get up and use it at night. I tried pull ups once with Sallie and she just used them like they were diapers so I personally am not a pull up fan but it may work for you. Elleigh was by far my easiest. She started asking at 15 months and was well trained by 18 months and it took little effort on my part. So, all of that to say they are all so different and she will do it in her timing. I wish you the best!


  10. Hey there!
    I always give the same advice...

    I don't know anyone in Jr High that isn't potty trained so it happens eventually :)

    I personally don't believe in candy as a reward (or any food for that matter) but you know me, so you understand those reasons.

    Letting Charlotte be panty-free when possible (usually after she's had something to drink) is a great way for her to recognize the uncomfortable feeling and teaches her naturally to constrict those muscles...for the same reason, regular panties at home, instead of pull ups, are a good thing because she associates the "wetness" with needing to constrict, then heading to the potty.

    Our favorite book, which also comes with a video, is "Once Upon A Potty" there's a specific book for boys and one for girls. It's very straight forward and linear...which is good for kids at this age. We also loved the Princess and the Potty...which leads me to...

    The final thing that totally made a difference for Bryana was letting her pick out her OWN panties.
    It didn't matter if I bought all her favorite colors or characters, the act of HER choosing made her more connected to her choice.

    Okay...that's all for now
    Been thinking about you a lot lately
    congrats on the coming baby!
    stay in touch



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