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Post your potty training tips!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I was horrible at potty training! With the first one, I ended up giving up and decided she'd be in diapers until college, but then she finally decided on her own to use the potty. I think my attempts to potty train just made things worse with her. And my younger one just stopped wanting to use a diaper one day and never had an accident or anything afterward, so I got lucky with her.

However, I know there are moms here who have some carefully constructed methods that have worked well! Please share them here for the moms who need some new ideas! smile.gif
post #2 of 16

Hmm, I think carefully constructed methods can get you in trouble.  When they work it only means that the method was a good match for the kid they worked on, not that the method will work for others.  I think a few helpful things are to let go of expectations about dates or ages when things should happen.  Back off when you see your kiddo is feeling pressure or wants to rebel.  Be kind and always let your L.O. know that you know he/she is trying and still learning and you KNOW they will use the potty when they are ready.  Expect accidents and have your little one help in the clean up, don't praise them for helping, but be kind and matter-of-fact, "this is what we do while we are still learning, we have to clean up, because we can't get pee or poop on (fill in the blank), I know you are still learning and I know you will get it.  Remind them that you too, once used diapers.  Bring the potty that they like everywhere for a while - public toilets can be scary, especially ones with autoflush!


Good luck teachers and learners! 

post #3 of 16

Marshmallows...their like magic!  We used marshmallows to reward potty activities.  Big for #2, Little for #1.  Each time they went on the potty, even just a little, they got a marshmallow.  We NEVER gave them one besides potty training. 

We started when they were aware of the toilet and could understand.  At 2 yr b-day, they got underwear.  Many pairs, because it will take...oh...about 5-12/day until they start to understand!  Every hour, we put them on the potty (even just at night after work...all day on the weekends), and when they finally went in the potty, hurray, clap clap, yeah...you get a marshmallow! yeah yeah yeah yeah!  By 2.5-3yrs, they were ready to start nighttime with no diaper, due to being able to hold it, teaching themselves.  After many dry diaper nights, we moved to underwear by 3rd b-day.  Don't get me wrong...accidents happen.

But marshmallows were the magic trick.  Once they were going enough that we thought they were getting too many...we transitioned to little mallow for #2 and nothing for #1.  Occasionally getting a big one as a reminder how good they are doing! 

My son is almost 3 and he has to remind me to get him that marshmallow.  My 4 year old daughter gets jealous when her brother gets mallows and she doesn't...then the reminder that she used to get lots of them.  he is little and learning, you are a big kid now! 

Good luck on your adventures to diaperfree!

post #4 of 16
I've always been in favor if waiting till they are ready.

With my boys, once they were showing signs of readiness, I would toss a few fruit loops in the toilet. Its like target practice for the built in squirt gun. ; P
post #5 of 16

Following the advice of, "Oh, Crap! Potty training" I purchased a three pack of toddler boxers for my Son after the phase of letting him run around naked. The idea is that the boxers aren't snug, like a diaper is, so they won't give the child the impression of wearing a diaper and they'll know when to use the potty. It worked like a charm! My little guy was almost three when he finally learned to use the potty. We didn't rush him but, we could have helped him learn sooner. I'll confess something: I was a little sad to put away the cloth diapers. I know it's insane but, I was. LOL. =)

post #6 of 16
I did Elimination Communication (EC, Diaper free baby, infant potty training) with my daughter. We started when she was 4 months old. I did a light version. In the beginning I would offer the potty at diaper changes and observe her with naked tummy time etc and gradually increased diaper free time as we both became more confident. We had success with catches virtually straight away. ( poop the first day we started and pee the 3rd day). I would still keep a diaper on outside the house in case there was no opportunity or convenient place to toilet her. Anyway, long story short, at 14 months we often had many consecutively dry days, at 17 months she was totally out of diapers and with very few accidents and finally at 19 months she was reliably dry and fully "trained". I don't feel trained is the right word in this instance as she was really the one who trained me from the beginning. EC is all about communication. Reading and responding to the baby's body language and physical abilities. It wasn't always easy but it was not the messy chaos that I had originally anticipated. If I had another baby I would absolutely do it again, and start at birth. If anyone is interested I have created a how to guide in form of an iPhone App called happy no nappy. Find it here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/happy-no-nappy/id708832890?mt=8
post #7 of 16
This was such a fluke..I think but am curious if it could work for others. We got our dd a freestanding baby potty that we left in our bathroom but never really had her try it out. We just wanted to have it when she was ready. It had a cube shape and she instead used it as a washer/dryer. We'd find our socks and other clothing on it. We also had the Potette seat for when she was ready and since she hadn't tried going potty, I decided to clear bathroom and sell the freestanding potty. When the mom came to pick it up, dd started having a fit saying "mine" over and over but I told her we were selling it to someone who is going to go potty in it. She was so upset that I opened the Potette, put a plastic bag in it and sat it in the floor in the living room. I told her that was her new potty and she could use it if she wanted to. Well, while I was in the phone, she did it. She just walked over, peeled off her cloth diaper and peed. Amazing! She if course had accidents but we ditched the daytime cloth diapers. She was 23 months. It was territorial for her...I believe.

I'm curious if this was just a fluke or would 'work' for others.
post #8 of 16

Actually we had a somewhat similar situation.  We had the potty out for months are didn't really push it, then I decided to put it away thinking my LO wasn't really ready, He protested then used it that day and the next, but went back to diapers quickly.  We moved from that to just requesting he pee before bath (since he always went in the bath).  He did that for a few months before we finally took the diapers away and stayed close to home for a couple of long weekends in a row.  He still asked for diapers when he needed to poop. 

post #9 of 16

my best advice is don't push, stay away from timers and the thought my child has to be trained by . . . no they don't every child is different and they will let you know when they are ready. If you push it will only frustrate you and your child. I would ask my daugther about it now and then when she was about 2 1/2, never pushed or told her she had to go on the potty. one day she walked up to me, about 3 months before she turned 3 and said mommy I want to wear undies and since that day she has, a few accidents here and there. I did put a diaper on her at night for the first week but she was always dry in the morning, so I stopped, we are now 8 months trained and has never wet the bed and night and we did not go through that phase of not wanting to poo on the potty. I believe it's because we let her decide when she was ready.

post #10 of 16

Waiting until the child is truly ready.


Can he run? Pull his pants up and down by himself (commando and joggers)? Can he communicate his needs? He is not in his rebellious phase just now? Does he urinate a fair amount at one time? Does he have dry periods that last at least 1-2 hours? Does he show any interest? 


Fur us, that was 2y6mo. He started going naked, potty was close and we explained to him what was happening. After three days, he was completely dry, no accidents. For the "confusing" feeling of pants on, we decided for him to go commando with joggers for a few days afterwards.

That was day-time. Night-time dryness cannot be trained in any way, because it is developmental and hormonal. It is normal for a child to dry between 18 months and 8 years for the night. 


He was consistently dry at age 6-7 for the nights and hasn't had an accident in more than a year. 

post #11 of 16

We are currently potty training our 20 month old. I successfully potty trained my first child when he was 19 month olds using the 3 days naked approach and it worked great. The problem is that my second child (a girl) is ridiculously assertive and opinionated (which I like most of the time). The crazy thing is that we did a couple days naked with her and she completely got it. No accidents for 7 days and she would tell me when she wanted to go. I wouldn't even try to get her to sit on the potty. She even went completely on her own a couple times and told me after the fact that she went. Once we went shopping for 3 hours, and when she had to go she told me and held it until we got back to the kid potty in the car. It was amazing. It was insane. I thought my son was really good, but she was better. Then a week ago she decided she was DONE peeing in the potty. I've successfully bribed her to go a few times, but for the most part she just tells me when she's going, then refuses to sit on the potty. She still hasn't had any #2 accidents in over 2 weeks, so I'm grateful for that, and I love her to death, but man is she a stinker. I know she can do it, so I assume this is some sort of control issue, but I haven't figured out how to deal with this one yet. I'm trying various tactics, so I'll let you know if any of them are successful.

post #12 of 16

I only have a tip what not to do, which has been posted here already, and that is do NOT get your own agenda and timetable and make the unilateral decision that "we are doing this now" and push your child to do it. Apparently this seems to work for a lot of people because nearly every method out there is a "we're doing this now; how to potty train in XYZ many days". I tried that and it backfired miserably. I think I may have done it too late, as my son was right before his third birthday. However, he had potties and we did a lot of no-pressure potty awareness from about age 18mos. and he was showing no interest so I made the decision and that was a huge mistake. It backfired, he resisted as soon as he felt my stress about it and my strict adherence to the method I chose (The Oh Crap! method), and it exploded in my face. I gave up and since then (he's now 3 1/2) he has been more resistant than ever. We tried all sorts of bribes, he doesn't care. I will always have to wonder if I hadn't been so militaristic about deciding he has to train NOW and we have to do it by the book this exact way.....if he would've come around to it on his own by now. Because at this rate, it's looking like he'll be four and still in dipes.


So: don't have a timetable or feel you need to follow any book or method. What works for many other children (and every advertised method claims: this has worked for so many it will work for you too!!) will not necessarily work for yours, and above all do not stress and if you feel stressed give up and try again later. If the parent is stressed so will the kid be and that can backfire horribly.



post #13 of 16

I know this is going to be counter to what most people believe and a lot of people will strongly disagree with it, but personally I think it's much easier to potty train when your kid is young (like a year and a half) vs. older (like 3 or 4). It was completely painless when we potty trained our first child at 19 months. There was no yelling, no forcing, and he was entirely cooperative. By his second birthday he was no longer cooperative in general and made a great point of exerting his independence in all aspects of his life, but it didn't matter, because he was already completely potty-trained and in regular undies by that time, so it wasn't an issue.


I think people also underestimate the capability of an 18 to 20 month old. I've now had two kids this age show me they could both tell me when they wanted to go with a word and hold it for a few minutes when necessary. It's true they needed help getting undressed and re-dressed, but at this age they were so eager to please that they actually cooperated, making the experience pleasant. My 20 month old is currently having two or three #1 accidents a day despite being accident free for a week, but I really think that as long as I don't turn it into a power struggle, she'll be back on a track in a week or so. We'll see. I have my fingers crossed. She is more defiant than her brother in general, so if anything, I feel like maybe I should have started a little sooner with her.


If you do decide to try it around a year and a half, I totally recommend this toddler potty book by Leslie Patricelli. Both of my kids loved reading it, and were able to proudly answer the questions, "Where does doggie/kitty/daddy/mommy/baby go potty?" by the time they were 19 months which I think helped a lot in convincing them to go in the potty.

post #14 of 16

DD1 we used stamps and stickers for using the potty (she showed interest at 22 months and we went with it full force).  Every hour or so we would remind her to go.... she didn't really ever have any accidents, maybe just a few.  We did take her potty at 11pm each night until she was 3.5 or so.  She still needs to get up almost every night to go potty (she is 5.5 now).  


DD2 was not interested in stickers or stamps, so we did food treats, mostly chocolate chips for pee or poo.  She also started using the potty right around 22 months.  She has had much more accidents and still has a hard time making it to the bathroom and has leaks in her pantys a few times a week.  She is 3.25 years old.  Neither of them has had issues with poop accidents.


We had a small potty as well as a seat to go over the big potty.  Both girls were scared of the big potty especially for poop.


We did diaper free from the moment we started.  Even at night.  Also making sure to bring the small potty in the car for emergencies.  We would potty almost everywhere we went.  Before going into the store, before the park, etc.  Remind them all the time.  Both were learning in the summer, so no clothes was easy.


DS will be around that age in the winter, so I think we will most likely wait till he is over 2, unless he shows interest the summer after he turns 1.  I think it is much easier to know your body cues when not wearing anything.  DD2 had accidents every time she was wearing panties for weeks.  

post #15 of 16
  • 1.  I concur with researchparent earlier is better.  later they get too many ideas of their own, I think.
  • 2.  The greater your tolerance for a messy and dirty world the easier it is.  My daughter still has accidents on occasion --it does not stress me out -- probably because I was cleaning her poopy cloth diapers--so this is much better.  My more germ-phobic friends have trained much later and been really frustrated.  My more fastidious husband freaked out at the beginning when she peed on the floor 5 or 6 times a day and pooped on the floor on occasion (thankfully those days are over).


The details:

  • I started putting my daughter on the potty right after she woke up at 9 months.  I would read to her and play with her until she went.  The key here is she could not walk yet, so she was sort of stuck there --I tried to make it fun for her while she was there.  Then at 18 months I started to put her there after naps too, at 19-20 months I did the underwear free thing, we had lots of accidents and we did many days in diapers when I just was not up for working on it. 
  • Then one day I said to her  "we are not using diapers anymore during the day" (while we are at home) and she started to use the potty.  I bought her Duck Goes Potty just in case it helped-- I'm not sure, although she does like the book.  And I did bribe her with stickers; one sticker of her choice after each time she used the potty--when i found stickers of things she really liked that helped more; butterflies were a huge hit--after about a week and half she mostly forgot about the stickers.  I have very mixed feelings about the sticker bribery, but I will say it worked.  I hope I am not tempted to bribe her in the future because it made things so much easier but it doesn't feel very respectful.
  • (I bought Duck Goes Potty  because I bought Pony Brushes his Teeth and that changed her attitude about brushing her teeth overnight from screaming her head off every single night to running eagerly to brush her teeth the moment it is mentioned-- no idea what makes the book so amazing but everyone once and a while she says "Sorry!!! " and laughs; it took us a couple of days to figure out it was from the Pony book in it the pony accidentally spits on his father and says "sorry"-- she was really little so I have never been sure if she understood what was happening in the book or just thought the way we read it was funny.)
  • Back to potty training: I still have to remind her to go frequently (every hour or so) or she will pee in her clothes-- usually she realizes she has to poop though.  she  runs to the potty saying "Popo, popo"  and sometimes she goes to the potty to pee without being reminded. After two weeks we started taking her out without diapers and just sitting her on the potty wherever we are -- easier in some places than others.  
  • Although people recommend being bottomless for a couple of months afterward (and I was going to do it despite the cold weather) my daughter asked for underwear and loves that she is wearing what mama, papa, auntie,  and grandma wear.  It did increase her accidents a bit, but she also knows that after she has an accident she doesn't get to wear underwear until she uses the potty again.  (again a bit of bribery but it feels more natural since I say "I don't want to wash more underwear than I have to so show me you know how to use the potty and I will give them to you.")

    We are still using diapers at night.  She still wakes up to nurse most nights and I think that is when she pees because some nights--usually the ones where she has slept all the way through--she wakes up dry.  We use underwear during naps when we are at home, she naps diapers when we are out or at someone else's house (not a risk I am willing to take) My guess is when I stop nursing her at night she will be able to go diaper free with only a little bit of help, but that is just a guess. 
  • Accidents: I would say we still average one a day, although some days are accident free and the day before yesterday she had two.  She will 22 months next week.

Well, that was long-- hope it helps someone. 

Edited by Taqah - 12/2/13 at 8:36pm
post #16 of 16

Switching to cloth diapers at 15 mos helped. Also, having an older sibling who was potty trained, and a few good potty videos and books, and allowing my daughter to see me go potty. We used potty chair, then stool to reach big potty. The big toilet potty seat cover was too unstable for my kids, especially my developmentally delayed son. 

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