Friday, January 25, 2008

potty training.

Tara recently wrote in with the question below and although it kicked me into gear in a bit of a frenzy (her daughter and my son are the same age.. I better get moving), it's been good to start searching for answers.

Dear T & T,

I don't think you have covered this subject yet but I am excited to hear what you and others have to say on the subject of
"Potty Training".

I have of course looked at all the gear but I would love advice on what you (or others) have found successful. For instance, is it good to use a little potty or should you start out on the real thing with a kid sized topper? Or, I know accidents will happen but is there any way, other than keeping my child on a tarp, to protect my carpet?

Anyway, I am full of questions and would appreciate any advice or guidance from T &T. I am sure some of you are about to embark on this fun adventure too and we could all benefit from the info you can provide!

Thanks! Tara

We thought that we could learn most by hearing from all of the experts-
you, the parents that have been there and done that. So.. please share: your favorite gear (chairs, stools, trainers, undies), the tried and true methods, how to best prepare, and what to do about those inevitable mishaps. Comment away... please.


  1. You need potty training rewards. The audio and chocolate rewards were powerful incentives to fully potty train our son. Here is the website

  2. I have only potty trained one child, but I'll go ahead and list some things I found to have really worked.

    1. Be sure your child is mentally and physically ready. This is so important. Otherwise it can turn into a total nightmare, traumatizing your child and prolonging the process.

    2. Before beginning, make sure YOU are ready to be trained. The first week or so, it is all about you remembering, (i would set a timer to ding) and we didn't really go anywhere.

    3. I used the Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day book by Teri Crane. It's all about the potty party, which worked REALLY well for Lily.

    4. Your child will most likely get really tired of having to go sit on the toilet. Make it a game. Let's see if we can hop like a frog to the potty, or can you spin all the way to the potty? etc. It makes it more fun for both of you.

    5. Lily has been potty trained for about a year now, I always have a little inexpensive potty seat in the back of my car. I can't tell you how many times it's come in handy. Sledding when there wasn't a bathroom and trips in the car where there aren't rest stops etc.

    6. Most of all I would stress not to force your child before they are ready.

  3. Brittany, how old was Lily when you started potty training?

    So, here are all of my questions (coming from someone who doesn't have a clue):
    *I hear that although the toilet toppers are most convenient for parents, the potty chairs are the easiest (less scary) for the child. What have you/anyone else found?

    *Do you try pull up type pants to transition or just go straight to the training underwear (expecting several accidents)?

    *About how long do you try staying dry during the day before you try to train them at night?

    *You think this would be obvious, but what are some of the signs of "being ready". Cole will quickly tell us if he's stinky, loves knowing what we're doing on the toilet, etc. but he seems so young...

    *And I would love to hear the best/favorite gear..

  4. Baby Sparewear has toddler sizes now - which I think is brilliant, and more needed (for me) than the infant sizes. I carry a pack everywhere I go.

  5. Kelli,

    Lily was 2 and a half when we potty trained her.

    Some of the signs for being ready are:

    they tell you when they've gone to the bathroom or when they are going.

    their diaper is dry when they are waking up from naps and/or just for longer periods in general.

    they can easily pull their pants up and down

    they can follow simple instructions

    they show interest or desire in keeping dry or clean, big kid underwear or what you are doing when you use the bathroom.

    We did not use pull-ups with Lily during the day. She only wore big girl panties. We bought princess ones because that is what she loved and they were very motivational.

    We did use pull-ups at night. Within a week, they were dry every morning. We didn't do anything, once the muscles were trained, she didn't have a problem. (I have heard this is not always the case) When we took the pull-ups off, we made her bed with a plastic cover and sheet, then another plastic cover and sheet so that if she did wet the bed, we could pull off the top cover and sheet and she could lay right back down.

    I think the potty chair verses the toilet topper depends on the child. We used a potty chair because it was portable and I could have it with me wherever we were. She had no problem transitioning to the big toilet once we were done with the potty chair.

  6. Although I have not potty trained my 2 month old yet, I did teach Special Education for years and this was definitely a hot topic there.

    I agree with Brittany that you have got to be ready and committed to give the training your appropriate attention. We would try every 15 minutes.

    Another big tip is to use salty treats and liquids as rewards while training. This helps to keep the child thirsty and drinking all day and therefore ready to do business.

  7. I got the potty seat-and-ladder-in-one from One Step Ahead. I have a 2.5 yr-old son who seems ready to start using the potty, and I want to avoid the little kiddo potty if at all possible. We have not officially started training, but he is perfectly comfortable climbing up the ladder and sitting on the potty, so this might work for us. Good luck!

  8. I have only potty trained one boy so far:)

    What I LOVED
    1. Baby Bjorn Potty topper seat.
    2. IKEA potty stool. (shaped to fit right around the toilet.)
    3. Tall IKEA step stool for the sink.
    Out of all the stools out there I have to say I liked the IKEA ones the best. They were the right height--sturdy plastic with grippers for no slipping and easy clean up!

    Pee came WAY before Poop for my son:) Night-time came all on his own when he was about 4 yr. We never even had to work on that one with him--but the poop was HORRID!!!! He didn't get that till he was just about 4 yr. also!

    GOOD LUCK! Every child is so different!

    BTW--I got your link from my Sis. Molly Elmer who loves ya!

  9. i'm no expert but this has worked for me and my 3 sisters: TALK ABOUT IT BEFOREHAND. from the time my son was two, we told him "no more diapers when you're three", or "when you're three you get to go ON THE POTTY!!!". when he was three, he was ready. he refused the little potty we got for him and it only took a few days.

    for poops we bought a big exciting toy that he could have the first time he did it in the potty and that was a big success (and we took it away if he started having accidents again).

  10. Wow, this is timely as I just started potty training my two-year-old today! I love the Baby Bjorn potties you have pictured. They are big enough for little boys and simple to empty. I'm afraid this is my first though, so no words of wisdom! Keep the good advice coming...

  11. I don't have any old enough to potty train yet but I was a nanny for 5 years and P.T.d one girl (who once proudly notified me that she knew EVERYTHING about poop) and two boys. Every child is different! (original, I know).
    The one thing I would tell you is that it won't work until the child is good and ready. It will just prolong the agony for both of you if she's not ready.
    Good luck!
    Oh! Get some books she likes and a small bag of M&Ms too!

  12. Thanks so much for covering this!! I have been virtual-window-shopping for potty chairs for weeks now and I definitely need some good guidance from veteran potty trainers. I'll look forward to reading everyone's comments!

  13. My daughter has been daytime potty-trained since oct, but wakes up with a full peed diaper every morning. Any tips on nighttime training?

  14. I am so thankful for all the advice and stories you have all told (and I hope more will continue to come!). So far we have purchsed the pink Baby Bjorn potty and I am interested in the toilet topper by Baby Bjorn too--does it fit well on the new, elongated toilet seats?

    My girl loves the potty so much that she tripped over her doll to play with it and split her lip wide open . . . good thing is that she still really wants to play with it as we get her ready to start the real thing.

  15. Tara---
    The Baby borjn potty topper fits the oval newer potty seats too! It has fit every potty seat I have tried it on so far! There is a very easy adjuster wheel hidden inside:)


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