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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Backwards WFMW: Potty Training Advice

Today over at Rocks in my Dryer, Shannon is hosting a Backwards Works-For-Me-Wednesday. This means that instead of the usual tip carnival, people are asking for advice.

My question involves potty training. We are about to start potty training our girlie, who will be two in a few weeks. She's showing all the signs of being ready, and we've got the potty and some board books about potty-time.

I'd love any tips, suggestions, or novel ideas that worked for you when going through potty training.

And some specific questions - we'll be using cloth training pants at home - what do we do on the go? Pull-Ups? Vinyl pants over the cloth trainers? And what about using a big, scary public restroom? How do we handle that?

To see more questions - or to post your own - head over to the Backwards Works-For-Me Wednesday carnival at Rocks in my Dryer!


Jodi said...

I don't have any advice, as I'm currently attempting to potty train my almost-two year old, too! So far, all she will do is yell "Mama pee-pee! Mama pee-pee!" in public restrooms. LOL I'll be checking back to see the advice you get!

Brittany said...

My daughter was trained right at 2. We had tried 2 weeks before Christmas and it was awful. The week after Christmas I tried again and she was completely out of diapers in two months. I would put her in the thick panties and when she peed, I would wait 5-10 minutes before I let her take them off. That sounds horrible, but it was just long enough for her to realize that when she pees on herself it gets cold and uncomfortable. It only took a few times before she was trying to go potty. She still had accidents but it didn't take long. It also got messy and had a lot of laundry but I think it was worth it. You could also put regular panties on under the plastic panties.I didn't think of that until after I was done. I just didn't like pull-ups. I don't think they can feel it. She did wear them at night though. Hope that helps!!!

Sandra said...

We used the book "Potty Train in Just One Day" and it worked really well for my 2 1/2 yo son.

If you visit our blog, you can find the details in the May posts. Hope it goes well for you guys!

Anonymous said...

2 thoughts... first,we had a bad first experience with a public potty that was an automatic flusher. you know, one of those "take you down with it" flushes while my daughter was STILL SITTING ON IT. Needless to say, the phobia lasted for awhile... I found 2 easy solutions that I have used with my other kids. You can keep some sticky notes in your purse and stick one over the sensor, or tear off a piece of toilet paper and drape over the sensor. When you are done, just pull it off and run!!
Secondly, all 3 of my kids showed alot of interest and even some success in potty training around 18 mo. for my girls and closer to 2 for my son. It lasted about a week and then they completely lost interest. At first, I was pushing them to get trained and then I decided they weren't quite ready. The best decision I made was to put everything (little potty,etc.) away and wait a little while and try again and they did it fairly quickly! So don't be discouraged if that happens. I figure you can battle it for a long time and finally get it, or you can wait and try again! The biggest thing I learned about potty training is it was the first thing I encountered that took more work on MY part than on my child's!! Good luck - you can do it!!

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

Take it in steps.

First we train to do #1 on the at home potty. Then #2.

Then we worry about the public restroom potty - after they've already mastered the adult sized toilet at home.

Staying dry at night happens LAST in our house, but every child is totally different. I've potty trained 2 1/2 girls and 3 boys so far, and they've all been different!

Trust your instincts.

We put our 2 yo in pullups to go out, but really she's not quite "there" on the public bathroom so it basically functions as a diaper.

After they are toilet trained, BTW, they will generally fall into very regular pooping pattern.

The one thing that was the same for ALL of the kids - they didn't really totally train until I put them in underwear. Disposable pants, whether diapers or pullups, just never worked. Pullups feel like diapers when they are dry and my kids had been used to just peeing in diapers for a 2 years - they'd do it automatically.

Get a carpet cleaner and some panties.

Awesome Mom said...

We skipped the training underwear. What I did was I had them be naked for the first week or so. That made it so much easier for them to #1 see what happened when they went and #2 so the second they decided they needed to. One of my boys was obviously not ready and kept peeing on the carpet, but the older one caught on quickly.

Once I had him reliably going on his potty then I started putting character undies on him. Once he peed in them he lost them for the day. Eventually he worked up to dry undies all day.

When we go out I make sure that he goes before we leave. I also stick to stores with public bathrooms.

My biggest tip is to not force the issue. If she does not catch on quickly then relax and put her back in diapers and try again in a while. When they are ready it will happen quickly.

Jessica said...

Dr. Pete Stavinoha, a child psychologist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, just released a book called Stress-Free Potty Training (sounds good already, doesn't it?!). His book suggests we train children according to their personalities. What motivates a goal-directed child may be different than what works best for a strong-willed child. The book then offers specific tips for each of five distinct personality types.

Read more about his book at

Find a few immediately gratifying tips from Dr. Pete at

zakkalife said...

We recently started training my daughter just about two weeks ago. I told her every time she went to the bathroom she would get a small candy. She got to pick out the candy at the store. The first day she used the potty at least three times on her own. I couldn't believe it. Apparently chocolate is a great motivator for a two year old.

E. Tyler Rowan said...

I didn't read through the earlier comments, so maybe this has been said, but here's what worked for my first 4 (1 to go).

- stay home as much as possible for 1-2 weeks
- NEVER use pull-ups, even if you do have to go somewhere (just pack prepared for accidents)
- bring a potty on outings - I've been known to pull out the potty at the playground and let my little one sit beside the vehicle

Oh, and a great tip I heard for those auto-flush public toilets - stick a Post-It note over the sensor until your child is done and standing! (Not my idea, borrowed from somewhere...)

Night training is usually about 6 months behind daytime training, so hang onto the diapers or pull-ups for night. (Naptime can often happen at the same as daytime.)

Good luck! :)

aSprinkling said...

I think it completely depends on the child, but here are some things we did:

- training pants and vinyl covers at home and out
- diapers at night at first (why spend the money on pullups?)
- reading to keep the child on the potty when needed
- two options: child sized potty and seat with handles on big potty (though, this was a boy and our girl who is just starting doesn't need the seat), the options give them extra control
- chart on the door/wall with columns for sitting on the potty, peeing in the potty, and pooping in the potty, stickers to pick out to put in the correct column
- reward of special character underwear when staying dry for a week, other rewards with various times may work as well
- antibacterial hand gel to use if only peeing, made it faster to get in and out and back to playing
- folding seat for public restroom
- AMEN AMEN on the toilet paper over the automatic flushing sensor
- take them to the bathroom last thing before walking out the door
- I know of people who carry travel potties in their trunk so they can avoid public restrooms, but I've never done it.

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

I just finished training my two year old :) It's a fabulous feeling.

Anyway, what worked for us was a lot of talking and reading and practicing BEFORE the actual training. She sat on it with her diaper on and we read books, etc.

Then, when she seemed excited, we tried. It was a little scary at first so she pulled back. I didn't force it and two weeks later, we tried again.

This time we used a bright poster with number stickers to chart her progress. She was just under 2.5, so the capacity to wait for a reward was easier for her to grasp.

It only took 4 days before she was totally dry with little to no accidents during the day.

Night followed a few weeks later.

The main thing is, RELAX. Let her kind of guide you. I don't mean to let her walk all over you, but try and if she genuinely doesn't seem to get it or understand that her body is making things happen, back off for a few weeks.

And never punish for accidents. That's what makes it scary for them, IMHO.

Kids are willing to do almost anything for praise and excited parents. :)

Oh, right... I made up a ridiculous "tinkle dance and song" every time she successfully peed. I think seeing me act like a complete loon was more successful than anything.

Best of luck!!

Rachel said...

Maybe my girl was super easy - but she seemed ready and like the potty a lot - we went straight to undies (no training pants) and that seemed to be just the right thing for her. We also tried to watch and had her go at the first sign of fidgeting until she had it all figured out. Half the battle was training ourselves :)

I second the comment about post-it notes for the auto-flushers. My daughter still talks about the "scary potty" from the airport that flushed the entire time she was in there and that was back in March.

Sandi said...

Jeni, I think that girls are usually ready earlier than boys, but I'm pretty sure that Caden wasn't ready until he was 2 and a half -- he showed signs that he was interested (and Chase is now, too -- at least he tells us when he's poopy, and Dave's gotten him to go on the potty a few times), but then when it came down to it, he wasn't ready -- we had to wait a few months. We did like the others -- stuck close to home for the first couple of weeks and then I made sure I knew where the restrooms were in any store that we went to, but most of the time, I had a pull-up on him when we went out, just in case. Once he got pretty consistent about telling me when he needed to go, we attempted the underwear out but I just had to be ready and have in my mind that we would PROBABLY have an accident -- then, if we didn't, I was really happy! :)

For us, pooping was mastered before peeing, but I don't think that's normal...

JSue said...

I made my own "Stayed Dry" Potty Chart and she gets to put a small sticker on it each hour she is dry. If shewets, we mark a red X in the spot - that makes us sad...Then, we have a flower chart for bigger stickers when she uses the potty - she gets to put a sticker in the middle of a flower for each success.

Seems to be working, and I like that I'm not giving her candy all day long. Good luck - hope all goes well for you.

Munchkins and Music said...

The best thing that worked for me was a program called Potty Training by Baby Signs. It comes with an excellent book and a DVD and a whistle and stickers. I'm not into signing with my baby, but this program works great!!

Anonymous said...

I have potty trained three so far. Each took only a week. I say I potty trained them but really it wasn't me. We have stuck to the wait until they are ready. Wait and wait and wait. Until they just cant stand it any longer. Then it's all motivated by them, you put them in underwear, it's a non issue and done. They want to they can control it and they do. Done. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi, we put on long pants on our boy without any underwear. He didn't like the feeling of wet pants on his leg so he started telling us if he had to go to the restroom. he was completely potty trained in 2 weeks both for number one and 2. goodluck!


Tari said...

We did pull ups and hoped for the best when we were out. It worked pretty well. I didn't push too much on the "please tell mommy if you have to go" if we were somewhere busy. They still figured it out, but I definitely had them master it at home before I expected it to work out and about.

Anonymous said...

This was my WFMW last week. Here is a link. Maybe my method can help?!

Anonymous said...

Your daughter and my son must have birthdays really close, he's turning two at the end of this month. We'll be starting the potty-training thing too. I'm not sure if I have any tips (this will be my fourth and final time to potty-train) that aren't already mentioned... have mini m&m's or Pez candies handy (but out of reach!) to reward any successful potty-trips. With my daughter, I started out by using those thicker underwear but they were too absorbant. It didn't bother her a bit to pee in them. So after awhile I switched and put her in regular undies and she pottytrained almost instantly! She hated feeling wet and drippy. I hope your daughter is the same. My boys were harder and I found that I had to set the timer for every 20 minutes so that I remembered to take them. And as for going out? Still take frequent trips to the potty (wear dresses or skirts that can just be hiked up and her little legs can straddle the seat easier) and I would suggest using a pull-up over her undies. Hopefully that will keep her from feeling lazy with a pull-up.

You gals will do great! And you will love your diaper-freedom! =0)

~*This Mama*~ said...

Hi there. Another Jeni here! One thats going through potty training with her daughter too. I'm subscribing to your comments in hopes I get help too!

My daughter is about 2.5. When in panties she will pee and then take them off and tell me she pee peed. OK, then what? I take her and take her and every once in a while I will luck out and she will go. But more often than not she will pee in the floor right after getting up from the potty.

Anyway, we'll just go through this together... haha.

I've been doing most of the things I've read here.. put her in regular panties or nothing... take her every so often... let her see it and then flush it herself... rewards... so I dunno. I guess it will happen... when SHES ready...not when MOMS ready.