Okay guys, we officially have two kids out of diapers, one to go! The second go round was totally different than the first but ultimately, same result. Now that says a lot about the methods we use! I’m here to give you the summary of our potty training journeys from two totally different toddlers so you don’t have to do as much reading as I did!
What Kind of “Pee-er” is Your Toddler?
If you read my very detailed potty training tips and tricks blog post from three years ago you’ll see that we potty trained our girls at the same age, 2.5, cut out diapers completely, and ultimately shaved out a minimum of three days to do nothing but watch your toddler like a hawk as they run around the house half naked. I can’t stress how important the part is about cutting out that time to be completely dedicated to them. Every pee is an opportunity to learn so you have to try to get as many as you can. The second time around is when I learned about the different types of “pee-ers”. I couldn’t figure out why Pen was taking such a long time to pee because within the first hour of potty training Pia, we had a good 4 sessions in. This was a blessing and a curse. We still to this day have not had an accident during naps or night time for Penelope because she is a camel, and can hold it for a long time. This however, made it harder to practice which made potty training take a little longer than we anticipated. Pia, I swear to you, knew the business after day one. Never had an accident after that, but we also got at least 15 practice sessions in a day. Find out what kind of pee-er your toddler is and plan accordingly.
Don’t Start Potty Training Until You’re Ready Ready
Now, there’s two things I took away from multiple books, several articles and blogs from experts and that was to introduce the potty and start the training only when you’re ready to commit to potty training and ditch the diaper entirely. The casual approach is where I see my friends fail. Where they have them pee in the potty once or twice a day and you sometimes put a diaper on them, sometimes don’t. I get it, sometimes you’ve got somewhere to be on the weekends and it’s easier to just throw a diaper on them. But this casual way of potty training is really just teaching your toddler to be casual about it too. You’re not teaching them HOW to go potty, but WHERE; and when you have them use the potty but still use diapers, it gives them a mixed signal of where they can go. It makes them think they can go on the potty sometimes, but not all the time.
When Is The Right Time To Start?
Penelope scared us for sure which delayed us starting. She is our defiant child and we were waiting for the window of when she… I guess, wouldn’t be. That time never came and we realized we need to stop delaying because of fear and waiting any longer would lead to more of a power struggle with her. I learned there is a developmental window of which makes the entire process much easier. Studies have shown that if they aren’t fully potty trained by age four, the likelihood of them being a bed wetter increase by 50%… we don’t want those odds. Here are some of the signs that show your toddler is ready:
- Tries to retreat to a private place to poop – This means they associate pooping with privacy and that is natural and the BEST time to act on potty training.
- Can sing the ABC song – This means they have some kind of verbal skills they have learned through repetition
- They can tell you they are thirsty/ or hungry or throws tantrums for something they want – This means they are starting to regulate their own bodily functions and act on their wants
Our Journey With Penelope
First Day of Potty Training Went Like….
We made a big deal about it being her last day with diapers. We had her throw away a few of the diapers just to help conceptualize no.. More.. Diapers.. Ever. We introduce her to her new potties (we have at least three spread out over the house). We put her on the toilet to get her first pee out. For the entire day she is bottomless and we are prompting and not prompting her to go. We look for signs that she has to go and associate those moments with teaching her to say “I gotta go pee”, and finding her potty. Definitely had some accidents like a giant number 2 while I let her play with my hair, hence, no eyes on her… my bad. Nevertheless, we were seeing positive receptiveness to the potty. The potty chart was a waste of printer paper for this girl too… 0/2 on the potty charts. However, the little bin of books and coloring materials next to her potty was a lifesaver. Also! She napped for three hours and did not pee… these camel pee-ers really make our jobs easy.
Second Day of Potty Training Went Like…
Since she is the camel pee-er, we didn’t introduce clothes or underwear yet, because we didn’t get much practice in day one. This day she made major progress and we were so proud! She actually went to the potty twice without telling us and peed on her own. She was definitely getting it. We had to tone down on the prompting because we could tell she was getting a bit annoyed and 90% of resistance is due to over prompting. So we just looked for signals that she was about to go before prompting to use the potty.
Third Day of Potty Training Went Like…
Baby girl was EXCITED for the big girl underwear. And by excited, we mean she literally carried them everywhere she went. We went with this training underwear since it has a little padding for the newbies that are still trickling a little while learning to hold it. Still no pants though. We wanted her to get used to pulling them down before she has to go which takes some practice. We had a few accidents where she was trying to take them off but still peeing which was normal… she’s never had to do that before. After a while, she would start telling us she had to pee more since she understood she needed help taking them off.
Fourth Day of Potty Training Went Like…
We thought we were making excellent progress and decided to experience different situations like leaving the house. We took her to the store with us and packed the potty in the trunk. She told us she needed to pee and we had her sit on the potty, however, she did not pee. Got home and then she peed. We also had a successful poop that was initiated by her as well and so booked this day down as a success.
Fifth Day of Potty Training Went Like…
We got COCKY my friends. This backfired as we had two pee accidents when we weren’t watching her. But we recovered and got her back on track for the rest of the day. We anticipate accidents but we are striving for consistency.
Sixth Day of Potty Training Went Like…
We are really in harmony with her schedule at this point. We know typically when she is going to need to go and her signs as well. We focus on the successes and less on the failures but each day is getting better and more consistent and simpler.
Night Time Training
So the first three nights I didn’t sleep. We decided to do no pull ups and would wake her up to pee at 12 and 4am. We planned to wake her up until she naturally was able to hold her pee for a long time. Although tougher on us, we did not want to delay the potty training process with pull ups. Not to mention, with another baby at home, I knew if we didn’t do it now, night time potty training might not ever be re-addressed until much later. If kids don’t get the practice of holding their bladder at this age, those muscles could atrophy and make it nearly impossible to train. Every time I would go in there to wake her up she would not want to wake up to go potty. I would then go and check to see if she peed every hour but every time I’d check, nothing! This is where the camel pee-er is a blessing. Baby girl hasn’t wet the bed at nighttime or during naps yet. Lucky is right! We use this pad just in case she does have an accident. We also keep an extra set of pjs and a thick fleece blanket nearby so that if she were to have an accident we can just remove the sheets and throw this fleece on top instead of changing bed sheets in the middle of the night.
Poop was the number one asked about topic in our DM’s. For Pia, poop was an easy transition into a potty because she did not like the feeling of poop on her butt in a diaper (which is actually rare for kids). For Penelope, she was a bit different. All she has known for the last 2.5 years is that warm squishy poop on her butt is normal, and to get her to transition something so intimate is going to take some getting used to. Penelope liked to be tucked away to do it in private which is normal, we do the same. So we noticed the potty sitting in the middle of the room was not the most comfortable spot for her to poop. Her first actual poop in the potty was after we sat her down and left the room for a quick minute. I would encourage giving them some kind of privacy to encourage them to feel cozy in a space. Also read books or play games on the potty since the sphincter muscles open and close with emotion, the laughing helps! This part is all about consistency and repetition. This will ultimately become their new norm, but it will take patience and time and consistency. I read a great example to help us remember patience during this time. If you were to visit a friend’s house and they told you to poop in the corner of their living room and it’s totally fine, and normal, and they will clean it up afterwards, and they all do it, It would feel SO wrong to you. Your toddler is feeling that same feeling, despite it being the norm to you!
Don’t give up if it’s not working right away, keep going, but get creative. If they are getting half of the poop in their pants before getting it to the potty, then use brown play-doh in your fist to show them when they should tell you they have to go. Squish the play-doh out to show them this is when it’s too late, just to help give them a visual. If they are afraid of the potty, treat it like when they are afraid of monsters in their room. Use a stuffed animal to help protect them when they go, or use a magical monster spray on the toilet to make it safe, ideas to encourage, it’s a safe place. Also, remember to stay calm yourself!
This one was our favorite. It’s easy, it’s comfortable for them, and it also complements as a stool for brushing teeth too. Win win. I went into detail about multiple potties on Pia’s potty training blog post here.
Another one I discovered this time around was this portable potty to take in the car or on travel. I thought this was genius especially for kids that are afraid of public bathrooms. It fold right up so it doesn’t take up a lot of space and it’s easy to clean.
Training Underwear like these are great as they are learning to control their bladders so this lightly padded underwear helps them from feeling discouraged when they leak a little bit. We liked to buy ones with her favorite characters on them to encourage her to “don’t get Minnie wet!”
Basket of Fun
This was especially helpful for Penelope as she needed some time to “let it go”. Some books and some easy coloring activities helped her sit on the potty for an extended amount of time. This is especially great if kids are the type that don’t want to leave their activity to use the potty even though, they absolutely need to potty.
First off, I read anything I could get my hands on about potty training. I’m a researcher; I researched my way into motherhood. We started out with the book “Oh Crap, Potty Training” and moved on some other books and articles like this, this, oh and this one. I also spoke to every mom I worked with… they all did it slightly different and I took pieces from everyone! THANK YOU LADIES!
I have to conclude by saying there is no distinct finish line for potty training. You may have to remind your kids to use the potty or clean up accidents occasionally but that’s life. Just remember, stay consistent, look for progress, not perfection, and stay calm. Good luck everyone!
Watch Pen’s Potty Training Vlog here:
I hope you could take something away from this post! What are some of your favorite tips and tricks you used to potty train your little ones?